Stadem Reunion 1997, in Three Parts



Part I: Stadem Reunion,

July 4th Weekend, 1997,

Part II, Bryant Dakotan Article on the Reunion of 1997,

Part III: Minutes of Stadem Reunion Meeting, 1997

Part I:

Thank you to all who attended the 1997 Stadem Reunion. Thinking about all that took place makes one realize that the reunion was worthwhile and, hopefully, left some lasting impressions. While leading a FCA devotion shortly after our reunion, Lee [Leroy, son of Alfred and Bergit] Stadem related to those in attendance how we had honored the family members who had fought for freedom. One listener was both impressed and saddened as he realized his gathered family had not even spoken of the reason for celebrating the 4th of July. All in all the weather cooperated beautifully this year, with the exception of the rain on the extra day which cancelled our work day. Next year's reunion will again be held over the 4th of July, so we can hope for more beautiful weather. (The complete write-up about the reunion is included in the following pages).


Thank you to all who brought recipes. As an encouragement to all of you I am printing the names of the recipes already turned in. We need many more.

Pearl Ginther: Fresh Raspberry pie, Mock Apple pie, Hobo bread, Raisin Banana muffins, Impossible Pie.

Shirley Stadem Wellington: Beans w/pork, Refriderator rolls, Cole slaw, Rhubarb cream pie, Pie crust, Queen of all Puddings.

Sarah (Mrs. Sever) Stadem: String bean pickles, Dumplings, Oven backed custard, Donuts, Raisin Cookies, Goulash, Pumpkin pie.

Maxine Stadem Haugom: Cinnamon rolls, Frozen fruit mix, Ice cream dessert, Banana cake, Caramel frosting, Crunch bars, Oatmeal crispies, Caramel marshmallows, Fudge.

Helen Stadem VanSickle: Rhubarb cream pie, Sausage bean chowder, Date nut squares, Refrigerator ginger snaps, Divinity, Quick coffee ring.

Linda VanSickle Page: Summer tuna salad, Italian meatballs.

Marcia VanSickle: Oyster cracker snack, Sugar cookies, Mock apple pie, Sausage balls.

Molly Wellingrton Greenfield: Calico beans, No back cookies, Chow mein.

Ruth Harrington: Carrot Loaf, Patriotic pie.

Bergit Stadem: Ice Box Cake, Corn pudding, Rhubarb dessert, Orange cake, Date cake, Pancakes & Syrup.

Estelle Rangen: Almond Roca Candy.

Rachel (Svanoe) Kristine: Yogi Tea.

Eloise Hefty: Lefse, Flat Brod, Kringla, Club or Kumla, Fattigman, plus other favorites such as Super Duper Potatoes, Carrot Casserole, Southern Beans, Pizza, Mexican Corn Bread, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Banana Split Ice Cream Dessert, Mandarin Salad, Freezing Corn Off the Cob, Sauces for Pork Chips, and more.

I hope this helps you think about your family favorites. Preparing a Family Cookbook is a big job and getting the recipes is the hardest part. Judith Ginther sent information about a cookbook printing company located in Nebraska. Thanks.

A successful cookbook includes most of your favorite recipes, one you can go to and be sure it will have the one you are looking for. So, please send in the ones you use.


Received a note and some postage stamps from Russ & Hazel Zakariasen. They hope to attend the reunion some year. This year they were on a riverboat cruise in Russia at the time of our reunion. Hazel is the daughter of Caroline Stadem McLeod, who was a sister of Alfred Stadem. Meanwhile they enjoy hearing about these "remarkable events." Thanks.

Thanks also to John & Jody Brown for the notes and encouraging messages. It is good to have contact with you out there. Hope to see you next year.

Thank you, MYRTLE, for the great job of coffee and tea maker. The aroma from the spice tea always made the kitchen smell so wonderful. Thanks to BERNICE for the banners and other helps for program & theme ideas. Thanks to all program participants. I, for one, enjoyed this year's reunion very much. Thanks MIM for all your work on the rummage sale. We all will look forward to seeing the contents of the boxes that arrived the day after the reunion, or should we say early for the next reunion!

Thanks to all who have submitted recipes. It looks like the cookbook project will be in progress a while yet. None of us has enough time to do everything on our lists. Would it work for you to make a list of the names of the recipes you would like to submit?

THANKS to Estelle Rangen for the envelope that arrive yesterday. It included some newsworthy items, a check for postage, a recipe of "Mama's," and copies of several of her letters to their family. (I started this newsletter in September and it was 90% complete in early October, but I knew there was a baby due Oct. 31, so decided to wait for the news, then Estelle's letter arrived. What encouragement!!)

