Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Wedding and Reception of Lloyd Krueger and Norma Schmidt

I am more fortunate than many genealogists in that my Grandfather, Lloyd Oscar Krueger, wrote three books about his life experiences.  Mostly the books concern his activities during WWII, but there are numerous other stories about his life sprinkled throughout, and it is a true gift to have them written down first-hand.  The following description of his wedding to my grandmother, Norma Ann Schmidt, and the reception which followed, is assembled from his book “Enjoy Lest Tomorrow Flees”, written in 2002.

Little by little I was exposed to the myriad of decisions that had to be made when planning a wedding.  One of the questions that needed to be answered was “How many of your relatives would attend the wedding?”.  Hell, most of them didn’t even talk to one another.  I wasn’t even sure how many relatives I had.  My mother had come from Iowa, and her side of the family was scattered to the four corners of that state.  She assured me that none of these relatives would come because they could not afford to make the trip.

My father’s tribe all lived in the Wausau area, but family disputes had most relatives not having contact with one another.  Much of the dissension was due to the actions of the dozen or more male cousins.  Nearly all of my aunts and uncles on my father’s side of the family had three or four sons, just like our household.  I recalled that when some of these relatives got together the first line of business was to get the boxing gloves on several of the boys.  We would beat the heck out of one another until someone got a bloodied nose or said he’d had enough.  The only satisfaction gained by one of these debacles appeared to be solely by the fathers; the wives blew a fuse when they saw their son with a bloodied nose and his clothes in disarray.  Usually they would get pissed off and insist on being taken home.

For some reason my parents seemed to be the only ones who had and maintained contact with all of the other relatives.  I grew up looking at all of my cousins in Wausau as pugnacious offsprings of each of my aunts.  We grew up to be bitter rivals and competitors in all the sports in which we competed against each other.

I was now expected to inform those planning the wedding how many aunts and uncles could be expected to attend the ceremonies.  I tried picking the minds of my Mom and Dad and got conflicting guesses of who would or would not come to our wedding.  “This one would show up if that one stayed home.”  They went through innumerable combinations and possibilities.  All of this was conjecture, obviously.  Eventually, I decided we should just divide the total of potential relatives by two and this might be somewhat realistic.

At last, Saturday, October 21, 1944 had arrived.  The wedding was scheduled for 4:00pm at St. Paul Evangelical church and I had the greater part of a day to walk the floor, smoke endless cigarettes, take nervous pees, and wonder what I was getting into.

At the prescribed hour, George Cormack, my brother Bobby, and I waited up at the front of the nave with Pastor Orwein.  This large church seemed to be packed to bursting.  I couldn’t believe or understand why.   Every pew was filled, not only by relatives and friends of both families, but by the multitude of curious strangers.  There did not seem to be enough room for each to twist around, snap photographs, and get their first view of the bride.  Unbeknownst to me, my arrival back home from combat had been written up in the Wausau Daily Record Herald.  Inquisitive old women discovered a place to be entertained and had filled this large church to its capacity.  I glanced around only to realize I hardly recognize a face in the entire church.

The organ had been playing for some time, but now with a slight pause, the wedding march started to slowly filled the air.  All heads turned.  First came little Kay Johnson, the flower girl, nonchalantly scattering small flower blossoms along the carpeted path.  Then came Elaine Poore, Norma’s friend from nurse’s training in Rochester, Minnesota.  Next came Nathalie Johnson, Norma’s roommate from the University of Wisconsin.  Nathalie was the Maid of Honor.

Finally, Norma came into view on the arm of her father, Edwin Frederick Schmidt.  He turned out to be the best father-in-law anyone could ever have, and he will always be remembered by me as just plain “Ike”, his nickname.   This was Ike’s baby and youngest daughter about to get married, and all of the deep wrinkles on his face were arced in the form of an unmistakable smile, all the while he tried to look somber.

It was a scene that felt like it had been cast for a movie.  Norma had concealed her athletic appearance behind a beautiful wedding dress.  There was a crown on her blonde hair and she carried a large bouquet of yellow roses.  Her personality was concealed somewhere within this satin wedding gown and her veil made of Italian lace.  It took her and her father forever to arrive at the front of the church as they both marched slowly in stutter-step.

Ike proclaimed that he would give his youngest daughter away after being prodded by Reverend Ortwein.  Norma and I stood together as the ceremony was pronounced, then finally the good Reverend raised his hands above us to formally pronounce us “man and wife”.  When he said, “you may now kiss your wife”, I closed my eyes, puckered up and leaned forward to give Norma a kiss.  She had already turned and started down the aisle, with her husband a step or two behind.  Our embrace had to wait until we reached the far end of the aisle.

