IIELENA PRATT TURLEY BROWN 1943-2005
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Orson Pratt Brown's Daughter-in-law
Elena Pratt Turley Brown
Elena Pratt was born the ninth of eleven children on August 17, 1943 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Harold Wilcken Pratt (1899-1962) and Anna Marie Hendrickson (1901-1962). Her parents died within six weeks of each other, both being 62 years old. Elena's paternal grandparents are and Bertha Christina Carolina Wilcken Pratt. Elena's maternal grandparents are Lars Wilhelm Hendrickson and Gerda Alma Kruse Reinholdsson Hendrickson.
As a child Elena was diagnosed with infantile diabetes though she hated the shots she retained a positive and outgoing personality. She had a great sense of humor and could be counted on to start a water fight at every family reunion.
Elena married Melvin Ronald Turley on June 17, 1965 in the Mesa Temple, Arizona. Ronald was born on January 10, 1942 in Colonia Pacheco, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico a descendant of Isaac Turley and Theodore Turley.
Elena and Ron had five children:
Children one, two and four were adopted by Elena and Ron.
Ronald died on September 18, 1982 as a result of a Boy Scouting accident in the Santa Rita Mountains, Amad, Santa Cruz, Arizona. Ron was forty.
When Elena was around four years old Elder visited with the former Mexican Mission President , (1934-1938) and met Pratt's young daughter Elena. They did not see much of each other for many years. A couple months after the death, on October 1st, 1991, of his wife Jesse LaVirl Whitsell, Aron and Elena met again and they were impressed so much with one another that they married on May 23, 1992 in Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona.
ARON & ELENA BROWN
COSTA RICA-VENEZUELA TRIP
December 12 27, 2003
[This is a letter Elena wrote to many members of the family via e-mail on January 2, 2004}
We flew America West to San Jose, Costa Rica on Friday, December 12, 2003. America West had just begun flying to San Jose. It was a 5-hour flight. We arrived in Costa Rica when it was already dark, and took a taxi to the hotel, Comfort Hotel Real San Jose. Aron was not feeling well, but was trying hard to make the best of the situation. The hotel was very comfortable. The breakfast was included in the hotel price, they had an American Buffet with delicious sweet fruit: pineapple, papaya, watermelon and cantaloupe. Most mornings I took our breakfast to our room. All meals were a chore for Aron to eat, but he tried. Saturday we were going to go to Pueblo Antiguo, the old town of Costa Rica, which is a dinner and show. “Travel through time and transport yourself to the Costa Rica of the past, with the unique presentations of Pueblo Antiguo, where all the colors of the architecture, customs and traditions come together to show the origin of this small country and its friendly people”. We tried to get tickets and found that it had been cancelled for that evening due to the “Desfile de Alumbrados”, a Christmas Lights Parade in the down town area. We watched the parade on television and enjoyed it, it was better that we didn’t go out.
Sunday morning we were able to find which ward was in the area of the hotel, and even spoke with the bishop, but as the moments went on I could tell that Aron wasn’t up to going anywhere. Later in the day we called the bishop and asked that he come and administer to Aron. That afternoon Bishop Ronnie Gonzalez and the high priest group leader came and brought us the sacrament and administered to Aron.
Monday morning we contracted a private taxi (mini-bus) to take us on a tour to the city of Cartago, the ancient capitol, about 1 ½ hours away from San Jose. The mountains all around were beautiful, very green. The sky was beautiful, the weather in the 70’s. We visited an old Catholic church called the Iglesia de Los Angeles. The taxi driver pushed Aron in the wheelchair and we went all the way in to the church. We then visited the Jardin Botanico Lankester where they are supposed to have many orchids. Not many orchids were in bloom, but the gardens were beautiful with many other kinds of greenery. We were going to go see one of the famous volcanoes, but the tops of the mountains were now covered with clouds and we wouldn’t have been able to see much. (They say the ride up to the volcano is a beautiful drive, but we were ready to go back to the hotel.) Some of the typical things of Costa Rica: They always say “Con gusto!”, or “Con muchisimo gusto!” whenever you asked for, or thanked them for anything. The popular dish to eat is called “Casado”, and it consists of one of a variety of kinds of meat, “gallo pinto” which is a mixture of black beans and rice, and fried banana (very yummy!).
