Eva Hollingshaus Major

By Jill C. Major and Eva H. Major

 

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Throughout Eva’s life, she has quietly and humbly served the Lord, family, and neighbors. Her righteous example has carved out a pattern for children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and all of her yet to be born posterity.

 

 

Eva Hollingshaus Major

 

 

Birth

 

 

 

Eva Hollingshaus was born June 7, 1921 to Alois Matthais and Clara Mezger Hollingshaus in the back bedroom of a little house on 756 Cheyenne St., Salt Lake City, Utah. She had white-blonde hair and blue eyes. The Hollingshaus family raised rabbits, chickens, cows (Johnny insists there were pigs although Eva can’t remember them) for food. It was an economically and politically depressed time in the world. World War I, fought from 1914-1918, was still fresh in the memories of Americans and the Hollingshaus parents spoke English with a German accent. They were a patriotic family. Eva remembers her mother saying, ""We live in America, so we are Americans and we should speak English." It was only when friends from Europe visited that Eva ever heard German spoken.

 

 

Eva's Mother and Dad

Father

Eva’s father had a job at the foundry and she remembers he was "a hard, hard, worker." "Johnny, Grant, and I went up to the foundry to help a few times when Dad had rheumatism and couldn’t work. The work was really hard. We were in our teens." Alois Hollingshaus pulled iron casings out of the hot clay moldings and put them in wheelbarrows. "Dad didn’t show emotion too much. Mom and Dad loved the gospel, and they were good to other people and they were good to us."

 

Harold B. Lee

Looking back to her childhood, Eva said, "I remember the Prophet Harold B. Lee living around the corner from us." He had small children living home at the time and "he lived on 8th South and 2 houses down from Cheyenne Street on the north side of the street."

 

Harold B. Lee, 1959

 

 

Growing up

As Eva grew, the older siblings left home and she slept in the middle bedroom with Clara. "I don’t remember Milda or Margaret living at home. In their teens, Milda and Margaret went out and did housework and lived with their employers." Eva’s first job was helping digging out Freckleton’s basement with other neighborhood kids. "We were sure stupid. He paid us in Popsicles that they made by putting colored water in their freezer."

 

At Christmas time "we had a sock with nuts, candy, and an orange. We always had a Christmas tree and my Dad liked to buy special fancy lights to put on it. We covered it with silver icicles." Eva said, "I wore hand-me-downs. We wore long stockings in the wintertime that I hated. As soon as I got a job and started earning money, I bought my own clothes." Eva’s first money-making job was cleaning houses for Mrs. Valentine and Mrs. Taylor Jensen at age 15.

 

Eva in front of the house she grew up in

 

 

During her teenage years, Eva worked, went to school, came home, and studied. "I had three girl friends that I associated with from Junior High School: Elsie Simon, Edna Odenwalder, Mary Nemelka. Mary’s family also came from Germany. We played Kick-the-can, Annie-I-over, Run-sheep-run, jacks, pick-up-sticks, and hopscotch."

 

When she graduated from high school, Eva worked for the Wilson Hotel cleaning rooms. From that experience she still amazes her grandchildren with how tight and straight she can make a bed. Eva then worked for the American Linen supply.

 

Marriage

 

 

 

 

In the summer of 1940 she met Bernard Delworth Major at a dance at the Civic Center on Main Street and between 11-13th South in Salt Lake. She liked to go there and make crafts. She made a book for her pictures out of wood. Her family album still holds the precious pictures of her family. Her first thought was, "That’s a lot of bushy hair." Bernard was tall, thin, and had a mop of dark, curly, hair. "He walked me home from the Civic Center a few times. Clara and I had been invited to a wedding reception. Al went with Clara and I invited Bernard."

