Harold Edwin Lundquist: The Music Man

I never knew my grandfather – he passed away on May 28, 1979 when I was just one year old. However, I heard so many wonderful things about him while growing up. Recently, I stumbled upon a short life history he wrote in 1976. Enjoy!

I was born in the home of my father and mother, Eric Benjamin Lundquist and Eugenia Harris Lundquist.  My elder brothers are Milton R., Charles H., and Eugene B. Lundquist.  Two other brothers followed me and their names are Ebert Maurice and Rodney Earl Lundquist.  I had no sisters.

From left to right: Eugene, Milton, my grandfather, his mom Eugenia, and Charles

My father was a painter, paperhanger, gold leaf expert, and sign writer.  He also owned a paint store and sold lots of wall paper.  He was also a fine musician and was leader of the Cache County Band.  He played Cornet and Trombone and arranged music.  My mother was a soprano singer and a pianist.  She also taught piano.

I was born of goodly parents of whom I am very proud and love dearly.  My grandmother, Katherine Sarah Perkes Harris was my patron saint whom I loved.  She was responsible for schooling me in philosophy – hers of course.  After I learned to walk, I remember going to grandmother’s house in Hyde Park, Utah.  It was there that my uncle Kirk would play records on the phonograph.

My second great grandmother, Katherine Sarah Perkes Harris (1861-1957)

The type of music he would play was classical, such as Bach, Beethoven, and other renowned composers.  He also had a collection of performances by Enrico Caruso, John McCormick, and Galli-Curci.  He loved music and so did grandmother Harris.  They also had a player piano which I pumped until I was so tired that I ended up asleep.  My mother or father would carry me home asleep after a marvelous time at grandmother’s house.  My childhood was wonderful.  A boy could not have had better parents and surroundings.

In 1917, war clouds were forming in Germany and men were being called up in Smithfield to serve in the military.  I remember all of the men marching to the train.  We followed them and I remember everybody crying.  My father furnished a marching band and my mother sang “A Flag Without a Stain” for the soldiers.  My uncle Mont sang in a quartet and they performed the song titled “Tenting Tonight in the Old Camp Ground.”  Everyone was very sad on that occasion.  Kaiser Wilhelm was hung in effigy in the center of town.

Soon after the troops left, an epidemic of influenza broke out and many people died.  I remember everyone in town wearing gauze masks to try and cut down on the spread of the disease.  We wore the masks to school and everywhere we went.  It was some sight to behold.  We were all vaccinated for the flu and everybody was sick with a fever after the flu shots.  Everywhere we went, you could see quarantine signs in red letters and a white background which read “DO NOT ENTER – INFLUENZA.”

In 1918 at the age of 8, I started selling the Liberty magazine and the Country Gentleman and I also delivered the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News.

My dad kept us busy and at a young age, each one of us had to sew, press pants, wash clothes, clean the house, and work in the gardens surrounding the home, which was about an acre in size.  We also painted and sold wall paper in the shop.

My mother had the best flower garden in town.  She was an expert in tatting and crocheting.  She won blue ribbons at the fairs for her quilts.  Dad entered produce from the gardens in the fair and won some ribbons.

Mother and father were the choir leaders in the LDS Church, 1st Ward, for as long as I can remember.  First mom and then dad.  Mother played accompaniment for dad as he conducted the choir.  Mother sang for over 500 funerals in her lifetime and was musical director in Mutual for years.  I was called on to play parts in Mutual productions and road shows.

When I was 4, my father was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for a period of six months.  My mother was left with 4 sons and had to fend for herself.

I was always up to date on the news as a result of being a newspaper boy, especially the news of the war with Germany.  I was a little worried about the spear helmeted Germans.  Then the war was over and the soldiers came marching home again and there were victory celebrations everywhere.

At the age of 12, I was ordained a Deacon and started a career in the Church (ending up as a Seventy in Los Angeles).  At this age, my father encouraged me to play the alto saxophone in his band.  At age 14, I took up the trombone.  My brother Eugene played the piano and with me on trombone, we were already playing for dances.

At age 16, my father gave me an E-flat alto saxophone which I learned very fast from an instruction book.  By now, I was going to North Cache High School in Richmond, Utah.  I rode a streetcar there and back every school day for 3 years, a total distance of 14 miles round trip.

