Notes for DELLA RANDALL ROLLO:
Daughter of Walter John and Martha Florence (Fuller) Randall.
Born: November 16, 1914 in Pine, Gila County, Arizona.
Baptism: December 2, 1922 (Mormon, LDS)
Died: December 16, 2002 in Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona.
Buried: December 21, 2002 in Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona.
Last Residence: Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona.
Census: January 3, 1920 - Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona.
Married: (1) Clint Rollo August 5, 1933 in Londsburg, Hidalgo County, New Mexico.
(2) Evan Joseph Overson, Sr. Before 1953 in Unknown.
(3) Melton Buckwater Fox December 9, 1955 in Mesa Arizona Temple, Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona.
Della Randall was born on November 16, 1914 at home in Pine, Arizona. Her dad, Walter John Randall and her mother, Martha Florence fuller, were both in their late thirties when she joined their family, or as Della said they were "middle aged" when she was born. Della was the seventh of nine children that were born into the Walter Randall family. Alice, Alf, Hazel, George, Mel, Glen, Della, Florence, and Bud were the brothers and sisters that grew up in Pine and also in Mesa. This was necessary as there was no High School in Pine and some of the older children needed to attend High School. W.J., as Walter was called, bought an 80 acre tract of land on South Mesa Drive in the area now known as Southern Avenue. Della attended first & second grades in Mesa and often road to school on her brother, Glen's bicycle.
The rest of Della's schooling until she finished High School took place back at Pine. By this time, Pine had a four-year accredited High School. Della had four other students in her grade as she attended school. She could remember most of her teachers and talked of them fondly.
When Della graduated from the 8th grade - her mother ordered her a lovely pink organdy dress from the Sears & Roebuck Catalog. This was so thrilling and special to Della and she loved her new store bought dress. Della graduated in her beautiful dress and was quite happy. Later that evening she went out to get something from the back seat of her dad's car. After she retrieved the item, she shut the car door and was standing on the running board of the car. The car was parked very close to the porch and Della decided to jump over to the porch. She made it to the porch, but her dress had been shut in the car door. Her beautiful organdy dress was ripped all the way up the back from the hem to the top and her dress was ruined. She had to wear one of her old dresses to the dance. Della was somewhat of a "tomboy" while she was growing up, to say the least.
Della inherited the "famous Fuller" lazy or crossed eye and had to start wearing glasses when she was 5 years old. This was a trial for Della and made her feel very insecure at times. Della was always misplacing her glasses and often left them on the school playground. Della's mother, Martha learned of a noted eye specialist who practiced in Ogden, Utah and was determined to get help for her daughter and finally convinced W.J. to make the trip to Utah. So in 1929 all of the family living at home went along on the trip to Utah. The family took two cars, the big touring car and a De Sota Coupe. This tripped turned in to a visiting trip with stops to see Martha's sisters and brothers who lived in Utah. Della could remember riding in a buggy with one of her cousin's and thought that this was a thrilling adventure. They visited Yellowstone National Park and worried that bears might come after them as they had bought some candy and had it with them.
When they finally got around to taking Della to see famous Dr. Hardy - he took one look at Della and said - "I can tell you're here for that girls tonsils and adenoids". Her mother quickly replied "Oh, no, we came for her eyes." But the doctor convinced them that she needed both surgeries, tonsils and to fix the crossed eye and did them both. This turned out to be such a blessing to Della, as she had suffered for many years with sore throats and high fevers.
When Della was a senior in high school, a new principal started working at the Pine High School. Clint Rollo was 27 years old and had begun his teaching career when he was only 18 years old. He was a brilliant man who had graduated from High School at the age of 16. He was an excellent administrator and got along well with the teachers and students. After Della graduated and school was out in May - Clint and Della started to date. This was during the depression and soon Clint and Della decided to get married secretly and she would still attend college the next semester at Tempe Normal School (which now is known as Arizona State University) and he would live at the CCC or Civilian Conservation Camp near Payson where he was employed as an Educational Advisor. So on August 5th 1933 in Lordsburg, New Mexico they were married with friends of Clint's standing in as witnesses.
As was planned Clint went to the CCC at Payson and Della went to school at Tempe Normal College as a special student. She wanted to take all of the PE classes she could to make up for her not getting to take any of these classes in high school as Pine was too small to offer these classes. She took tap dancing, interpretive dancing, tennis, typing, tumbling and PE. During her PE class she played hockey, basketball, softball, and swimming. She really enjoyed her year at college. She roomed with her cousin La Veda Westover and friends Eloise Kleinman, Nelda Gardner, and Leona Aldredge for the first semester.