Norma Schmidt and Lloyd Krueger’s wedding day. Kay Johnson is the flower girl. The man in the sailor suit is Bobby Krueger, Lloyd’s brother. On the far left is pharmacist George Cormack, Lloyd’s life-long friend. Next to him is Natalie Naftel, who went to nursing school with Norma and was her maid of honor. Next to Bobby is Elaine Poor, another friend of Norma’s.

The reception, in one of the large dining rooms of the Hotel Wausau, was a large affair.  Family, friends, relatives, an many people who would be perfect strangers to me attended this banquet. 

Banquet room at the Hotel Wausau, now called the “Landmark Building” in downtown Wausau, Wisconsin.

From there, the entire entourage left to go to a Pavilion next to Norma’s home in the village of Rothschild.  For this special wedding they had fixed up this unused old structure, cleaned and decorated it, and waxed up the floor for dancing.

Restored interior of the Rothschild Pavilion, 2012. This was where the Krueger wedding reception was held.

My parents and I had believed only about half of the relatives on our side of the family would show up.  We were so very wrong.  Every last one of these relatives, who seldom spoke to one another, were going to the dance.  During the Flying Dutchman Dance, each of my four aunts tried to out-do each other on the dance floor by nearly tearing my arms off.  By this time I was completely out of uniform with my blouse stashed somewhere and my tie pulled off.  There were times I felt like I had been in a wrestling match!

Just about the time that the evening was reaching its climax, an unexpected hush suddenly came over the crowded dance floor.  We all moved away from the center and formed a circle of astonished eyes to watch my 87-year-old grandfather waltz across the floor with my new wife.  Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Krueger and Norma Ann Krueger were flowing across this unique dance floor to a Viennese Waltz.   It was beautiful to witness this young bride, in her wedding dress, and this proud old German, with his waxed, handle-bar mustache, glide effortlessly within the tight circle of spectators and admirers.

If there had been any dissension between my relatives, they now had forgotten what it was.  They not only were talking, they were dancing with one another.  Around 1:30 am Norma and I stole away from the party, which was still going on… the orchestra still playing, and the bar still open.

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St. Stephen’s Confirmation Photos

Serendipity is a HUGE part of doing family research.  Things happen so often that you stop thinking of them as coincidences and start feeling like people on the other side are sending you stuff so you can find them.  It’s borderline miraculous at times and just plain fun other times.

Recently I was doing some work with photos of the Taegesville School that the Strehlow family had loaned to me to scan.  I noted one of the families in the photos was “Laabs”, a rather unusual name.  A few days later I came across someone’s tree on Ancestry.com that had members of that family in it.  I sent the woman, Cathy Teske, a message saying “you might want to check out this photo because I think you might find some of your family members”.  She was happy to hear from me, then said “I notice you have several Kamraths in your tree… there are a lot of Kamraths at St. Stephen Church in Wausau”.

Serendipity.  I had been meaning to go to St. Stephen’s to check for church records for my family on my next trip to Wausau.  She is, as it turns out, one of the archivists for the Church, and after a few emails she sent me a huge amount of valuable information.  One of the things she has access to is all of the confirmation class photos taken for the church after 1900.  Each class seems to be between 50 and 100 kids (about 14 years old).  Between her records for the Krueger family and these photos I was able to find several members of my family at their confirmation.  I’ll present what I found, and then add to this as more of my family is identified.  There are at least three others to be found yet.  Many, many thanks to Cathy for allowing me access to these historic photos of my family.

The confirmation photos are on the right with known photos of the person on the left for comparison.

Agnes Krueger, class of 1909

Elsie Krueger, class of 1912

Arthur Krueger, class of 1906

Edmund Krueger, class of 1916

Norma Krueger, class of 1914


Sturm / Krueger Wedding and the Ushers

This photo was among Virgil Strehlow’s genealogy work in a folder simply entitled “Kruegers”.  I recognized Victor Krueger (1926 – 1993) right away [he’s standing in the back row furthest to the right].  He’s my cousin LaVila’s brother.

Sturm / Krueger Wedding, 3 Jun 1945

I thought, at first, that this was a photo of three couples getting married, so I assumed the woman standing with Victor was his wife Mavis Wendorf.  I took the photo to breakfast with LaVila, Mavis and LaVila’s daughter Jean, and they set me straight about it, giving me a little history lesson about how wedding invitations worked in the Town of Maine, Wisconsin, in the 1940’s:

