Clair Barrow

Clair Barrow worked the gamut of jobs of Swift. And what do you know? The first job was the hardest!

A young boy sets up a nice life for himself with good wages at Swift Meats  


Clair Barrow with his wife Judy and daughter Shelly during the years he worked at Swift.



He never thought much about the hard work he did at Swift. But now he sees it set him up for a pretty nice life.

Clair Barrow

Clair Barrow learned at the young age of 16 or 17 what it was like to work hard. That’s when he started working at Swift Meats in Ogden, Utah. He worked summers starting in 1956. He worked in nearly all the departments of Swift and while there, but found quickly that his first job was the hardest.




Clair Barrow describes some of the work he did at Swift as “back-breaking.” But he didn’t mind it once he got his paycheck.  



He loaded rail cars on the shipping docks. It was hard, back-breaking work. “It was probably the hardest job down there. You had to be hunched over in those rail cars hauling a half of beef. Them things were heavy. You really built your muscles doing that,” he said, laughing at the memory. The rail cars were packed with ice that was produced in an ice house just across the street from Swift and then traveled back east, mostly to Chicago. Clair would load beef, lambs and pigs on the cars and he always knew he earned his paycheck after a grueling shift in that department.

aerial view of the Ogden Union Stockyards and the American Packing and Provision Company building. Special Collections Department, Stewart Library, Weber State University
Ariel View 1940-1950

By 1958 he was married and got offered a full-time gig. At that time, he was able to switch from loading the rail cars to loading trucks with smaller portions of products to go to local grocery stores – about as far as those loads would go is Idaho. While the work was still difficult, it was nothing like what he had done loading the rail cars. In the shipping departments, shifts were round-the-clock, the only shifts at Swift that were.


Clair learned early on that seniority was key at Swift and as different jobs came open that paid more or were desirable people would bid for them and got the jobs based on seniority. Once a person got a job in a different department they had to work their way back up again. But that didn’t stop Clair from trying different jobs to get better pay or better work conditions, although he didn’t really mind any of the work. “Well it was all hard work, but the pay was so good you didn’t mind,” Clair said of Swift. “And they knew they better treat us right because of the union.” Clair attributes the union to the excellent way employees were treated and paid. There had to be a clean work environment, money had to be paid on time and things had to be positive. And Clair always felt they were.


He worked on the “kill floor” for a couple of years – the top part of the building were the animals were brought up to be killed. Many described the kill floor as the one of the worst or hardest jobs in the place, but Clair didn’t think of it that way. It was swelteringly hot and the jobs were sacred for those that had been there a while. “Those were some mean and tough guys there,” Clair said of the men who had the seniority on the kill floor. Pay was based on how quickly you killed and got the animals ready to go so work had to be fast. Clair admitted not a lot of socializing went on during shifts on the kill floor. Clair didn’t actually kill the animals himself – which consisted of knocking the animals in the head with an air gun; but one of his jobs was to tie their legs off and pull their hides. Clair was always amazed by how many animals were killed in a shingle shift. Thousands, he figures some days. Lambs were a premium. He decided this was the case because that’s the kind of meat people liked to eat on the east coast. On the kill floor, there was a beef side and a sheep side and Clair worked both sides.

Clair Barrow with his wife, Judy.

Often, rumors would start that layoffs were coming to one department or another so employees would start to bid to work in a different spot. That’s why Clair moved around so much. One of his favorite areas to work was in the smoking department. It was cooler and it was where the meats were prepared for packaging. He would work getting the pork ready to be made and packaged into bacon which was where most of the “girls” worked, as Clair put it. He would also prepare the hams and different meats for smoking. It was really the last step before shipment. It was still busy and not easy, but it was less chaotic than the kill floor or the actual loading department for shipment.




