BY TAMI L. JOHNSON
Marlene Venable Eastman was born in a two-bedroom home on December 5th, 1935, in Roy, Utah. 84 years later, this is the same home she resides in today. Marlene’s parents, Marvin Charles Venable and Matilda Jane Stoker, purchased the land in 1932. It was a beautiful, 1 1⁄2 acres of land to roam—perfect for gardening and raising a variety of animals. Of course, there were fruit trees and vegetables too. Truly, it was a farm life.
Marlene says, “I was a happy child…still am!”
Since that tiny two-bedroom home in 1935, there have been additions made such as a large kitchen, porch, and back room. Along with the house, the city of Roy has grown. As a child, Marlene remembers riding her bicycle up the hill with very little traffic. She says, “I even rode horses up 5600. There was nothing but greenery and trees!”
“We didn’t lock our homes or worry about anyone taking anything then,” Marlene recalls. “We had many homeless men stay in our barn, and mother would feed them. They were people out of work, and they would know that Mom would feed them. She would prepare extra food.”
Living on a farm meant Marlene and her family would cultivate, harvest, and eat the fruits of their labor. “We raised the food we needed and then shared.” Animals included cows, chickens, rabbits, pheasants, turkeys, and ducks.
“I had the privilege of having a tricycle,” Marlene says, “And I played dolls every day.”
During her younger years, Marlene walked to school each day. At recess, there was a big playground where the kids had loads of fun, but even more exciting than that was the opportunity to go to “Aunt Em’s” house. “Aunt Em,” as they affectionately called her, was a kind woman who lived in a tiny house across from the school. She had the most wonderful backyard filled with sand, just like the beach, where Marlene and her friends would dig and play.
Marlene met her companion, Leo Wayne Eastman, through her father, Marvin Charles Venable. Leo, a young journeyman, worked for Marvin, who was a building contractor. In fact, Marvin built most of Roy’s buildings, including the church on 4800.
Leo and Marlene were married for 44 years and raised seven children, in addition to fostering 157 children. Leo has since passed away, and although Marlene has been a widow now for 22 years, she says, “I am very happy. I have 76 grandchildren and great grandchildren. It’s fantastic!”
Having been blessed with three sisters and one brother, Marlene says, “I am still close to all of them today, even though Sandra is the only one living.”
Marlene’s maternal grandparents, Jesse Stoker and Lettie Matilda Hammon Stoker, settled Roy. According to Marlene, her family was brought here through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints.
Hard working, resourceful farmers are a few ways to describe Marlene’s grandparents. They raised 11 children and built their first home in 1900. Marlene’s grandfather, Jesse, and his father, John Stoker, also raised Clydesdale horses.
The Stoker farmland stretched from 4800 over to 5600 and down to the railroad tracks. At the time, Marlene’s grandfather, Jesse, felt there was plenty of land to go around so he and his brother, Lorenzo, gave a portion to Roy City to use for a cemetery. In the north east corner, there is a monument telling the story of Lorenzo and Jesse and the land they gave. Today, the cemetery is called, “Stoker Cemetery.”
Finally letting go of their land, Jesse and Lettie Stoker came to live right next door to Marlene in a home her father, Marvin, built. What a joy it was to have Grandpa and Grandma so close!
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