Daniel was a missionary to Japan over a century ago, and was a gentle soul. He reminds me of President Monson in some ways, frequently speaking at funerals and quoting poetry. His favorite song was "Little Purple Pansies"--so sing it for him today!
|Dan with his younger sisters|
Dan had an opportunity to defend the Church on the ship over to Japan, as the captain said that the mountains of Utah should be tipped on top of the "morons." Dan bore a strong testimony; the captain backed down and treated him with respect for the rest of the voyage. Americans were so rare in 1905 Tokyo that Idaho letters addressed to "Daniel Woodland, Tokyo, Japan" reached him. One day he was delighted to find a Japanese sailor who spoke a little English, but the gospel discussion didn't last long as he soon discovered that the sailor's vocabulary was limited to salty language. His mission journals include the interesting note that they performed acrobatic stunts after mission meetings. Dan's father sadly passed away while he was gone.
|Dan, Blanche, baby Hazel|
Upon returning home, Dan and Blanche renewed their friendship and were married in a double wedding with Dan's sister and his mission companion. The Woodlands had seven children, and mourned the death of beautiful six-month old baby Iza during the flu epidemic of 1918. Their daughter Anna Laura served a mission to Czechoslovakia shortly after World War II. They had a number of sorrows as their children grew: one daughter became pregnant illegitimately and then died in childbirth, and one son became an alcoholic stemming from his World War II service. A decade after Dan's death, another son was killed while on duty as a security guard.
In 1928, the Woodlands took a family trip by car to the Northwest, and later enjoyed trips to Canada, California, Utah parks, New Mexico, and the New York World's Fair of 1940. Dan ran a furniture store in Malad, Idaho, which also doubled as a mortuary; in the 18 years they lived there, Dan estimated that he spoke at 800 funerals. Unfortunately, his store had invested heavily in phonographs at a time when radio was taking off, and with the crash of 1929, people wanted food, not furniture. Dan had to auction off his inventory to pay creditors. He was firmly opposed to debt and helped other families work out debt repayment plans. He also worked tirelessly in the community for better sewage arrangements and for public libraries.
The Woodlands relocated to Logan, where Dan courageously started over at age 50 in the undertaking business. There he also began his twenty-three years of service officiating in the Logan Temple. Dan served as a bishop, and once recorded a glorious vision of the Savior presenting him with the sacrament.
Dan wrote poetry, and here are some of his writings I particularly enjoyed:
|Woodland family 1949|
Time, what a friend to thee,
Monarch of all trees.
Four thousand years. Oh! so long,
Yet thy scars hath made thee strong.
Man, what of thee?
What is thy destiny?
Made in God's own imagery,
Thy heritage: Eternity."
In the fifty plus years since Daniel died, I'm sure he's well on his way: his scars have made him strong, and he's towering high.
And for his birthday, I would give him an e-reader, so he could carry many poetry books in his hand. Plus a bouquet of purple pansies.