Clair always felt very positive about working at Swift. Of course, for him the money was the best part. “I became a very rich man because of my start at Swift,” Clair said. He was making a lot more money than many others during that time and he was able to buy and provide things for his family that he never dreamed when he started working there. Because he had that extra cash he was able to also make smart investments and buy land. He thinks he wouldn’t have found that success without Swift. And although it closed down, the training he received there helped secure his career as the meat manager at Stop and Shop where he finished out his career.

Wrapping the bacon.


Clair feels strongly that the union kept Swift honest, although he really liked all his bosses and the people who worked in the office – none of which were part of the union.


Their work clothes were provided at the start of each shift. White shirts, pants and suspenders. After the end of a shift they were permitted to go shower and leave their dirty clothes behind. Their clothes had their work numbers (his was 280) and they would be ready to go at the beginning of the shift at their lockers the next day. Clair didn’t have a strong dislike for the smell of Swift for that reason. He always appreciated that at night workers came in and cleaned everything so they could start fresh each day. While he doesn’t think that was a federal law, it was part of the union. He was never required to wear gloves for any of the work he did though. He never felt like he was being watched over or anything like that, he always felt that he was treated with utmost respect.


Clair posing in front of his old-time truck.

There was a cafeteria with “some of the best food you ever ate.” There was a little bridge he would walk across on the north side of the building and that’s where the showers and cafeteria were. The food cost of course, but it always tasted good and fresh, Clair said. He didn’t often eat there because his wife sent a lunch for him, but it was nice to know it was there if he was ever in a pinch. Clair would often start his day at Stockman’s which was a café just west of Swift. “I loved that old place. I’d get me a short stack and coffee every day before work,” Clair said, smiling at the thought. There were pinball machines and it was a place to be social for many of the guys. Quite a few Swift employees would hang out there after work and drink a bit of beer. Clair wasn’t a part of that. “I didn’t want to get into too much trouble with Judy,” Clair said with a wink. Judy was his wife!

Clair loved buying delicious steaks for his family at a deep discount.


Clair enjoyed many of the fringe benefits of Swift – benefits like being able to buy the meats at a deep discount. He liked to take advantage of that and still loves himself a big streak to this day. “Oh, eating meat never bothered me a minute. I could eat steak every night!” he exclaimed.


Clair always thought Swift cared and wanted to contribute to the community. At least once per year Swift paid employees with $2 bills so they could see where people were spending their money in the community. “They wanted to see what impact they were making. They were proud of that,” Clair said. Clair liked the uniqueness of that perk, so did his kids. His daughter Shelly said she always thought her mom got those $2 bills from the bank. “No I just gave them all to her, like all the rest of my money,” Clair said with a tease in his voice. He remembers that he started at $2.65. “Of course, it only cost $1500 to buy a nice car back then too,” he said with a big laugh.


He liked the fact that he could “beat the clock” so to speak and get paid extra. If they wanted him to do a job in an hour and 15 minutes and it only took an hour, he would get paid for the hour and fifteen minutes. He loved when those work times would go fast like that. He also spent some time pulling some double shifts. Every so often they would ask for people to go and help render the lard from the animals. They would take the lard and send it off to a plant where they make all different kinds of oils. So Clair would work his main shift then pull another shift rendering lard. He made big stacks of cash during that time.


The Social Life


Clair made life-long friends in his time at Swift. He didn’t necessarily socialize while on shift, but socializing was done at places like Stockman’s and in the cafeteria. Plus, he was not alone in making the great money and many of them bought land and horses near each other and stayed friends and neighbors long after Swift shut down. They didn’t necessarily work together again, but had that Swift tie that started long-term friendships. Clair worked with his older brother which was a bonus for him. His brother got him the job but always had seniority over him, which never bothered Clair – he was his big brother after all.