Monday afternoon Aron said he had not urinated for about 16 hours and wondered if he was dehydrated. We immediately called the hotel office and asked how to get ahold of a doctor. They said they would make a call and a doctor would call us. It wasn’t even 5 minutes before a doctor called. I explained what was happening and he said he would be right over in an ambulance. I explained that I didn’t think we needed an ambulance, but he said that was his transportation. As it turned out, the hotel offers the service of free medical care while in their hotel, so the doctor’s visit didn’t cost us a cent. The doctor said he was dehydrated; he prescribed some medicine for his bronchitis, a vitamin, and a special liquid for him to drink to overcome the dehydration.
Tuesday 12/16 Aron was drinking better, though still quite weak. We wanted to go to dinner at a restaurant Ron Pratt had told us about. We did look for it but found it had been closed for a few years. We decided to go to dinner at Xantary, a luxury hotel with a beautiful view of Alajuela, a city very close to San Jose. The same taxi driver that had driven us to the hotel from the airport had given us a card, and we called him to take us to this restaurant. It was high on the mountainside above the airport, and the view was magnificent. We ordered one meal of filet mignon and split it. Of course Aron was still not feeling very well and didn’t eat a lot, though he did enjoy the soup.
Tuesday night neither one of us slept much. In the morning he just seemed to be much more weak, and we decided to call for the doctor again. Two EMTs came and took vital signs and found his blood pressure to be 70/.40, which is extremely low. They communicated with the doctor and decided to take him to the hospital. They started an IV and off we were to the Hospital Cima San Jose. He was in the emergency room while they did a lot of tests, then a cardiologist was called in and he admitted him to intensive care for a day, and then to a regular room until Saturday morning. They took very good care of him. He continued to not eat much, and still had some nausea, but he was making progress. On Thursday we decided we needed to cancel our flight to Caracas, Venezuela that was scheduled for Friday, which I did. Friday he was feeling a little better, and in fact was feeling like he could make the trip to Venezuela. He had a great desire to go meet these newfound family members in Venezuela. The Gabaldons in Venezuela are descendants of Jose Gabaldon Peynado, who is a brother to Tomas Gabaldon Peynado who is Aron’s third great grandfather. In the 1700s three brothers left Spain, Jose, Agustin and Tomas. Jose settled in Venezuela, Agustin became a priest and died early with no descendants, and Tomas settled in Mexico. Marina Bowman, Aron’s niece, is very interested in genealogy and has been able to do quite a bit on the Gabaldon line, but she hadn’t been able to find any information going back from Tomas Gabaldon that came to Mexico. One of the “primos” in Venezuela has been interested in genealogy for 10 years and has found 5 generations more on the Gabaldons in Spain. Another “cousin”, his name is Jose Vicente Nunez Gabaldon, has recently become interested in genealogy and had put a message on the “ancestors.com” web site that he would like to correspond with any other Gabaldon people around the world. Marina saw this message and started corresponding with him, and it wasn’t long before the connection was made.
Aron has had a great desire for many years to go to Venezuela and look up these family members. In 1990 Aron and his daughter Bonnie went to Spain and while there went to the town of Gabaldon. Aron speaking: We found an old man who was married to a Gabaldon who took us to the church yard and showed us a plaque with the name of “Arnoldo Gabaldon”. He was a doctor from Venezuela who had visited the town and who had sent his mother subsequently with a cash donation to build the sanctuary and the belfry. This man told me that Dr. Gabaldon came from Merida, a city in Venezuela, so I made a mental note that I would someday like to go there. So, when Marina e-mailed us that she had made contact with Gabaldons in Venezuela I was thrilled, and immediately made plans to go visit them. The man with whom she corresponded is Jose Vicente Nunez Gabaldon, and he lives in Merida, Venezuela. His sister Yolita lives in Caracas and she had invited Marina to come during the Christmas holiday when she had decided to hold a Gabaldon reunion in her home on December 21st. Marina was not able to go at this time but we decided that we would go, and we have told you how it came about that we did go.