 

Eva and Bernard at Spring City

 

 

 

Bernard, who was from Spring City, Sanpete County, was living in Salt Lake City to attend carpentry school. They dated throughout the summer and fall. The young couple fell in love as the news of war in Europe escalated. "Bernard thought he was going into the service, so he asked me to marry him. We were in the car in front of my house. I didn’t tell him ‘yes’ immediately. I wanted to see how my mother felt about it. I was worried about him going off and leaving me home." Eva remembered that her mother answered, "He is a good man. You will be fine. Everything will work out okay."

 

Eva and Bernard married in the Manti Temple on March 25, 1941. Grandma and Grandpa Major, who lived in Spring City, didn’t have a car, so there was no way they could travel to Salt Lake. Eva’s parents, her sister Margaret, and brother and sister-in-law, Alfred and Eunice attended the wedding. "I remember kneeling at the altar and I was nervous. There was no reception, no honeymoon. We had a dinner after the wedding at the Major’s house."

 

First Apartment

The couple lived in Salt Lake, on 7th South off of State Street in an apartment. "We got married in March and Geneal (Bernard’s sister) was married July 23 and they moved into our tiny apartment. There was a front room and bedroom with an arch in between, no door. Geneal and Bill slept on a pull down bed in the front room. It was a really uncomfortable situation. They were there for a month."

 

 

The House on 756 Cheyenne Ave where Eva Grew Up

Eva, Ardith, and Bernard

 

 

 

Children and War

Ardith Jean was born April 11, 1942 in the LDS hospital (where all of Eva’s children would be born). Shortly after giving birth, Eva and Bernard purchased the house on 1420 Indiana Ave. Eva’s parents gave them a loan for the down payment.

 

 

 

Eva In Front of 1420 Indiana Ave. House

 

 

Hollingshaus reunion about 1952.  Bernard and Eva Major holding Ken on back row.  Clara Metzger in front of Bernard

 

 

Ronald Arthur was born March 31, 1944. He was almost a year old when Bernard went in the army. Eva remembers the sad farewell in January 1945 at the D & R Train Depot. He was sent to Hawaii, then to Guam. During the 15 months Bernard served, Eva took care of the house and their two children. "I went out and did housework a couple of days a week and I ironed for a lady in the ward to help with the money situation. We didn’t get a whole lot of money from the government." Bernard returned in March 1946.

 

 

Bernard and Ron

 

 

 

In January of 1947, Bernard started working for ZCMI, where he worked until he retired.

 

Pamela Rae was born February 4, 1947. Eva explained, "I was pregnant with Ken when Dad died. Margaret and I were out cleaning our Mom’s kitchen when we found out. (The girls washed all the walls for their Mom each spring because they wanted to help her.) Dad had an accident (or a heart attack) at Utah Power and Light. They brought his body to our front room over night and then took him to the church the next day for the funeral."

 

 

Eva's Dad and Mom

 

 

Ken was born June 4, 1950. He was a difficult baby. "He was cross or crying all the time. Grandma and Grandpa Major came to live after we had Pamela. Every one took turns walking Ken up and down the front room in the buggy."

 

Bruce Henry was born June 21, 1953. "When Bruce was born he had the cord wrapped around his neck and they rushed me into the delivery room, because they weren’t getting a heart beat. Bruce was a jewel after Ken. He was so quiet." The last child, Michael Bernard, was delivered January 1, 1956.

 

Church Service

Eva’s love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ is deeply felt and expressed through long years of service. Eva has served over 50 years in the Primary, seven years as president, and the rest of the time as the Primary secretary. Bernard released her from being Primary President when he became Bishop and Eva felt really bad.