The Shut Down


Clair admits it was somewhat of a shock when they learned things would shut down. The “bosses”  let the employees (he thinks there were about 300) know about two months ahead of time that they would be shutting things down so they could find other work. Clair immediately got a job at Great Salt Lake Mineral, but found that he hated the work there fast. He finished out his time at Swift and saw things slowly shut down. They had opened a new plant in Arizona and offered the employees a chance to transfer there. It wasn’t something Clair was interested in. He had a family in Utah and didn’t feel the desire to leave. The union helped keep things on the up and up and he felt okay with the way they were treated in the end. Other guys followed at GSL, but also found they didn’t like the work. Many went to Ogden Dress Meats and that’s where Clair ended up eventually as well and then onto Stop and Shop grocery store where he was a talented butcher.


Clair always considered Swift to be a great place to work. “It was a huge operation down there. Between the Stockyards and Swift and the ice house. There was a lot going on and it really put Ogden on the map. Swift really kept those Stockyards going too,” Clair said. He was always glad to be a part of that huge operation.


Rachel J. trotter


Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on and She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

tell your story

Evalogue.Life was hired to capture the history of the Ogden Union Stockyards and the old Swift meat packing plant, including oral history and other research. These vignettes were written by Evalogue.Life team members. 

Hogs being unloaded from a truck at the Ogden Union Stockyards. Photo obtained from Don Strack.

Verl Thompson

Farm Boy to Big City Meat Packer

Working on a farm wasn’t for Verl Thompson, he wanted something more  

Inside pens at the Ogden Union Stockyards, cattle stand. At the back of the pen are three men wearing cowboy hats, working jackets and two have ties on. One man is on a horse with a lasso. Above on the catwalk, men in hats and overcoats look down. Special Collections Department, Stewart Library, Weber State University


sheep being loaded up the concrete ramps onto a Union Pacific rail car at the Ogden Union Stockyards. Special Collections Department, Stewart Library, Weber State University
Sheep on the concrete ramps



The 1950s were a hopping time in the Ogden Stockyards/Swift Meat Packing Plant. And Verl Thompson was in on all the action.

Verl Thompson

There’s not much work to be found in Lewiston, Idaho. Not much work unless you want to be a farmer. And that wasn’t the line of work Ivan “Verl” Thompson loved to do. He did it long enough, but after his LDS mission, he knew it wasn’t his life’s work. Plus, he wanted to make some good money so when the time came, he could provide for his family.



Verl Thompson never minded getting his hands dirty or working in the cold  Swift Meat Packing Plant. He had goals and he knew Swift was the place to make them happen. 

A Chance for a Leg up in Life

He caught wind that there was a meat-packing plant in Ogden that paid well and decided he would give it a try. “I needed a job and heard there was some butcher work,” Thompson said. He decided to try it and that he would take the time to commute the 60 miles to the job. That didn’t last long though. The commute proved to be too much, so Thompson decided he would re-locate to the bustling junction town.


The year was 1952 and things were hopping at Swift. He was hired on to work in the cooler. He was there to greet the dead cattle soon after they were slaughtered so they could be cooled in preparation to be cut. The place was cold. “It was cold, but I didn’t pay it much mind,” Thompson said with a laugh. “They had to keep the whole place cold so the meat wouldn’t spoil so we just got used to it,” Thompson said, thinking of the memory. He wore a big, heavy shirt and coveralls in all parts of the plant that he figures employed about 100. “I stayed pretty warm, really,” he remembered. Even though the plant was kept at a toasty 35 to 36 degrees, he remembers.

Working in the Cold


When he worked in the cold room the meat would come there directly from the kill floor which was essentially the top floor of the plant. From there the meat would need to cooled before it could be butchered. At first, Thompson spent his days there, getting the meat cool and hauling it around. He remembers it was physical work, but because of his young age he didn’t think much about it. They would arrange it to go to the different parts of the plant depending on the meat. He worked primarily with the cattle and sheep and had little to do with the pigs, that was pretty much in a different space from Thompson’s memory.


