I was born November 29, 1909, the day that my grandfather, Helaman Pratt, was buried. He had died two days previously but was being buried on the twenty-ninth. I kept my mother from attending her father’s funeral, thus, my name Helaman Pratt Call. (Helaman Pratt—died in Colonia Dubin, Mexico)

The day I was baptized was November 29, 1917, the day I turned eight years old, but it was also Day. My mother had prepared a big Thanksgiving dinner and invited the whole family, married children and all, to be there for Thanksgiving dinner. My bishop had arranged it previously with my father. They were holding no meeting because of the influenza epidemic. Bishop Cannon asked my father to see to it that I was baptized and to let him know it had taken place so they could put it on the church records.

My father had done a little experimenting. We had a large bathtub in one of the bedrooms in our home—it hadn’t been remodeled. They had just put in a bathtub and a toilet and a hand bowl in one of the bedrooms so there was quite a bit of room in there. It was a large oversize tub. I thought my father was going to baptize me but Charles Jones was going to baptize me. He had experimented how full he could fill the tub without running it over and still get me and him both in the tub. They put a stopper on the overflow so that the water would come up higher than the normal overflow would allow.

We went into the bathroom where after our dinner was served, father had invited everyone to assemble. Charles Jones… had been called on a mission but (his) mission had been cancelled because they were not sending out missionaries, and he felt badly about this. I’m sure that’s the reason father asked him to baptize me. We stepped into the bathtub, dressed in white. He baptized me. I had to be put under twice because my hand came out on one occasion. Finally, he got me baptized, I stepped out of the bathtub, gasping, sat down on the toilet seat and mother wrapped a towel around me. As I sat on the seat of the toilet, my father confirmed me a member of the church, sitting on a toilet seat in the bathroom in our home on Fourth East in Bountiful.

Years later, I was telling this story after I had become a bishop. An apostle, (Elder) Kimball, was the speaker in our meeting that day. When I told this story, he stood up and said that approximately the same thing had happened to him. He lived down in Arizona, and there wasn’t enough water in the ditch to do a baptism, so they had done it in a bathtub about the same way that it had happened to me, only his was years earlier (of course, it wasn’t during the influenza epidemic).

Obituary of Helaman Pratt Call

Helaman Pratt Call (HP) 11/29/09 ~ 02/01/03  Born: Colonia Dublan, Mexico Nov. 29, 1909. Son of Willard Call and Leah Pratt Call. He passed away peacefully in Redwood City, CA, February 1, 2003.  

One of 24 children and survived by only two of his sisters, Beth Call Dixon, Payson, Utah, and Leah Call (Al) Chamberlain, Farmington, Utah. He and his beloved wife Merle Rees Call, had six children: Marlene (Jim) Walker, Pleasant Grove; Neil (Annie) Call, Redwood City, CA; Linda (Lynn) Stewart, Midvale; Alan (Debbie) Call, Sandy, UT, Sylvia (Ben) Brewer, Sandy, UT; Blaine (Joyce) Call, West Jordan.  They were married 43 years when she died in 1975. He married Mary B. Kirkham in 1977. Her two sons survive Helaman: Richard (Cathryn) Kirkham, Brooklyn Center, MI, and Roger (Judy) Kirkham, Salt Lake City, UT. They enjoyed 11 years of marriage prior to her passing in 1989. Also survived by 38 grandchildren and 67 great-grandchildren.  

Helaman grew up in Bountiful, UT and spent most of his life in Salt Lake City. He moved to Redwood City, CA in May 1996. He was a life-long and dedicated member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held many positions in the Church including: Bishop, High Counselor, Patriarch, and Sealer in the Salt Lake Temple. He and his wife Mary served a mission in Oakland, California as Directors of the Oakland Temple Visitors Center. He loved attending church and meeting his many friends there.

He proudly served his country during World Ward II in the US Navy and saw action in the Pacific. He received a bronze star for injuries sustained when his ship was badly damaged.

Helaman was extremely proud of his family heritage and extended family and kept track of his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, children and grandchildren. Each one held a special place in his heart, and he looked forward to being with them as often as possible.

His children and friends honored him in November 2002 on his 93rd birthday. All who knew him will remember him for his great memory of names, addresses, dates and phone numbers, keen sense of humor, kindness, consideration and appreciation for everyone he met.  He ended every conversation with “I appreciate all you do for me.”

He will be greatly missed by his family and friends who now know he is having a wonderful reunion with those in his family who have preceded him in death.  

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