Monday, March 23, 2015

Remembering My Dad On His Birthday

Note: This is a repost from last year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I changed the title and made a few edits to make the post accurate for today's date. Happy Birthday Dad! We really do miss you!

This is part of the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" Challenge begun by Amy Johnson Crow, author of the blog No Story Too Small.

Today is my dad's birthday. He would have turned 79 years old. He passed away almost six years ago.

Jan Albert Iverson in 1938 - 2 Years Old
Jan Albert Iverson ~ 2 Years Old

My dad, Jan Albert Iverson, was born on March 23, 1936 to his parents, Ingrid Anna Gillberg and Arthur Harry Iverson. He was the second of four children born to Ingrid and Arthur. Jan had an older sister named Joan and two younger siblings. His younger siblings are still living, so I won't give their names here for privacy reasons. His older sister, Joan, passed away in 1993 from cancer.

This is a picture of my dad at his home in North Hollywood, California. I love that this picture of my dad shows the inside of the home that his father, Arthur, built with the help of others.

Jan Albert Iverson as a Young Boy

My dad spent the first ten years of his life in the Los Angeles area of California. When he was ten years old, his family moved to Portland, Oregon. This was after his mother, Ingrid, had remarried following the death of my dad's father, Arthur. Ingrid and her second husband, Wayne, had three children. One of Ingrid and Wayne's children, Pamela, passed away in 1972 at only 24 years of age. She had leukemia. Their other two children are still living, so again, I won't give their names here for privacy reasons.

My dad loved sports and played basketball, football, and track during his sophomore year of high school.

This is a picture of my dad when he was 15 years old.

Jan Albert Iverson - 15 Years Old

My dad served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the East Central States Mission from May 1956 until May 1958. This is a picture of him taken in 1956 before his mission. He was 20 years old at the time this photo was taken. In his Mission Journal, he mentioned living and traveling in the following states: Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Mississippi, and Maryland.

Elder Jan Albert Iverson - 20 Years Old ~ 1956

In the summer of 1958, my dad was inducted into the United States Army. He went to Basic Training at Fort Ord, California from August 1958 to October 1958. This photo of my dad was taken in October of 1959.

Jan Albert Iverson in Uniform

After he completed Basic Training, my dad served at the Presidio in San Francisco, California. While he was there, he met his future wife (my mom). Her name is Elizabeth.

They became engaged in the spring of 1959. Then came news that my dad was being sent to Korea. In August of 1959 he left for Seoul, Korea and served overseas for eleven months. He and Elizabeth wrote letters to each other while they were apart. They even sent tapes to each other. My dad was a wonderful artist. He loved to draw and paint. We have a cartoon that he had drawn showing himself sitting at a desk listening to one of the tapes Elizabeth had sent to him. I will be sharing that cute cartoon in a future post.

After his return to the United States, he and Elizabeth were married. This is a photo of my dad and mom on their wedding day.

My dad was a wonderful husband and father. He loved his family. He also had a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He served in many callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during his lifetime.

He worked hard to provide for his family. He worked as a computer programmer for many years.

My dad had a love for genealogy and family history. He served as the Family History Center Director at our local Family History Center for about five years. My mom served as an Assistant Director alongside my dad.

It was while my dad was serving as a Family History Director that he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He hadn't smoked during his life. The suspected cause of his cancer was acid reflux that he suffered from for years. He bravely and patiently endured the trials that went along with his cancer diagnosis. He had major surgery to remove the cancerous portion of his esophagus and then had chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Jan Albert Iverson Grave Marker May 26, 2012

On April 29, 2009, a year and a half after being diagnosed with cancer, my dad passed away. He is very much missed by all who knew and loved him. But, we are comforted by the knowledge that we will see him again someday.

Happy Birthday Dad! We love you!

Thanks for reading!

© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved


  1. Jana, this was a beautiful way to honor your father's memory on his birthday.

  2. What a lovely tribute. You have many happy memories.

  3. Jana, I know that "missing" feeling very well. I love the photo of your dad in his wicker rocker and the beautiful fireplace behind him, what a wonderful home having been built by his dad . . . a very beautiful tribute to your dad. Happy Birthday, Mr. Iverson.

  4. Jana, that's a very nice way to remember your Dad. The photos are wonderful. It is great to remember that our ancestors weren't always 'old folks' they were adorable children, handsome/beautiful young people and adults with dreams and plans.

    1. Thank you Colleen! Yes, it really is fun to see photos of our parents and other ancestors when they were young. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Your dad was a handsome man and what a beautiful couple they were on their wedding day. I think you look like your mom! The void of life without our parents is very hard to manage but birthdays and anniversaries are the hardest. Happy birthday to your dad!

  6. A lovely tribute, Jana. Happy birthday to your Dad. My Aunt (a General's wife) arranged for me to have my bridal luncheon at the Officer's Club in the Presidio, which was very special. The wedding picture your shared is just beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much Leslie!

      Wow, how neat for you to have your bridal luncheon at the Officer's Club in the Presidio.

      Thanks for stopping by!




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