While waiting for news, my window of opportunity for getting g this in the mail vanished. I began preparing for Thanksgiving (38 invited), then a brunch for our landlords (18), and now Christmas. I am sorry you are receiving such old news.


LEE STADEM has scheduled two scrape and paint days at the Plain View Farm. They will be Friday and Saturday, June 12 & 13, 1998. We will try to complete the Heritage House and Spisehutte. Please bring scrapers, brushes and white paint. Also we hope the windows will have been purchased by then and can be installed that day also. Those of you who live close and are able to come and help, please mark your calendars and reserve the time.


A volunteer is needed to make or have made a sign for the Spisehutte. This is the garage which we have been using as our meal headquarters. The sign could be the same as the one donated by John Brown (routed letters on wood), or something of the choice of the volunteer.

RUTH HARRINGTON arrived with HANS & ALIDA at the Thanksgiving Day gathering at the RON & ELOISE HELFTY's home. She expected to join only a few others but found a sit-down dinner for 36. At the end of the day Ruth submitted these verses and said: "Trust Elolse will put this in the Stadem Samtaleran."


Today at Ron & Eloise Hefty farm & "beautiful" home I'd like to say

On behalf of the 36 gathered on Thanksgiving Day

The biggest Thank You for all you've done,

For filling our stomachs and truly our hearts have won,

And God's blessings for the Joy and all the fun.


Thank you for your kind words, Ruth. We all felt like the little boy spoken of here, "I wish people were made without ribs," my little nephew announced after eating a big dinner and extra helping of dessert. "Think how much more my stomach would hold!"

Love and God's Blessings to all of you. Eloise Hefty (Call with news, we'll talk fast! Or send news via the business e-mail at Just start the message Dear Eloise and it will be printed and given to me (received two from a Spilde cousin).


Part II:

"Stadem Family Celebrates July 4 Weekend,"

Bryant Dakotan,

by Rennard Svanoe, Stadem Grandson

of Alfred and Bergit Stadem, Plain View Farm

Eight states were represented by descendants and friends of Alfred and Bessie [Bergit] Stadem who gathered for the annual family reunion at the old farm homestead 5 miles northwest of Bryant over the 4th of July weekend.

The farm home is owned by Mrs. Tom (Ruth) Harrington of Sherwood, North Dakota [bequeathed to her by her late husband Tom Harrington who bought the farmstead and opened it up to the Stadem families for reunions and visits] and occupies 11 acres out of the original acres farmed by the Stadems [originally owned by Berent Martin Stadem, Alfred's uncle, then sold to him].

Among the 66 persons who attended were seven of the eight surviving children of the Stadems. The eighth member is daughter Cora Taylor of Sao Paulo, Brazil, a missionary of the New Tribes Mission.

A sale of clothes contributed by granddaughter Miriam Rinderknecht of Park City, Utah, was held to raise funds for Mrs. Taylor's family and mission.

The reunion commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the tragic deaths of the ninth member of the Stadem family, Arthur [Donald Stadem], who with his sister Pearl's husband, Robert Ginther, was killed in a plane crash near Baltic, South Dakota on January 9, 1947.

Reminiscences by his widow and written tributes by a son of Robert Ginther, Ronald, both of Puyallup, Washington, continued the reflections ont he event begun at last years's reunion by Hans Spilde, husband of Alida, the Stadem's fifth child.

Ronald Ginther had also prepared ten stories of events from the extended family's past, recorded by family members during the reunion on videotape filmed by Kalthy Spilde, wife of grandson Dan Spilde of St. Paul, Minnesota. [now in 2019 it will be digitized and made available at least on disc or by downloading from the internet website.]

Following the theme "Freedom: God's Gift," the reunion gathering celebrated Independence Day by witnessing the parade in Bryant, as well as by forming a procession around the farmyard.

{For the family military record, the Stadems in the First Wave missed the Revolutionary War by arriving in 1793, and regarding the Civil War the Second Wave Stadems of Sjur and Oline and Knud and his family arrived in 1866 and 1857 respectively. It is not known so far if any of Knud's family participated in the Civil War, as they arrived in time, but may have been too young in 1860, with the age restriction of 18 years old, not including drummer boys who wee 16 and even as young as 11 years old!--Ed.]

The procession honored sixteen family members who have served in the armed forces, including three brothers of Mr. Alfred Stadem who served in World War I [Sever Stadem being one his full brother, the other two were step brothers].

Other family members served in World War II (3), in Viet Nam (9), and in the Gulf War (1). The procession followed the long flag lined driveway, and visited memorial trees and crosses placed in memory of five family members who passed away in the 1990s.