I was the freshman class president, sophomore class president, junior executive member and senior class president.  I ran for student body president, but lost to Howard Pond.

While a junior and senior at North Cache High, I played piano for the noon day dances and received 25 cents each day.  This provided me with lunch money for the cafeteria.

I graduated from North Cache High School in 1928 along with 82 classmates.  School was a wonderful and fun experience.

I left home at age 18 after graduation to seek my fortune.  I took a job in American Falls, Idaho as a musician playing the saxophone.  This was in July and by September, I had joined a road show from Joplin, Missouri.  I was a dancer doing buck and wing and clog dancing which I had learned years before by going to the Pantages Vaudevilles in Logan, Utah.  Also, I took dancing lessons from Beth Thurber School of Dancing for two years.  I ended up in Stockton, California in October of the same year and soon landed a job with KWE radio station.  I played piano along with a young man named Ernest Thery.  We each had a grand piano to perform our act – 2 pianos.

I played saxophone with the Hotel Wolfe Orchestra and played piano at the “Milk Bottle” in Stockton.  Then came time for Christmas (1928), so I rode a train home because I was homesick.

I played saxophone with Wit Wilson’s Band at the Old Mill near Logan and also with the Palador Orchestra.  I finally organized my own band and named it “Eddie Lundquist and His New Dansante Orchestra.”  I also had a combo and played at the Blue Bird Café in Logan for private parties.

“Eddie Lundquist and His New Dansante Orchestra” – my grandfather is in the saxophone section (second from the left)

I met Erma Funk when I was in the 9th grade in about 1924 and married her in November of 1930.  We were blessed with 3 children, Edwin R., Richard R., and Bonnie Jo.

I enrolled in College in 1930 at Utah State University and was able to complete two years there.  I was majoring in science and my goal was to become a Pharmacist.  I became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.  It was there at Utah State that I had the first big orchestra.  We played every Wednesday at noon and put on a free show for the student body to advertise the band.  I was active in social events and musical productions such as the “Twelfth Night.”  I wrote the music for a musical called “Kampus Kaprice.”  We put on the production in the auditorium of Utah State and it turned out to be a big hit.  I directed the music and the 12 piece orchestra.  The production, which was a musical comedy, was called “Steamin Hot” and received many favorable comments from Salt Lake critics.

My grandfather wearing his Sigma Chi pin

I was a dancer and was called upon to dance on many stages over the years.  I always had a good time dancing and entertaining.

In 1933, I left college and went to Durango, Colorado with a 6 piece band.  I played the saxophone and trombone.  I taught dancing there.  The band went broke and we had to come home.  I purchased a home in Logan, Utah and lived there until 1936 at which time we moved to Los Angeles, California.

Six Piece Band in Durango, Colorado

We located in an apartment near Georgia Street in downtown Los Angeles.  We moved from rental to rental and finally purchased a home on Saint Elmo Drive (4710) in 1942.  We lived there until 1959 and moved to Lakeview Terrace West in the Silver Lake District of Los Angeles.

I became engrossed in Church work at Wilshire Ward and La Brea Ward in the Los Angeles Stake.  In 1941, I became a licensed painting contractor in the state of California.  I played in bands and combos in the Los Angeles area for years.  In 1937, I performed in a jam session with Benny Goodman at the Paradise Club in downtown Los Angeles.

My principle work was painting and decorating.  I named my company “Lundquist Decorating Company” and to the date of this writing, it is the same company.

I played music for 3 or 4 nights per week for years.  The sessions usually lasted from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM.  This was an enjoyable time for me because I was able to make music and maybe make some people happy.

In the meantime, I was a Stake Missionary for years, in the Sunday School Presidency, one of the seven presidents of the 274th Quorum of Seventy in the Los Angeles Stake, a teacher in Old Testament classes for 10 years, and I led the singing in church for years.  I was a scout leader while Edwin and Richard, my sons, were getting their Eagle ranks.  I went on hikes and attended all the scout meetings.

I was called by the Church to serve a Labor Mission in Hawaii for 3 years after our son Edwin passed away in December of 1955.  I served there from 1956 to 1959. 

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