That Sunday afternoon after meeting 40 or 50 distant relatives I began feeling weak and tired and asked Yolita if I could lie down. I went back and lied down and soon began hearing the strings of guitars outside and found out that they were surprising me by having a Mariachi Band as entertainment. I was sick and very feeble, but Lilia, Jose Vicente’s wife, came in with Yolita and said: “I am a strong woman of FAITH, and I prayed that you would be able to overcome your illness and come to Venezuela, and you are here”. She placed her hands on my head and my chest and prayed and I was a little confused as to what was happening to me, for here was a woman whom I had never met before praying for my health to be restored and invoking the blessings of the Lord and of the Holy Mary to intercede for me, and promising me that all would be well. She said, “Nothing happens by Chance”, and the more I thought of it, the more I realized that that is true. Everything has its purpose, and the Lord had blessed me to fulfill a dream, my dream had come to pass! Soon I got up from my bed and walked out to the terrace where the party was being held, and the Mariachis struck up the music. Almost like a miracle I felt renewed strength and went near the Mariachis in the wheelchair and began singing. I began singing Granada, which is my favorite. At first I felt weak and didn’t have much volume, but gradually I felt stronger and stronger until I sang the whole song with more energy than I had sung in a long time. I also sang Malaguena, Las Mananitas and several other songs before returning to the table. I wasn’t able to eat the food that they served, which is traditional Venezuelan Christmas food.
One of the cousins, the son of Dr. Arnoldo Gabaldon who had gone to Spain, and whose name is Arnoldo also, and his wife and son took us back to our hotel, but before doing so he drove us by the Temple where we took pictures. Several of the guests gave us little gifts, such as commemorative coins, a key chain with the Venezuela code of arms, a CD, earrings for Elena, candy, a little porcelain doll, and a book about Dr. Arnoldo Gabaldon who was responsible for eradicating malaria from Venezuela. Among the visitors there were 2 lawyers, 1 doctor, others were important government employees and entrepreneurs, all well educated, professional people, with beautiful grown children, men and women who were very friendly and welcomed us with open arms. Some of them didn’t know each other, so this was a first for them, and some expressed a desire to meet more often. One offered his home for a Gabaldon reunion next year.
We were thrilled, to say the least, and hope that another visit will be in the future. A video was taken of the proceedings and a genealogical sheet 4 feet by about 100 feet was displayed on the fence, and an abbreviated copy and a copy of the video will be sent to us to share with our families here. I am sure that my brother Pauly and my mother had a lot to do with preparing for this successful mission.” (End of Aron’s words.)
Now, going back to being in the hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica. The doctors came in on Friday and agreed that he could be discharged early Saturday morning. I called and bought tickets for the flight to Venezuela the following morning, and we called the taxi driver to pick us up early. Aron got up, had some juice, had a shower, and he was worn out. (I forgot to say that the doctor on Thursday told me to check out of the hotel and stay right in the room with Aron. I asked if he was sure that was OK, and he said it certainly was. Little did I know that Aron’s hospital room was huge, it had his bed on one side, and on the other 2 couches and 2 stuffed chairs. The couch was very comfortable to sleep on) He was so weak and exhausted from the shower that he put a pillow on the floor and lied down there.
Our flight to Caracas was on TACA airlines. It was a direct flight and very comfortable. We stayed at the Hotel Paseo las Mercedes, a very comfortable hotel right next door to a huge mall (where I tried to get my daily walk in). Sunday Jose Vicente and Adalberto picked us up and Aron has told you about the reunion. A very special occasion!