“That’s Victor [Krueger] and this is Ellart Sturm’s wedding. Victor and Lavine [Neumann] with him… those are the bridesmaids, they all wore something fancy like that. That’s Victor and Lavine, Ellart and Marcella [Krueger], Elvira [Krueger] and LeRoy [Sturm]. And Victor must’ve been the best man… no that’s the best man [LeRoy] ’cause that’s Ellart’s brother. And Lavine was his cousin, and Victor was [Marcella’s] cousin. This is Elgart Dinnis [Ellart’s half-brother]. This guy I can’t quite figure out. And this little girl is Jane Beesner(?)… she’s in California.  And see? The ushers [the men kneeling with the whiskey bottles]… their job was… to drink, basically. I’m not kidding. You never mailed out wedding invitations… they got made up and you delivered them. You’d come onto a yard at a farmhouse, and somebody was home… they’d come out and you’d both drink a shot. The ushers would carry a bottle of booze with them. That’s why they have the bottles of booze right there in the picture. People would give them money to buy the next bottle, either whiskey or brandy. That was the job of the usher. It was a precarious thing, I mean, it was a big honor to be an usher because you were really toast by the time the wedding rolls around!  But, you know, talk about drinking and driving! Because they’d drop off an invitation and then, you know, they’d have one [a shot]. It’s a good thing there wasn’t much traffic around here.”

– LaVila Krueger Luedtke, Jane Luedtke Steckling & Mavis Wendorf Krueger

So it’s LeRoy Sturm, Elvira Krueger, Marcella Krueger, Ellart Sturm, Lavine Neumann and Victor Krueger across the back, left to right.  I believe the man kneeling in the front left is Elgart Dinnis, the little girl is Jane Beesner, and the other usher is unknown.


Loris Voigt and the Chivaree

My cousin Loris Voigt Dustin is the daughter of Agnes Krueger and the oldest of my Krueger relatives. At 94 years old she is just as sharp and funny as you could imagine. A wonderful woman with a fantastic, dry sense of humor. This was one of her stories, recounted to her family on August 13, 2012.

Note: It has occurred to me that I should explain what a “Chivaree” is.  A Chivaree was a tradition from the old-world that used to be used to punish people in the community who were doing things the rest of the community felt they shouldn’t be doing (having affairs, getting married too soon after a death, marrying girls who were too young, etc).  It evolved in the new world into a sort of hazing of newly-married people (e.g. putting oats in their marital bed, or banging on pots and pans during the honeymoon night) or (as in this case) a public humiliation of a couple who didn’t do right by their community. In all cases the couple usually had to pay a monetary penalty to get the Chivaree participants to go away. Think of it as paying a fine for bad behavior.

Well, see, the cousins… there weren’t many girl cousins, there were only four of us and the rest were all boys.  And I was the oldest one.  I was in with the aunts and uncles… if they wanted to take up a collection they knew where I was!  And I was also in with the cousins, but when Bob [Krueger]… the second to the oldest; Lloyd was the oldest and Bob came next… when he got married they didn’t invite the cousins.  And my husband and I was to a picnic where I work… with the guys from work, at a park… and we just got home and I remember it was VERY warm and he said “Loris, do you care if I take off my pants and lay on the davenport?”, and I said, “You never did it in your life, why would you do it today?”.  “Well”, he said, “it’s so warm!”.

Just then the doorbell rings… here was my cousin and his wife… I can’t remember which one… it was Elsie’s youngest boy and his wife… Bud… Wally [Wallace “Bud” Madden].  And he said, “Loris, we weren’t invited to the wedding!  What do you think?”.  And I said, “Well, I didn’t even think anything of it”, I said, “If they don’t want us they don’t want us, I don’t care”.  He said, “I think we ought to have a chivaree and show ’em who we are!”.  I said, “Well, I tell ya what, Uncle Oscar [Krueger] just planted a new front yard, and if we would do ANYTHING in his front yard he’d have a royal fit!”.  He says, “I don’t care about Uncle Oscar.  I never see him.”

He says, “I’m calling all the cousins!”.  He called all the cousins to come to my house!  And we lived… that was the second house… that was the first place we lived when we moved to Wausau, ya see, I lived in Schofield the first seven years, my husband [Harry Dustin] had a home when I married him… his family home.  And then we moved to Wausau… in an apartment near the school so Kay [Dustin] wouldn’t have to go far to school.  And it was a two bed apartment.  I don’t think it was as big as this.  Well, anyway, umm… all the cousins came and none of ’em had supper.  So they said, “Loris, well doncha have something?”, and I said, “Well, I don’t know.  I didn’t expect a whole bunch!”, I said, “I was to a picnic all day!”.  So I got out everything and in the mean time, come to find out, one cousin had a tub in his car and another one had a… they each had something for a chivaree.  So I had to get somebody to take care of Kay… a babysitter… and we went.

And they had signs, which they poked in Oscar’s yard, and what money we got we never told a soul until this moment.  Shirley would LOVE to know!  Every once in a while… in fact I’m invited to a party for Shirley and Bob… it’s on my answering machine and I didn’t accept it yet… their anniversary.  I think it’s the 16th.  It’s at the nursing home.  They’re both in the nursing home now.

