Tuesday, August 23, 2011



June 16, 1894 to August 4, 1913

The following was copied from the scrapbook of his mother, Sarah Russon Kirkham. Avery James was a brother to Lott Kirkham, and an uncle to Doris Kirkham Johnson.


Young Man Thrown From His Bicycle

Dies After Undergoing Operation

Avery James Kirkham passed away at Salt Lake City Latter-Day Saints Hospital in Salt Lake on Monday evening, just one day more than a week after being thrown from his bicycle while holding to an auto going about thirty miles an hour. The concussion caused by striking the earth with such terrific force caused a clot of blood to form on his brain, which gradually produced unconsciousness and finally death.

On the Tuesday after the accident, a partial paralysis developed and he was taken to Salt Lake City. An operation was performed, removing a section of the skull. The cause of the paralysis was not located and he never spoke after the operation.

Monday, another operation was performed, but the cause could not be located and two hours later, he passed away. After death, an autopsy was performed and a clot of blood about the size of a hen's egg was located on the inside of his brain. This clot was caused by the concussion of the brain and undoubtedly caused his death.

Avery James Kirkham, the sixth son of George and Sarah Russon Kirkham, was born in Lehi, Utah, on June 16, 1894. His life almost entirely has been spent at home in Lehi. In childhood and early youth he was very religiously inclined, so was always a very regular attendant at Primary, Sunday School, later M.I.A, and in due time was given the Aaronic Priesthood and ordained a Deacon and then again a Priest. He finished his public school course and received his diploma in 1911.

During the winter of 1912 and 1913 he attended the Brigham Young University and became very much attached to the school and on many different occasions declared his intention of continuing a course there the coming school semester.

Avery had a natural talent for music. He had a perfect musical ear and would have easily developed into a remarkable musician with the proper training. His talent in music did not appear to be upon only one instrument or in one line, but he easily acquainted himself with whatever he happened to take up, and much of his spare time was so occupied.

Avery formed no bad habits. He was a strict observer of the Word of Wisdom and scorned the use of tobacco and liquor; thus he had developed a strong, healthy body.

On the afternoon of July 27, 1913, while riding his bicycle and holding onto the rear of an automobile, he was thrown violently which later caused paralysis. He was then taken to the L.D.S. Hospital, where the best medical skill did all that was possible to save him, but without avail, and at 10:35 P.M., August 4, he died.

Avery will not be mourned by his relatives alone, but by a host of young friends. The funeral, which was held in the Tabernacle, was largely attended. The speakers were Bishop James H. Gardner, President George H. Brimhall, Professor A. C. Lund, President A. J. Evans, and Bishop Stoker. The Second and Fourth Ward Choirs furnished the music, and there were solos by Mrs. Hazel Holmstead and Professor Lund.


Written in 1960 by Bessy LaVerne Kirkham Fillerup

As I write about my brother Avery, I can go back to an association that was very dear to me. He was beloved by all of us. He was very talented in music, piano being his happy medium, although he could pick up any instrument and make it "sing". He loved to build and rebuild motorcycles, clocks, mouth organs, etc. He was handsome, tall, blond natural wavy hair and blue eyes He was so clean in his dress, healthy, kept the Word of Wisdom and loved his church. One time the University chartered a train from Provo to Salt Lake City to play the University of Utah basket ball team and as the train passed our home in Lehi, the engineer slowed down the train and blew the whistle in honor of the school's Cheer Leader and his parents. The train was decorated in the BYU's Blue and White.

He was only eighteen when he met his tragic death. In company with a neighbor boy, he went on his bicycle for a ride on the State Highway as far as the "Point of the Mountain". Coming Home they caught hold of an automobile for fun or speed and Avery's wheel struck a rock that threw him from his bicycle which resulted in his death, leaving a very sad family to part with one so loved, and one with such hopes for his promising future. Even now, after all these years, I remember vividly how this sad accident made all of us feel. He and I were very close. He told Mother once, "I will always protect her". I honor and revere his memory.

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