For the second semester she lived with Jay Correllie, another country girl in a small apartment on South Mill Avenue. Their rent was 15 dollar a month. W.J. sent Della 30 dollars per month to live on so she managed quite well. Della loved Mexican food and would eat lunch almost every day at the Spanish Kitchen on Mill Avenue. Soft drinks were 5 cents each, tacos, enchiladas, and bean burritos cost 10 cents each so, Della would spend 25 cents a day for lunch. One of her favorite activities while attending college was to jog up to the top of the top of the Tempe Butte there by the school each morning about 5:00 a.m. - she considered that a "warm up" for all her other exercise classes.
When school was out in May, Clint and Della went to Pine to tell her parents about their marriage. They weren't too surprised as they had heard rumors about the marriage but they were hurt because they hadn't been consulted by Clint and Della. This was 1934 and Clint and Della moved to the CCC Camp on Mt. Graham, near Safford and spent the summer there. Here they lived in a tent with a wood floor that was about four feet up off the ground. Della loved it up there and enjoyed being in the forest. They were on the mountain around 13,000 ft. high. At the end of the summer they moved to Pima and rented an apartment there. The apartment was an old adobe home with no indoor plumbing and a good well located just outside the kitchen door. The outdoor privy was down the street, about 1/3 of a block away. The cook stove and heater used wood, of course.
While living in Pima - Clint suggested that they take his car and go visit his sister Nellie and her family who lived on a cattle ranch at Springerville, Arizona next to New Mexico. They loaded up a full carload - Mom Greer and Clint's brother Roy were in the front. Three of Clint's sisters - Mary, Virginia and Katie Ruth were in the backseat - and Della rode on the cars front fender, straddling the headlight most of the way. Della described it as a lovely drive - especially traveling along the Coronado Trail and through Hannigan's Meadow. The narrow winding road only allowed them to travel about 20 miles per hour.
Della was comfortable in her place here at Pima but often was lonely as Clint was only around on the weekends, working at the camp the rest of the time. She became good friends with Joel and Edith East who owned the apartment they rented. The next year her loneliness was ended when she gave birth to a baby girl and they named Joan. The weather was very hot in July and Della took sick after the baby was born. Clint was promoted and moved to district headquarters in Tucson. He rented an apartment and moved his family to Tucson where they lived for about 8 years. Clint was hired as the principal of the Houston Elementary school in Tucson just across the street from where they lived.
Della said in her later years that "Joan was a joyous child" and she loved her dearly. She bought her several "learning books" and Joan could talk as plain as an adult could by the time she was two years old. Clint was gone a lot, so Della and Joan spent a lot of time together talking and playing games.
When it came time for Joan to start kindergarten, Della went down to the Sears & Roebuck store in Tucson and bought Joan 4 or 5 dresses and paid .29 cents apiece for them! It must have been an end of summer sale!
In the fall of November 1942 another daughter, Elaine joined the family. Della had been quite sick with this baby and had gone to Thatcher to spend the summer with Clint's mother Grandma Greer. A close neighbor "known as Grandma Windsor" told Della one day that "she might as well shape up and get over being sick because she wasn't going to die and get out of having that baby."
When World War II broke out Clint applied to be reactivated in the army. He was stationed at Camp Hahan near Riverside, California and served as a Public Relations officer. Della, Joan and Elaine moved there to join him there.
The next few years saw the family move around and spend time in Chandler, Pine, Thatcher, and Wellton - a small rural town about 35 miles east of Yuma. While in Wellton they bought some land with two small houses on it. Clint worked for several agricultural groups and set up an office. In January of 1950, Clint became very ill with some form of the flu and wasn't expected to pull through but due to the wonder drug, Penicillin shots, his life was saved. It took him months to recuperate and Della ran the office for him. She was expecting her third child at the time and it was really rough on her trying to raise her family and take care of everything. Della was home alone the day Eloise was born in June and almost didn't make it to the hospital in time to have her. She felt like the Lord's hands were with them and made sure that everything turned out o.k.
The next year, 1951, saw the Della and the girls moving to Mesa so Joan could attend Mesa High School for her junior year. In January of 1952 Della received a phone call telling her of the passing of her husband Clint. This was such a shock to Della as she buried her husband in Thatcher where his family had a lot. Although this was a sad ending to nearly 20 years of marriage - Della counted her blessings as she looked at her lovely daughters.
