Pat is one of the original members of the Kamas Valley History Group, part of the Kamas 2020 effort.
Pat was born November 2, 1942 in American Fork, Utah. Pat has spent 66 years of her life in Kamas. She left for 12 years to live near her husband’s family in Layton and to go to Bible School in Montana, but she considers Kamas her hometown.
Pat’s mom, Helen Louise Harritt Bezzant moved to Kamas when Pat was 3 months old to live with her parents to get help and support during World War II. Pat’s dad, Leo (Pete) Bezzant was a mechanic in the air force and had gone to war. Helen and Pat soon moved into their own place when she rented a room at the JW Carpenter home on the site where the Chevron gas station now is. One of her earliest memories at 2 years old, she remembers seeing planes flying over and waving at them thinking that it was her daddy because she was told that her daddy worked on planes during the war.
Pat’s grandparents Ernest (Ernie) Richmond and Alma McCombs Harritt had moved to Kamas in 1941 and lived on 100 E. and 100 N. where Lorene McNeil now lives. Her grandpa Ernie was a pharmacist and worked for Doug Simpson who owned the drugstore.
Pat’s dad was known by Pete to everyone except his sisters who always called him Leo. Pete came to Kamas in 1945 after the war. He worked for the drugstore. The drugstore was open 7 days a week. Sundays during the winter were very slow, but it was very busy in the summer. Visitors came up from Salt Lake to get out of the heat. They stopped at the drugstore to have ice cream on their way. Pat’s dad, Pete made his famous homemade ice cream. Pete also helped build the Kamas theatre. He was talented and “could do about anything”.
When Pat’s grandfather Ernie died in 1951 of cancer when he was 67, Kamas didn’t have a pharmacist for 18 months. During that time the owner Doug Simpson was allowed by the state of Utah to fill prescriptions. This was very stressful for him and he ended up selling the drugstore to Pat’s dad Pete in 1957. Just a year later the drugstore had an electrical fire. This is one of Pat’s saddest events of her youth. Her parents had just remodeled it. There was insurance but it didn’t cover the costs of all their losses. The town rallied and helped them to rebuild the drugstore.
Pat’s mom Helen was a nurse for the Summit County Health Department. Helen also worked for many of the doctors in the valley. Pat also became a nurse and worked in Heber and Salt Lake.
Pat has two sisters Jan and Shauna. She remembers fondly that everyone knew everyone when she was a child in Kamas. She misses those days. Many of her memories are of family events. Breakfast up the canyon. They could camp and fish at Mirror lake, Shingle creek, Trial lake. The last few years she has enjoyed Fiesta Days and playing Bingo, getting a vegetarian Navajo taco, the demolition derby especially when someone she knew was in it. Her brother-in-law Alan Scates was a driver in it one year. Alan was a long time local and was a very popular mayor in Kamas for four years.
Pat didn’t have a best friend and that was hard on her. But, when new families moved in to start the Bible church she had a nice group of friends. One of them lived in the King House just west of the post office. She remembers having bible study groups there and sleepovers with her friend. She is very fond of that home and hopes that someday it will be a history museum for guests and locals to enjoy learning more about Kamas history.
Bullies always have been around, and Pat remembers a scary experience. Some of the kids living in town cornered her when she was around 10 and told her they were going to start her hair on fire. She never told her mom about that.
When Pat was young she loved libraries, books and reading. She still does. Pat retired from the Summit County Library in 2008 and still is a board member of Summit County Friends of the Library. She remembers when the libraries in Summit County were very basic and some areas only had bookmobiles. As a student Pat put much of her energy into academics and was one of three girls to go to “Utah Girls State”. She was sponsored by the Lions Club where her dad was a member. Pat’s family wasn’t one of the original Kamas families and she wasn’t Mormon so at times she felt like she was different and didn’t fit in. Pat always wished she grew up on a farm because the kids from farms who had horses would ride them to school on the last day.
Pat grew up on 100 East 140 South, next to the large Victorian yellow home that used to be the hospital. Some of the games Pat played with neighbors and her two sisters as a child were “Mother May I” and “Red Rover”, and night games on the lawn. Pat loved to roller skate outside of the LDS church, where the Beaver Creek park now is. Through her teen years, Pat worked at the drugstore. It was a fun job. She was a cook and cashier. In high school Pat was prideful of the fact that she could drink coffee and have her own car. She regrets that attitude now. At school she excelled in choir, English and she did make-up for the actors in the drama club play one year.
Pat graduated in 1960. She said it was like “Happy Days”. They would drag Main St. and it was a very nice place to live.
Pat was engaged to Bill Darcey from Wanship her senior year of high school and married him after she graduated. She was 17. They were married June 10, 1960. There were a few girls that got married while still in high school. Bill and Pat had five children and 39 wonderful years together until he died September 24, 1999. Bill and Pat attended the Bible Church of Kamas, it was started here in Kamas over 50 years ago.
There is one memorable character that she remembers in Kamas. He was an old prospector that would camp out near Beaver Creek. Doug Simpson let him live in the coal room of the drugstore in exchange for odd jobs. His name was Charlie Bostard. He was always dirty and smelled like coal. Many called him “Charlie Beavercrick”. When Charlie died Doug paid for his funeral and Pat’s grandpa Ernie gave him a burial plot in the Marion Cemetery.
A Kamas legend she remembers hearing about is of the Lost Rhoads Mine, where Thomas Rhoads is said to have discovered gold. He died before he showed anyone where it was.
Pat finished by telling me that “Kamas Valley is still a special place and she loves having access to the mountains, lakes and forest and feels blessed to live in such a beautiful place”.
Interview by Chris McLaws