 

One of the things she is grateful for is that each organization made their own money. For Primary, she gathered up rags and newspapers. Ellen Sanders, her counselor would drive the the old Major Ford truck. They would let the ward members know they were going to pick up rags and newspapers. Then they went from house to house and hefted them into the truck bed. The papers and rags were sold to recycle companies. They would get money per pound for the rags or per ton for the newspapers. They also had cupcake sale every month in which the Primary teachers made the cupcakes. These fund raisers paid for all the parties, such as the Daddy and daughter dates. The Bishop only bought the books out of the budget. "We worked hard in those days, but it was fun. It was nice to have the money to spend the way we wanted to and not have to ask the Bishop for it. "

 

Other callings were Sunday School teacher (in the Poplar Grove Ward, a year before she was married), Young Women’s advisor (while living in the little apartment in the Liberty 3rd Ward, after she was married), and Relief Society President from 1976 to 1983 in the newly created Edison Ward. Eva gained many friends through her service. Every year she records on her calendar the birthdays of all the women in the ward she knows, then she calls them on the phone and sings "Happy Birthday" to each one. Eva and Bernard celebrate each family birthday with a visit. If that isn’t possible, then they call and sing a duet of "Happy Birthday." Every child in the Primary has received a birthday card from Eva for at least the last fifteen years. Eva also visits the widows in her ward.

 

Mother and Grandmother

 

 

Top Row:  Ron, Mike, Ken Bruce

Bottom row:  Pam, Bernard, Eva, Ardith

1973

Eva is an exceptional mother and grandmother. Her children remember her always available before and after school. Hot cookies and bread often greeted them as they walked in the door. While she was ironing clothes, she helped them with memorizing work, such as drilling them on spelling. Hamburgers were traditionally served on Saturday night. Sunday night, after a good afternoon meal, the family snacked on cheese sandwiches made with homemade bread. (Now, the grandchildren love to go to Grandma’s house for this special treat.) When the children were young, they went to school in dresses and shirts sewn by Eva. Thanksgiving, the table is set beautifully and all the rolls and pies are homemade, the meal often taking several days to prepare. At Christmas time, Eva sewed new pajamas for the children. The tree is still decorated, and Eva loves to make homemade candy, sweet breads, and popcorn for her neighbors and family. Monthly, she enjoys attending plays at the Hale Theater. She also loves discussing one of her favorite TV shows, "Survivor," with her grandchildren.

 

At age 82, Eva has constant back and heart pains, but she continues her work. Bernard encouraged her to trade in the old wringer washer for a modern one many years ago, but Eva still enjoys the smell of clothes hung outside on the line to dry. The ironing board still comes out of the closet once a week. Socks are still darned.

 

Eva’s husband, children, and grandchildren love and honor this marvelous woman and we give thanks for her eternal goodness in our lives. (Written August 8, 2003).

 

 

Written by Eva Major at the request of her bishop when she was released from Relief Society:

 

 

I was sustained as relief society president September 5th, 1976. First counselor Beth Stewart. Second counselor was Dora Garcia. Secretary was Elfriede Kuehne. Second counselor was Larry Andrews, Sustained January 30th 1977. I was called by Bishop Gerhardt Dreshsel who passed away in June 1979. I continue to serve under the direction of Bishop Dwayne Ballsteadt.

 

During the time I was serving the second session of relief society was started in the evening for the working sisters. It was quite a challenge on Homemaking Day to be at Relief Society from 9:00 A. M. In the morning until 4:00 P. M. and then returned again at 7:00 p.m. until 9:30 or 10:00 p.m.. If the sisters were interested in what we were making we had a very good attendance, otherwise it was very poor. Our attendance at our regular Relief Society in the evening was fair. After a period of time, second session and Relief Society sisters were called to serve to lighten our load. I still attended the night meetings. It was rewarding to have an association with the sisters in both of the Relief Society sessions. It also gave me the opportunity to get closer to the working sisters in the ward.

 

We had many outstanding birthday and fall socials. Many fun and spiritual skits were presented by the Relief Society sisters. The decorations, programs, refreshments, and dinners were always extra special. The sisters enjoyed the socials and the opportunity to associate with one another. We were always pleased with our attendance of 75 to 90 sisters at each of our socials.

