John Carl Laney (1889-1975)

Carl with his siblings and the wagon he drove to Ekalaka school


My grandfather, John Carl Laney was born on December 19, 1889, in Nodaway County, Missouri. He was the first child of John Waugh Laney and Sallie Elizabeth Heren. Carl was just two years old when the family migrated to Miles City, Montana in the spring of 1891. Why Montana? John’s older sister, Clara, had married a Montana rancher, and John’s brother had moved to Montana to establish a sheep ranching business. So around 1895, John packed up his family and moved to Montana in the spring of 1892. In 1902, the Laneys moved to a home on Beaver Creek near Ekalaka, Montana. In 1906 the family moved back to Miles City where Carl played football for Miles City High School.

In the fall of 1908 the Laneys left Montana and moved to Spokane, Washington. It was there at South Central High School that Carl met the love of his life, Harriet Eliza Stewart (born February 9, 1892), the oldest daughter of Zechariah Stewart and Ida Ann Jackson. Carl and Harriet marched together at their graduation from high school in 1910. After Carl graduated from Washington State College in June 1915 with a B.S. degree in Agriculture, he accepted a job at the U.S. Livestock Experiment Station on Kodiak Island, Alaska. He returned to Spokane early the following summer to marry Harriet (June 15, 1916). The couple returned to Kodiak for the next year where the young bride taught school and Carl continued his work at the Experiment Station. When they left Kodiak the next year, Harriet was expecting their first child.

Carl and Harriet; Marguerite and Doris; Stewart, Miriam and Carl Eugene

During the next two decades, the Laneys moved from place to place with different job opportunities until they made their way to Kennewick, Washington where Carl took a job with the Washington State Employment office across the Snake River in Pasco. During the years of changing jobs and moving about, five children were born into the Laney family—Doris Lenore (6/10/17), Harriet Marguerite (8/30/18), Jack Stewart (10/18/20), Carl Eugene (3/18/22) and Miriam Ann (5/3/24). After settling in Kennewick, the Laneys joined the Methodist Church where Carl became a popular adult Sunday School teacher. He made his mark on the church not only by his good Bible teaching, but also by the beautiful wooden cross he built and donated to the church. It is featured today on the wall behind the pulpit and choir loft to remind worshipers of the work of their Savior.

Carl retired from his work at the Washington State Employment office in 1951. Harriet taught school until her retirement in 1959, but was called back to teach another year. On June 15, 1966 the Laney relatives gathered in Kennewick to help Carl and Harriet celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. The next spring, they left with Bill and Peggy Laney on a very memorable trip to the Holy Land.

Carl and Harriet celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary

The next decade of Carl and Harriet’s life was spent traveling and visiting their children and grandchildren. These were the golden years for the Laneys and the family has wonderful memories of visiting together at the family home in Kennewick.

After an illness of several months, Carl died on November 8, 1975. He and Harriet had been married for 59 years.

My grandfather, John Carl Laney

Two years after Carl’s passing, Harriet suffered a severe head injury as a result of a fall (1977). She never returned to her home at 947 Metaline. She moved to Yakima to live with Doris, and then to Vancouver to live with Miriam. Harriet spent her last years in Vancouver, Washington at several different assisted living facilities. The family gathered in Vancouver on February 9, 1992 to celebrate Harriet’s 100th birthday. She declined over the next two years and died on her 102nd birthday.