Monday was a relaxing day. I took Aron to the mall and we strolled along. We had lunch at a pizza place, but ordered a hamburger, which turned out to be delicious. Aron said that was the first time food tasted at all good. He ate pretty well! There was a movie theatre in the mall and we went to see “Callas Forever”, a movie we both enjoyed. It was about Maria Callas, the opera singer, and her life after she wasn’t able to sing anymore. It had wonderful music and acting.
Tuesday afternoon one of the “cousins” Maria Antonia Gabaldon and her daughter Hildeghard Gehrenbeck and Hildeghard’s boyfriend Francisco took us to the Teleferico, a ride up in a kind of ski lift to the top of the mountain “Avila” which borders Caracas on the North side, and on the other side of the mountain is the ocean. The ride up gave a beautiful view of Caracas, and the mountain was so green, full of pine trees. Once up on top it was quite cloudy and we weren’t able to see the ocean, but it was fun to be right in the clouds, especially at Christmas time you know, “foggy so Rudolph was needed”. There was a walkway up to the high point of the mountain, and along the way there were little stands selling food, and other typical “artesanias”. We were grateful Francisco was with us to help us push Aron in the wheelchair. As we neared the top, we couldn’t see it because of the fog, but there is a very tall luxury hotel that is not in use at this time, but apparently it has been sold and will soon be in operation again. On a clear day it can be seen from Caracas, and at night it is very visible because it is lit up. (The next day I located it with Aron’s binoculars, and I was able to take a picture with the zoom of our new digital camera.)
On our way back from the hotel area we stopped and ate a “Cachapa”, it was delicious, probably the most delicious food I ate while in Caracas. Maria Antonia, our hostess, gave me this recipe, and I’m going to try it today. The only problem is we don’t have the wonderful cheese they put it in there, so I’ll try it with another cheese.
2 cups corn (frozen or canned) 2 Tbsp. Butter or margarine
Blend all ingredients on low, you don’t want it smooth, but kind of chunky. You cook it on a grill as you do pancakes, making sure it cooks all the way through and is browned. Then you put a good amount of cheese in it and fold it over like a taco and cook it on both sides until the cheese is melted. (Mmmmm, my mouth is watering.) Aron also ate a hot dog, so his appetite was starting to improve. The ride down the mountain in the dark was delightful, I’m just sorry my pictures of this didn’t turn out. Hildeghard gave the little porcelain doll to me, it is called a “muneca de arcilla” made of a special clay and hand painted. It weathered the trip and arrived here unharmed. There were beautiful flowers on the mountain called “Hortensias”. While up on top we were walking along and looked up into a pine tree and there was a monkey, a very cute one. Someone offered it some food and it hung down and got on to the shoulders of a teenage boy. I got a couple of pictures of it.
Wednesday was Christmas Eve day, and that evening Adalberto Gabaldon picked us up and took us to his home, which is located on the high side of a mountain not too far from the Hotel. It had a beautiful view of the city also. Their Christmas celebration was with his wife’s family. His wife is Myriam, and his daughters Alejandra, Luisa and Ines, all beautiful people. Myriam comes from a family of 9 girls and 1 boy (sound familiar?), and they and their children and grandchildren celebrate together on Christmas Eve. Before they all came Adalberto and Myriam had told us they would all be a very noisy bunch. They certainly had a good time together. Again, a typical Venezuelan Christmas dinner was served, which includes a chicken salad with potatoes and vegetables, a ham roll, and their kind of “tamales” (they have a different name) which are bigger than our tamales, and have more ingredients. It was a good meal, although Aron wasn’t able to eat very much. They had a gift exchange for the children, (they gave us a Christmas Venezuelan Music CD for Aron, and a box of candied fruit for me, we are enjoying both). All of the families contributed money and they played BINGO with different age groups. They had some nice big prizes. At midnight the children went inside the home where the nativity was and the youngest put the “baby Jesus” in the manger and they all sang songs to Baby Jesus. It was a wonderful evening.
