Neighbors once carried the story of the 1971 blizzard which caught Thomas and Colleen Witte on the highway near Tower City, N.D. Happily, they made it safely to a Tower City cafe, from which a pastor and his wife took them and their two young daughters to their home to spend the night.
But the Wittes, now of Sugar Land, Texas, couldn’t remember that family’s name, so they wrote Neighbors, hoping its readers could provide it.
Several of you responded.
“I don’t know for certain, but my guess is they were Pastor Arthur Meether and his wife, from St. Paul’s Lutheran,” Tom Berg, formerly of Tower City and now of Rapid City, S.D., writes. “Both (of the Meesters) are now deceased.”
Linda Thorson, Edinburg, N.D., agrees. She writes that she sent the column about this to her husband’s cousin, the Rev. Leighton Carlson, Windsor Heights, Iowa, as he once was a pastor in Tower City.
Lelghton wrote Linda and her husband Lowell that “The pastor at Tower City at that time would have been Dr. Arthur Meether. His wife was Marion Meether.
“The Lutheran parsonage was the only parsonage in Tower City, which was where we lived — so that must have been the one they stayed in.
“I Googled the Meethers and discovered that he died in 2016 and she died in 2002. But their daughters, Mrs. Christine Tungseth and Mrs. Charlotte Rekken, both live in Fergus Falls, Minn. They graduated from Tower City High School in 1974 and 1972, respectively, so they would have been teenagers at home when this happened.”
Karen Tabor, Buffalo, N.D., adds to this, writing that Dr. Meether was serving both the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Tower City and the Buffalo Lutheran Church in 1971, and he and his wife Marion lived in the parsonage near the Tower City church.
“Unfortunately, they are both gone now,” Karen writes, “but that’s who the Wittes were looking for in your column.
“That may have been the same blizzard when he (Pastor Meether) risked a trip to Buffalo to baptize our son in our home,” Karen says. “Church was canceled. But he drove 6 miles before the road was closed because he knew we had family here to witness the baptism.
“He wouldn’t even stay an extra few minutes for coffee because he knew it was dangerous to be on the road as conditions deteriorated.
“He was a selfless and wonderful man, and that baptism will always leave an indelible memory for our family.”
Well, Neighbors passed on this information to the Wittes. Thomas responded with an email saying, “It amazes me that an answer came so soon. What a day and age of rapid communications we live in!
“I looked at a picture of the church and parsonage on Google Maps and it is the same place we went.
“I remember that my wife was pregnant with our third daughter April at the time.
“Even though Dr. Meether and Marion are no longer in this world,” Thomas writes, “I hope the daughters hear or are reminded of the kindness that was shown to us that night and know how much we appreciated it.
“Thanks to all of you for your help in reminding us of the Meethers’ names.”
Well, as the above story shows, Neighbors’ readers really come through when someone has a question. So here’s another question for you.
It concerns the late Fred Schlanser, who was known for this work in construction in Fargo.
But during World War II, he was in the Navy Seabees. And now his niece is trying to learn more about this.
Terryl (Tvedten) Wharton, Gainesville, Ga., writes Neighbors that she’s researching her uncle’s military service.
“I think he was in a battalion that worked construction in Trinidad, Port of Spain,” she writes.
“When his mother, Harriet Schlanser, was terminally ill in 1942, someone, maybe the Red Cross, attempted to locate Fred.
“Using Ancestry Military on the web, I found he was listed as being on the A.T. Evangeline sailing from Trinidad to the port of New Orleans on April 14, 1942.
“I am speculating that Fred’s experiences with the Seabees helped to develop the skills and style he used years later in Fargo construction projects with Northern Improvement and Master Construction, and with protecting Fargo from floods.
“Maybe there were other Fargo fellows in the Seabees,” Terryl suggests.
Can someone tell her more about Fred’s Seabee service? Let Neighbors know.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.