By March of that year, Joan married Hans Mortensen of Virden, NM a boy she had dated while living in Thatcher the previous year. Elaine was 9 years old and Eloise was 18 months at this time. Her brother Glen took over and helped manage her finances, which helped Della out. It was at this time that Della bought a small house on Brimhall Street where she was to live the rest of her life. At this time Della ran into an old acquaintance she had known in Yuma. One Sunday morning she had a "premonition" that this acquaintance might show up to visit at church. Sure enough he was there and soon Della and Evan Overson were dating. On July 24, 1952 they were married. Evan had two teenagers - Ruth and Evan Jr. who came to live with them. Evan was sick and was in the final stages of diabetes and no longer could work as a doctor. The next summer the family was up at the Tonto Natural Bridge in July taking care of the place for her brother Glen, when Evan passed away. Della had promised Evan that she would see that his children got through High School, which she did. Both of them graduated from Mesa High and moved away. Ruth and Evan Jr. have both passed away.
We see what kind of person, Della truly was when she talks about the wonderful blessing it was to have gained a wonderful mother-in-law when she married Evan. His mother was Margaret Jarvis Overson who was close to 80 years of age and was in a wheel chair. Della would run her errands for her and Margaret would do Della?s mending for her. Della loved this dear woman and took care of her for the next ten years before she passed away.
In 1955, Della was to meet her third husband, Milton Buckwalter Fox quite by accident at the Acorn Drug Store in Wright?s newly opened shopping center on Broadway and Mesa Drive. Della and Eloise had gone in for a cold drink and Mel was looking for a new place to eat and had decided to try Acorn Drug. He saw Della and Eloise and felt impressed to leave his business card with the cashier - with a request that she give it to Della the next time she came into the store, which she did. After a five month courtship she and Mel were married. Mel seemed to sense that there was something different about Della and soon was interested in learning more about the church and was baptized a member shortly before he married Della. Mel and Della were sealed in the Arizona Temple on June 17, 1958. After a miscarriage and several years of sickness Della then " believe it or not," was blessed with another beautiful baby girl, whom they name Cynthia Anne. Cindy was a good natured baby and Eloise who was 9 years old when she was born helped to raise her. From this time on Della was always known as "Cindy's Mother."
Della was a good and faithful member of the church. She served for over 20 years as a primary teacher. She was also a good neighbor to those who lived around here. She also served as Relief Society president and was a visiting teacher. She loved to go visiting teaching and loved the sisters that visited her home. As a visiting teacher she developed a deep and lasting love for a dear friend - Bessie Elmer. Della and Bessie had a special relationship and Della always knew when Bessie needed a ride or something. Della would listen to these promptings she received and would show up at Bessie's house to give her what she needed. They didn't have phones to call each other just a deep abiding love.
In 1953 you were the first of Grandma Della's 17 grandchildren to be born. And in 1955 - you were the second to come along. It was always Cheryl and Mike, wasn't it? And now she has 37 great grandchildren and 5 great-great grandchildren.
So what do you remember about Grandma Della?
I remember boxes of animal crackers she would give up for the trip home after we came to visit, the swing set in the back yard and her pushing us. Also the red wagon that she would pull us up and down the street in!
I remember the cards - birthday cards, valentines day cards - all the cards she would send us and the two dollar bills and fifty cent pieces she put in them. I still have all my cards she sent me.
I remember getting water from the cooler jug in the kitchen and to a country boy that was really neat. She would make sure we "didn't play in the water and that we drank what we got."
To this little country girl it was so neat to have a milk man bring the milk in the morning to the back door - and I loved to get to go outside and pick up the glass bottles and bring them in the house.
I remember Lawrence Welk and tennis and Lawrence Welk and tennis, Lawrence Welk and tennis always on the TV and grandmas special cold room where she kept her food.
I remember Grandma Della teaching me the "right" way to wash dishes and how to hang the washing out on the line - when I would visit her in the summers. I remember the beautiful sweet peas she would grow in her yard and the beautiful bouquets of her sweet pea flowers she shared with others.
I remember the summer trips up to Pine and to Springerville to Aunt Nellie's Ranch for a family reunion - and all the cousins and fun.
I remember the Grandma teaching summer primary and sometimes we had classes out on the lawn. She taught us to make salt dough Bethlehem houses with stairs going up to the roof on the side of them out of little milk cartons.
Grandma would take us swimming and to Pioneer Park to play. Do you remember the pink t-shirts that all the family wore for a Randall Reunion, that said "Della's Darlings" on them?
I remember that Grandma Della would never leave the house until she had put her make-up on combed her hair and painted her eyebrows on. You know, I don't have a handmade quilt that she made for me or any fancy embroidered pillowcases that she did. Her lazy eye made her dizzy whenever she tried to do handwork. But the one thing that Grandma Della did know how to make - was happiness. My grandma made me happy and I have such wonderful and happy memories of her, as I am sure all of you here today do. It was such a blessing to be a part of her life and to share special moments with her. Della truly had the capacity to love and lived her life as the Savior would have all of us live.
(Based on a short life history written by Della in the 1987)