Christmas day, in the early afternoon, Adalberto and Myriam came and took us on a tour of the city in their car. It was most enjoyable and we were able to appreciate much more of that city. Their poor people live in “ranchos”, which are little homes build however the people can build them. They don’t have to purchase the land, they just build where they can. Of course the “Avila” mountain range is off limits to them, but at night these “ranchos” make the mountain sides look very pretty with all their lights. We visited the Universidad Central de Venezuela, where the buildings have been built with tiny tiles of white and color on the outside of the buildings. They are in need of remodeling, and they are now starting to do some of that. They had one building all remodeled with new tile (like 1” squares) and it looked beautiful. We saw the Plaza Altamira, where they have statues of their heroes and towers with carvings on them. We visited the house where the leader of the country lives. There is much turmoil politically, Chavez is in the process of being ousted by the people because of his Communistic Rule. He is a great friend of Fidel Castro. We also drove by the large church where Venezuela’s liberator, Simon Bolivar is buried. We drove by a section of the city where all the high risers are very modern buildings, very beautiful. They also drove us by the Caracas Temple and we got out and took pictures. That evening they treated us to dinner, and we ate another favorite dish of Venezuela called “Arepa”, which is like a thick corn tortilla that they open up and put a variety of fillings in. We had chicken salad with avocado (they called it “reyna pepiada”) and it was delicious. They also brought stake and Aron really enjoyed it. It was a wonderful day and we enjoyed so much our time with Adalberto & Myriam.
Friday morning Yolita and her boyfriend Armando Briceno, picked us up and took us to the airport. They stayed with us until it was time to go to the gate, which we appreciated because the TACA airlines gave us a hard time, both coming and going because the person that entered our ticket purchase into the computer didn’t enter it as “electronic ticket”, and we had to wait forever for them to try to make it right, and in fact they never did, they just went ahead and gave us boarding passes and said it was an internal problem and they would work on it later, (after much waiting on our part).
When we left San Jose, Costa Rica to go to Caracas, Aron asked our taxi driver (who had taken us several places) to make a reservation in a hotel close to the airport, and to please be there to pick us up. He wasn’t there, but his son was at the airport with a sign that said “Aron y Elena”. Another passenger read the sign out loud and Aron heard and then saw it. They had made a reservation at a new, small 4 or 5 room hotel about 2 minutes from the airport. We were comfortable. Saturday morning we had to be at the airport very early. We had a long 5-hour flight to Phoenix, and we were happy to be home again. We are so grateful for this wonderful opportunity we had to travel to these countries, and especially for the opportunity of meeting many newfound relatives who have seemed like brothers and sisters in the love they have shared with us. We have invited them to come and visit us here, and we hope to be able to return to visit them again, (not in 40 years like Aron always says) but hopefully soon.
It was great to come home and have a little bit of Christmas with our family here, whom we love so very much. Mel and Dave stayed with us Saturday and Sunday night. We had fun playing games and visiting. We have visited with Bonnie, Jim, the Nortons, Paul, Mark, Julie and boys (who stopped by Monday or Tuesday night), SaSa and girls, and the Andersons, either in person or on the phone. We are blessed indeed. Aron is feeling much better. Today we went out and walked half a block down and back and Aron enjoyed it. Yesterday Bobbie invited us to have lunch with her, it was good to see her. She is amazing, you’d never know she is 89 years old.
[Since this visit Aaron has served as proxy for the Temple baptisms of the three brothers Gabaldon. Aaron was also asked to baptize a distant Gabaldon cousin in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2004.]
Elena Pratt Turley Brown's funeral was held on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel Alameda Ward at 2707 South College Avenue in Tempe, Maricopa, Arizona.
PAF - Archer files = Orson Pratt Brown + (5) Angela Gabaldon > Aron Brown + Elena Pratt Turley Brown.
Letter written by Elena Brown and sent via e-mail on January 2, 2004.
Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org