So Bob, he just gives one… I got the money… I was the oldest I got the money.  So then every place we went, see, we spent this money.  Well, about the third place we went somebody said, “Let’s call the aunts!  I know we’re having more fun than they are.”  I said, “Well, if we call the aunts and uncles who’s going to be at the wedding?”.   They said, “What do you care?  You weren’t invited!”.  So I said, “Oh, I won’t have any part of it, but if you want to call ’em, ok”.  That was including my mother [Agnes Krueger Voigt] too.  Sure enough they all left!  And I don’t know who stayed.  I don’t know who was there besides Bob and Shirley.  I don’t even know if [Bob’s brother] Lloyd was there.  I have no idea.

Well, anyway… we told ’em we’d be at this one tavern.  When we got to the tavern I fell out of the car!  I was going to Mayo clinic on Monday for a checkup… I wasn’t well.  And I just fell out of the car.  Oh, my mother was so mad!  And then from there we went to another place that was near our house… my husband’s home… and I knew the people that owned it, so I said, “I think you’ve all had enough to drink.  Why don’t you start eating ice-cream?”.  So I went to the freezer and I gave everyone ice cream cones.  And somebody said, “But, where’s Marion?”.  And Marion’s husband said, “Who cares where Marion is?”  I said, “Well, I think you’d better.  You’re the husband!”.  So I think my husband went out with him to find her.  She was in the ditch!  Passed out!  So she told him she had to go home.  Oh, was he mad.  He was so mad.

Then we ended up at Shirley’s father’s tavern.  And we told ’em there that… Shirley’s father, oh, he was at the wedding, he told us we could have any drink we want.  We didn’t even see.  So we had free drinks there.  The next place we went one of my cousin’s was bartender, we had free drinks there.  So that money really spread a long way.  It was like a parade!

So then my Uncle Alfred?  My Uncle Al lived in an apartment with his wife Pat, and she said, “Why don’t youse all come to my house and I’ll make coffee and I’ve got stuff for a sandwich”.  So we did.  But then we went in her closet, and we picked out some clothes, and we had a style show.  We got home, I think, about four o’clock in the morning.  We had a lot of good times in our day!

Loris enjoying herself.


President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964)

I just found out I’m related to President Herbert C. Hoover through my great-grandma Edith Edna Curtis.  He’s my 3rd cousin 4x removed.  Very basically, John M Hoover is my 6x great-grandfather and he’s Herbert Hoover’s great-great grandfather:

Herbert Clark Hoover (1874 – 1964)
Jesse Clark Hoover (1846 – 1880) Father of Herbert Clark
Eli Hoover (1820 – 1892) Father of Jesse Clark
Jesse Hoover (1799 – 1856) Father of Eli
John M Hoover (1760 – 1831) Father of Jesse
Catherine Hoover (1787 – 1856) Daughter of John M
Daniel L Curtis (1814 – 1885) Son of Catherine
Harvey Hoover Curtis (1844 – 1917) Son of Daniel L
Florien Herburt Curtis (1875 – 1952) Son of Harvey Hoover
Edith Edna Curtis (1903 – 1989) Daughter of Florien Herburt
Lloyd Oscar Krueger (1921 – 2010) Son of Edith Edna
Ellen Kay Krueger (1945 – ) Daughter of Lloyd Oscar
Charles Frederick Thomas son of Ellen Kay

Herbert Hoover, my 3rd cousin 4x removed

The Hoover line goes back through my 6x great-grandparents John M Hoover (1760-1831) and Sarah Burkhart (Burkett) (1767-1843):

John Hoover’s parents were Andreas Huber (1723-1794), who was from Ellerstadt, Germany, and Anna Margaretha Pfautz (1725-1798), who was from the Neckar Valley in Wurtzburg, Bavaria.  They came to the US in the 1720’s, which is quite a bit before the rest of my German/Prussian ancestors got here.


Krueger Family Gathering – 1950

In the spirit of the many “lots of people” photos I’ve been posting lately, here is one courtesy of Tom and Virginia Krueger.  It’s a Krueger family gathering taken about 1950, judging from the ages of the folks in it.

Krueger family gathering c1950

Back row (l to r): Kay Dustin, Joan Rae Krueger, Ed Ronek, Loris Voigt Dustin, Grant Ronek, Agnes Krueger Passow, Dorothy Raduchel Ronek (married to Grant)

Front row (l to r): Norma Krueger Ronek, Marion Madden (Lloyd’s wife), Bill Passow, Harry Dustin, Bud Madden, Unknown (between Bud and Elsie), Elsie Krueger Madden.

Tom Krueger is kneeling in the very front.


Called To Serve

I hope I can be forgiven for a small meta-comment this morning.  My cousin Jeannie sent me this, and it does such a good job of summing up the passion for genealogy that I had to share it.  I wanted to put this up here to remind myself and others why we do this crazy thing.