 

Every year, the first Saturday in June, the stake would hold a luncheon for everyone 70 years of age or older. Each ward would invite their members and non members and everyone would meet in the cultural hall. This was always a special time for the elderly, as they looked forward meeting their friends from the other wards. This was always a fun time for us, the presidency. The decorations were taken care of by sisters in the ward and we prepared a delicious hot meal. The stake furnished punch, ice cream, and cookies. We enjoyed catering to these special guests and they enjoyed having us make a fuss over them. After lunch the stake would have a nice program for them to enjoy. When we had finished cleaning up, we would take a meal to those that were ill and unable to come.

 

Each year we would cook one or two dinners for the entire ward to raise money for the budget. Many of the Relief Society sisters were called to help. We were also blessed to have a few men that were always there to help us with anything that we needed to have done. We would buy 100 1b sacks of potatoes, 50 lbs of carrots, a case of lettuce and other vegetables, from a wholesale produce company to save money. We would buy our meat and other canned vegetables from a wholesale company. The sisters were always willing to help. They enjoyed visiting and talking with one another as we prepared the vegetables. Many times the refrigerator would be stacked with 15 or more pans of set salads. We would have another group of sisters come in to get the food ready for serving. We had a great deal of participation and we would serve from 200 to 250 people. These dinners took a lot of time and work, but it was all worthwhile and everyone enjoyed them. We would spend between $200.00 to $240.00 for the food for the dinners. As a result we were always quite successful in raising money for the budget.

 

Also, to raise money for the budget the ward would hold a Funfest each year in October or November. Each organization would have a booth. The Relief Society always had the chili, scones, candy and bakery booths. We always had good food and tempting candy and bakery items that the sisters had donated. We also had a handicraft booth. During the year we would prepare for the Funfest by furnishing sets of dishtowels and pillowcases to sisters in the ward that did beautiful painting, embroidering and crocheting. The finished items were beautiful and always the first items to be sold. On Homemaking Day the sisters would quilt or tie quilts. We were fortunate to have many sisters that loved to quilt. We would always have a number of beautiful tied baby quilts and queen size quilted ones to sell. During the year we also encouraged the sisters to make a handicraft item that they could donate to the Funfest. As a result of all the talents of the sisters, we had many beautiful and unique items to sell and our booth was very attractive. The sisters selling in our booths were kept very busy and we were very successful in helping to increase the budget.

 

Christmas time was always exciting. On Homemaking Day, we would work on Christmas items and then we would have a delicious Christmas luncheon.

 

We also had the opportunity each year to prepare a Christmas luncheon for the widows and widower’s in the ward. This was always held on a Saturday close to Christmas. A full course hot meal was served. The favors and Christmas decorations on the tables and around the room added a festive touch to the occasion. After lunch everyone would relax and enjoy a lovely Christmas program.

 

Visiting teaching was always a challenge. We tried hard to motivate our visiting teachers to do their visiting early in the month so they could make call backs and we would have every sister in the ward visited. Many of our sisters were very dedicated and every month each sister in their district was visited.

 

 

 

Eva Hollinghaus Major 1984

about the time she was released from President of the Relief Society

 

 

Every month we had the same few sisters that never did their visiting teaching at all. As a result, we could only achieve the high seventies or eighties in the percentages of the sisters in the ward visited. We were extremely grateful to those sisters who thought their calling as a visiting teacher was important and succeeded in what they were called to do.

 

In February 1970 we changed to the consolidated meeting schedule. It was hard to adjust to this schedule. We missed the opportunity to visit with the sisters and enjoy the closeness we had with one another at the weekly meeting. We did not have many younger sisters in Relief Society because they were teaching in Primary or the Young Women’s Program. We always had very talented teachers, who made their lessons interesting and informative.

 

I served as Relief Society president six years and 10 months. I loved my calling and each of the sisters in the ward. I especially have a great love for my counselors and secretary, who supported me faithfully in all I was called to do. They were always there when I needed them. Because of their support and the support of the sisters in the ward, my calling as Relief Society president was made much lighter. My counselors and secretary served with me until I was released, for which I was very grateful. Because of illness in my family, I asked the Bishop to release me. My counselors, secretary, and I were released May 29, 1983.