He didn’t spend a lot of time working in the cold room before he was promoted to butcher. There he would cut up the cattle into fairly large pieces to be transported out to grocery stores – and mostly local grocery stores at that. They would ship some out, but most of it stayed in the area. He cut it into bigger pieces and the grocery stores could then cut the meat how they liked it to get the best sale. Thompson found that most of the stores liked to do it different. “I got of a lot of lessons in cutting meat, but it wasn’t very complicated, but it was hard work,” Thompson said. Thompson was paid by the hour, unlike those that were “meat boners” who turned the meat into hamburger.  Alberton’s was one of their biggest orders. “Their orders were big and I never wanted to do those when they came in,” he said with a sly smile. He did though because he liked the idea of working hard. He knows some of the meat was shipped out on rail cars, although he didn’t ever think it was a whole lot. “It may have been, I just don’t remember it that way,” he said.

A Natural Butcher


He also never lost the knack for being able to cut meat. He was always the designated cutter when they would get a deer. “I would take it home, cut it up, put in a locker and give it all away,” he said. But cutting meat never made his stomach turn. He has always been able to eat the meat in spite of those 19 years of chopping it up. “It didn’t bother me. I saw it raw and I knew what it was,” he added.


Thompson usually worked an 8-hour shift, unless there were extra orders to be filled. If that was the case his 8-hour day would quickly turn into a 10 or 11-hour day but the time went quickly because he was busy. If the worked 10 hours, Swift was always careful to feed the employees. “They sent us to a café for dinner,” Thompson said. The café was located in west Ogden out of the Stockyards. He didn’t remember a lot of the details of the place, but does remember he was pretty thrilled to get a free meal and paid extra for extra hours of work.

Friends, But Only at Work


He had a few friends that he was chummy with at work, but that ended, for most part when he punched the time clock. “There were a lot of good guys there. I really liked them, but we did have a lot of different values,” he said with a laugh and grin. Thompson didn’t enter in with a lot of the after-work shenanigans, but he liked the men while they were on the clock. Thompson admitted he was a family man and not long after he started working at Swift he got married and started his family. He was interested in getting home to his wife.


Thompson mostly worked with the beef, but if he got done with the orders on the beef he would move over to sheep area and help there. He didn’t do that a whole lot and doesn’t have a lot of memories of what he did while in that department. He did like the fact that everyone did pitch in and help though. If one department got done with its work, they moved to another department and helped each other out. Sometimes the job could get monotonous – hours and hours of cutting, but that was only when it was slow and they were waiting for orders to come in. “But we were busy most of the time,” he noted. He didn’t mind the times he could help with the “lambs” as he called them as that department always seemed to be thriving and busy.


As long as he worked there he made an hourly wage and didn’t know of people who were paid by the sheer amount of work they completed during the time, although some accounts have said they were paid by the number of pounds they cut, or ground up into beef. “That was not in my department,” he said. One thing he enjoyed was the fact that the employees all worked hard though. No one slacked off and were eager to get the job done, for the most part.

They Treated us “Pretty Good”


“They treated us pretty good,” Thompson said of the management at Swift. He didn’t feel put upon by them or underappreciated. “I really felt like we was government workers in a lot of way, by the way they treated us,” Thompson said of the place. The upper management seemed to like all the workers and didn’t want to see a lot of turnover so they treated the employees well. “For me, it was a good company to work for,” Thompson said. Although he is quick to say the very best part of the job was always payday.  Talking about payday yielded the biggest grin of the day from Thompson, who is now 92. “They paid us real good,” he said.



Rachel J. trotter


Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on and She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

tell your story

Evalogue.Life was hired to capture the history of the Ogden Union Stockyards and the old Swift meat packing plant, including oral history and other research. These vignettes were written by Evalogue.Life team members. 

Men on catwalk above the pens in the Ogden Union Stockyards. one wearing a cowboy hat and overalls and the other in a white fedora, slacks and white shirt. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. 

Pablo Sanchez Sr. played a vital role for both the

Ogden Stockyards and Swift Building

A Mexican immigrant teaches his family the value of hard work

1926 pens with cattle at the Ogden Union Stockyards. Sign reads Carload fat Steers owned and grown by Bar R Ranch Bert Rudd Irwin, ID, for sale by Peck Bros. Livestock Com. Co. Special Collections Department, Stewart Library, Weber State University
1926 Pens


Pablo Sanchez Junior around the time when he spend summer days with his dad at the Stockyards caring for the animals.



