Four sisters – while living together at home, then many decades later as adults

Just like my brother, George, my sister, Ida, isn’t fond of having her picture taken. Consequently, I don’t have many of her, particularly of her alone. However, I was able to find several where she’s part of a group. And that’s appropriate, because in a large family, you really aren’t ever alone. In honor of her memory, here are some of my favorite recollections of her life.

Ida joined our family just before I turned ten. In the picture above, taken a few months later, we have Dad and Tony in the back, Becky, George, Mom, Josephine (living with us as part of the Indian Student Placement Program), and Louise in the middle, and Scott, Ida and Ben in the front. It might be easier to identify if we were in nice, straight rows, but the fact that we aren’t is also indicative of typical family life. After living with us for a few years, Tony (Ida’s older half-brother) decided he didn’t like my parents’ rules and so returned to his biological family, but the others were then legally adopted, after which we went to the Oakland Temple so they could be sealed to my parents. Being able to witness that was a highlight of my early experiences with the temple, and I’ll never forget how regal my parents looked as we walked into the sealing room, and the impression it made on me of the importance of eternal marriage.

at the courthouse

a few years later at Holly’s sealing

As a family we worked hard. Our daily chores included keeping our rooms neat, cleaning the bathrooms, and doing the dishes. It seems that every few months Mom tried a new system to get that done without contention, and I discovered when I was the mom myself that it must be a typical trial for families. We picked the walnuts that fell in our backyard, racing to see who could get the most the fastest, and then spent additional hours cracking them open; we cleaned and organized the garage on a regular basis, listening to Dad’s favorite operas on the radio while dusting and sweeping; we planted a vegetable garden every year, and even put in a front yard or two. After living in the suburbs for a while, we moved to a five acre plot in the country, which provided a LOT of opportunity for work.

One of my favorite memories took place on a Saturday work day. I was helping Mom in the kitchen and she looked out the window at Ida who was raking in the yard and said, “Oh, Ida, that’s not the way I told you to do it!” She put down the dishcloth to go give further instructions, but then stopped, said, “But you’re getting the job done,” and went back to washing dishes. The notion that there can be more than one way to do a job really made an impression on me, and is something I tried to remember during our own family work days.

We also took time to play. In particular, I remember our family summer vacations. One year we spent five or six weeks driving from California to New England and back again. We spent a fair amount of time driving, and also in laundromats since there wasn’t a lot of room to pack lots of clothes, but we also visited museums and historical sites and distant cousins. It was definitely a memorable trip.

visiting Mark Twain territory

Another year we donned our matching bandanna shirts and did some backpacking in Lassen National Park.

So many memories!

Eternal families are wonderful, and I’m grateful for the peace and comfort that knowledge gives me.

Ida May Beckstrand King
19 July 1965 – 28 February 2020

Ida was born in Eureka, California to Fred and Ruby Cox and was welcomed by her older brother George, along with half-siblings Kay, Tony, and Joanna. Her father died when she was six, and circumstances led to her being adopted, along with George and their younger brother Ben, by Shelley and Judith Beckstrand of San Jose, which meant she gained three more siblings, Rebecca, Louise and Scott. Later, Holly and Richard joined the family. After graduating from high school (in Hollister, California), Ida left home to explore the country, living first in northern California, where she had two sons, Ray and William, then later moving to Texas, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and New York. She married Kenneth King in 1997, but they later separated. Soon after returning back to Oroville, California just a few years ago, she was diagnosed with cancer, which she fought valiantly for a long time, but was unable to overcome. This was just the latest in a series of challenging circumstances that characterized her life, but through them all, Ida exhibited the wonderful qualities of determination, generosity, and courage. Her fun-loving and compassionate soul will be greatly missed.

While doing some family history surfing, I discovered that Ida was most likely named after her aunt, Ida Velna Cox Gray. I wonder if she ever knew that? And George could very well have been named after his grandfather, George Andrew Cox. Just another reminder that it’s important to do our searching and questioning before our loved ones pass away!