Who fed and cared for the animals before their sale or slaughter? One man.

Pablo Sanchez, Sr. 

Pablo Sanchez Jr. loves to drive around the old Ogden Stockyards and area around the old Swift Building. Fond memories of his years there come racing into his mind. Not the years of his employment, but of his father’s. His father, Pablo Sanchez Sr., worked just across the river from Swift, feeding the livestock the day before their slaughter. Sanchez Jr. would go to work with his dad around one day per week during the summer months. “I think my mom just liked to get me out of the house,” Sanchez Jr. said with a laugh. But for him it was an adventure.


When Pablo Sanchez Senior immigrated to the United States as a young boy he was determined to make a difference. He did so by hard work and perseverance. His love for the outdoors and animals proved irreplaceable for the Stockyards and Swift.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. during the time he worked at the Stockyards.

A Son Shares His Father’s Stories

His dad was the sole person to feed the hundreds of livestock of sheep, pigs, goats and cattle each day. Most days he would lift 50 to 60 bales of hay for the animals and sometimes twice – once off the trucks to store in the hay house and once to deliver it to the animals. Sanchez Jr. was always amazed and how easily his father would lift the bales of hay, when as a child he couldn’t even move them. His father always laughed at him for that.


Making a Life In America


It seemed like an easy enough transition for Sanchez Sr. to work outdoors day in and day out, caring for the animals and lifting hay. He grew up in a horse ranch in Mexico and loved working outside with the livestock because he understood them. Plus, he enjoyed putting in a hard day of honest work. When his parents died in Mexico there was nothing left for him there and he moved to Ogden, Utah to be near his sister who he loved dearly. Once in the United States, he joined the Army and spent several years serving his country. He served during World War II time and although he never saw combat, he always respected the time he spent there. After returning from the Army he started working at Swift. Sanchez Jr. is unsure if he was employed by Swift, the Stockyards or the railroad or he’s not sure if the railroad contracted with Swift. That’s one of those questions he wishes he could ask now, but he passed several years ago.

Pablos Sanchez Sr. during a trip to his homeland, Mexico.


Waste not, Want not


Sanchez Sr. took his job very seriously, meticulously cleaning out the animal pens each and every day. He had a systematic way of sorting the hay bales and taking the wires off each bale of hay. He saved the wires and bunched up the hay and re-used it at the end of each day. Waste was not something that he allowed in his job. He also utilized the manure by using it for fertilizer on not only his yard, but his sister’s. Sanchez Jr. said his father and his aunt’s yards were some of the most beautiful in the neighborhood because of the way Sanchez Sr. took care of the fertilizer and made the best of it. “He always considered the extra hay and fertilizer to be fringe benefits of the job,” Sanchez Jr. said with a laugh.


Sanchez Sr. said watching the process of the animal slaughter was always interesting to him. He couldn’t say how many animals were slaughtered a day, except that it was in the hundreds it seemed. The sheep would go in cycles – usually 200 at a time. While the animal pens and hay buildings were in close proximity to the Swift Building, it was still a process to get the animals to the building. The animals were on the other side of the river from the Swift building close by the train tracks that the animals were brought in on regularly. Sanchez Sr. was not in charge of releasing the animals for slaughter, there were two other men who did that job, but he would often watch and could step in and assist if needed.

Men on catwalk above the pens in the Ogden Union Stockyards. one wearing a cowboy hat and overalls and the other in a white fedora, slacks and white shirt. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.
Pablo Sanchez Jr. and his father, Pablo Sanchez Sr. would often walk along the catwalk above the pens to survey the animals.


He always cleared the roadway for the animals before they were released so the animals could pass safely along the road and the bridge to the kill floor of the Swift Building. Sheep were led across the river to Swift and up the ramp by goats that were dubbed “Judas goats.”

“The goats were amazing and we would often give them names,” Sanchez Jr. said. He especially came to love one goat that they named “Billie.” They would put a large bell on the goat and it would parade back and forth with the bell on in front of the pens. The animals would be mesmerized by the goat and the bell and as soon as the pens were open they would follow right behind the goat. The goat would them lead them across the bridge and over the Swift Building. Once to the building, the goat would lead them to the ramp and then the livestock would part ways with the goat. The goats would always return back to the pens. The animals had to walk up almost to the top of the building on the ramps to what was called the kill floor where within moments they would be slaughtered. Sanchez Jr. said it was amazing how they did it each and every time and how the goats knew where to take them…and when to leave.

Helping Dad at Work


Sanchez Jr. got a kick out of walking between the pens and checking out what the animals were doing. “The sheep are kind of greedy,” Sanchez Jr. said. They would get so eager to get their food sometimes they would get their heads stuck in the slats of the pen trying to get their food before anyone else could. On the days Sanchez Jr. was there, it was his job to push their heads through the slats. He loved when he would hear his name called to take on the task.

Some of the bulls were extremely mean. Especially the Brama bulls. Sometimes he would walk between the bull pens and they would charge at him. “It was scary,” Sanchez Jr. said, but he knew he was safe, so he kept doing it. One day his father came in contact with an especially mean and fierce bull. As his father walked by to feed him, the bull charged at him. His father took the gate and pushed it back, forcing the bull back. His father and the bull stared each other down for a moment. His father eyes saying, “Go ahead, come at me.” At that, the bull turned around and walked away. “It was amazing to me. That elevated my dad in my mind,” Sanchez Jr. said with a big smile. He was saying to that bull, “You aren’t going to get the best of me,” Sanchez Jr. said.

Auction Action – Tempting for a Young Boy

On many of the days Sanchez Jr. got to go work with his dad he had other adventures to check out besides just the livestock set for slaughter. There was a live auction. Sanchez Jr. loved to slip into the auction and see what the cowboys were doing. “I couldn’t ever understand anything they were saying. They would say a whole bunch of stuff and then I would hear, ‘Sold!’” Sanchez said with a big chuckle. The livestock were paraded around and cowboys of all different statures would buy the animals. It was at the auction where he saw the sickest of the animals. “You never saw any sick animals on the Swift side,” Sanchez Jr. noted. But he saw plenty at the auctions, which was something he never understood. Sanchez Jr. watched the hundreds of animals on both sides of the stockyards – the Swift side and auction side and felt lucky he got to be a part of the action. He loved that he lived in the place that was the hub of so much excitement every day.

Cattle inside the auction ring at the Ogden Union Stockyards. The gallery bleachers are full. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.
Pablo Sanchez Jr. loved to sneak away from work in the pens to check out the auction. Exciting for a young boy!

Stockman’s Cafe – Yum!

During his weekday adventures, he would try to pay a visit to Stockman’s, the yummy restaurant just across the street from the Stockyards. Workers would often toss him a quarter or dime during the course of the day and tell him to go get himself a soda. He was happy to oblige. When he would go inside, being the young kid he was, the employees made a big deal of him. They knew his name, knew who he was, and who his father was. At the time, he wasn’t sure why, but now he feels sure it was because people could see what a hard worker his father was and admired him for it.

A Loyal Employee and Hard Worker

His dad went to work at Swift and the Stockyards every day for 26 years. He would get up early in the morning, his wife would make him breakfast, coffee and send him on his way with a pack lunch. The cycle was always the same. Sanchez Jr. thinks his dad only missed work about six times over the years he worked there. He had two or three weeks off straight when he contracted a terrible eye infection. He let it go too long (because he didn’t want to miss work) and had to go to the Dee Hospital. Upon arrival, doctors found that he would lose his eye. He had to take some time off to heal and he wore an eye patch for some time and eventually got a glass eye. Sanchez Jr. said his dad accepted it, even though it was a difficult trial. The hardest thing for him to accept was the terrible state of the animal pens when he went back to work! He was frustrated with the careless way they had treated the pens and most likely the animals. It took him weeks to get the pens back into the shape they needed to be in. “To many it was considered a crappy, nasty job, but to him, he took pride in his work,” Sanchez Jr. said of his father. His dad taught him much by example, but also taught him how to work at home. One day he made him mow the lawn three times because he failed to do it the right way the other times. That day, Sanchez Jr. came to understand why his dad spent so much time perfecting his job at Swift – he did it right the first time. On the rare day he had off, they brought in two people to cover his shift.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. was always a hard worker. His son has vivid memories of his snow shoveling and lawn mowing at their home. He was always busy.


Literacy, Language and Religious Barriers Lead to Tragedy

That’s why it was such a mystery when things went south so quickly for his father at Swift. After 26 years of hard work and service, Sanchez Sr. was RIF’d (Reduction in force). Sanchez Sr. was angry and hurt. The problem was that a noticed was posted explaining that a RIF was going to be happening, but Sanchez Sr. was unable to read, leaving him clueless as to the upcoming change. But the part that really stuck with Sanchez Sr. is that those who knew of Sanchez’s Sr.’s difficulty with reading never let him know what was coming. He and six other employees were cut loose, even though Sanchez Sr. was fourth in line seniority-wise. Sanchez Sr. always felt that it was because he didn’t belong to the predominant LDS religion that seemed prevalent at Swift, especially those that worked closely with Sanchez Sr. He always felt they looked down on him and treated him poorly because he was Roman Catholic.  Sanchez Jr. said he took his religion very seriously and was proud of it. He felt bitter about the fact that he didn’t feel respected for his religion.

His difficulty with reading was also a struggle his whole life. When he came to Ogden as a young boy, his sister put him in grade school. He was unable to speak or read English and would get whipped with a switch each time he didn’t understand the words the teachers uttered to him. He soon quit school because he just couldn’t take the beating anymore. The language and reading barrier just kept on because he didn’t have the tools to learn to read and speak. He knew quite a bit of English and could respond in English when spoken to, but the reading part was a sticking point for him. But he never blamed his job loss at Swift on his inability to read, he blamed it on those of the LDS faith who he felt didn’t have his back.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. wanted to serve America and joined the military.

Because of the language and reading barrier, Sanchez Sr. made sure his children spoke and read in English, always. They were not allowed to speak or read Spanish, only English. Sanchez Jr. said he knows little Spanish now because of that.

His father found work at a local poultry house, which is also now closed. Sanchez Sr. always loved the work at Swift, though. He loved caring for the animals, even if they were going to die. He loved being outdoors, even though Sanchez Jr. never understood how his dad handled the cold. Sanchez Jr. felt his years at Swift taught him to be a hard worker in all aspects of his life – perfectly groomed yard, shoveled walks, meticulous in all that he did.

Pablo Sanchez Jr. followed his father’s example and joined the service to protect his country, something important to the Sanchez family.

His father was struck with Alzheimer’s as he got older, which was tough for the family, but Sanchez Jr. spent his father’s last years with him. When he realized how bad things were getting for his father he moved back to Utah with his wife and family from Houston, Texas to help his mother and father cope with his debilitating illness. Those were not easy times for their family. But now Sanchez Jr. has the memories of his father to hold on to and all those years watching his father work. Sanchez Jr. joined the Army like his father did and it was while he was serving that his father was RIF’d.

Sanchez Jr. still drives around that area, remembering and savoring of his memories of times gone by in the hopping down he grew up in, Ogden, Utah.

Rachel J. trotter


Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on and She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

tell your story

Evalogue.Life was hired to capture the history of the Ogden Union Stockyards and the old Swift meat packing plant, including oral history and other research. These vignettes were written by Evalogue.Life team members.