Five veteran family members have passed away, and five of the surviving veterans were present this year. Del Von Schaefer [who has since passed away in 2018, see Memorial Page] of Monterey Bay, CA shared his memories of service in Viet Nam in the 60's in an evening gathering of the family.

[Update: A requiem for Marc Svanoe has been published in the March Samtaleran, authored by his father, Rennard Svanoe]. Memories of ancestors recalled in family meetings were the formation of a community band of Alfred Stadem in the 30's and the promotion of mission work in Mexico in the 50's now carried on by the Latin American Lutheran Mission of Laredo, TX.

A slide presentation of current annual work projects in Mexico was given by grandson Rennard Svanoe of Madison, WI. Stadem daughter Estelle Rangen of Ft. Shaw, Montana, recalled the fondness of the Stadems for the music of John Philip Sousa, whose music was played by the community band [organized by Alfred Stadem].

Mrs. Rangen gave a retrospective of Mr. Sousa's impact on American popular music culture on the occasion of his best-loved compolsition, "Stars and Stripes Forever" (1897), [just five years after that Marie Stadem, mother of Alfred Stadem, passed away at age 25, leaving Peder Stadem her husband and three small children to carry on in the soddie, though the grandparent, Sjur and Oline, no doubt were a great help to Peder with the children..].

A family group presented special music "America the Beautiful" at the Sunday service At our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bryant on July 6, together with a song in both Norwegian and English, "Day by Day Thy Mercies Attend me," sung by a quartet of grandchildren, Peter and Tom Stadem and their wives Kari and Judy, all of Blomkest, MN. A survey of favorite songs of family members was conducted during the four day reunion in preparation for a family song book to be prepared for future gatherings [a songbook compiled by Rennard and Grace Svanoe, later given out to family and friends].

The flooding of a road south of the Stadem farm required the detour of an annual tour on foot to see a buffalo ring [a part once of the original Plain View Farm to be, owned by Berent Martin Stadem, uncle to Alfred Stadem who bought 80 acres and named it Plain View Farm].where the prairie still shows the depression caused by buffalo who walked around in protecting their young gathered there at night [from the wolves].

[As the mature buffalo walked in a circle round the young, keeping the surrounding pack of wolves at bay, part of the ground was compacted by these 1,000 pound buffalos and pushed down, another part, where the young ones huddled together, was raised up, creating a mound in the center and a depressed or lower ring around it, sort of like a protective moat round a castle!]. Greatgrandchildren seeded the flooded area with minnows in hopes of mature fish to catch in the future.

Births of three infants were noted: McKayla Ellen Crabtree, Emily Grace Lundgren and Ami Christenson. Two marriages occurred in the last year to family members. Rennard and Grace Schubert, both of Madison, WI, and Kristin Brown and Javiar Pujals, both of Chicago, IL. [churches represented are Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, New Age, former ALC Lutheran, and, with Charlie Hay, Mormon, which shows amazing diversity of belief systems in the generation after Alfred and Begit.]

The death of a former reunion attendee, Charlie Hay, 12 years old, of Park City, Utah, was commemorated in a tribute by Miriam Rinderknecht, mother of Charlie's friend Chad, also of Park City.

Charlie's story of courage and self-giving in his six year struggle with cancer was carried by national television's "Inside Edition" and "20/20" as well as local media in the Salt Lake City, Utah area during the past year.

The Faces of Courage Foundation has been established in his memory by his parents to support the families of children with terminal illness in their grief through the protection of videos.

The reunion elected new officers: Peter Stadem of Blomkest, MN-President; Bernie Iserman of Onamia, MN, Vice-President; and Naomi Iserman, also of Onamia, Secretary [and married to Bernie Iserman]. Ongoing treasurer, Eloise Hefty of Baltic, South Dakota, and outgoing president and property caretakers Leroy and Elizabeth Stadem of Sioux Falls were thanked for their service

The photographer for the family picture was Lisa Virchow [shown in the Dakotan article] and the caterer for meals was Mary Ward of the Ward's Store in Bryant [a historic Bryant business patronized by Alfred and Bergit Stadem and family in its days as a general store, which now is a convenience store and bar and motel in 2019].

Submitted by Rennard and Grace Svanoe [with some slight bracketed emendations by Editor Ron Ginther 2019]


Please go to Part III of this medley of the grand 1997 Reunion:

Part III, Stadem Reunion 1997, Minutes and Updates of Family Events and Increases

Plain View Farm Home Pages: The Introductory (or Front Door)

Rangen Central

Stadem Families Saga Continues

Stadem Families Master Photo Album

New Main Linking Page

Plain View Heritage Farm Roadmap Directory

(c) 2019, Butterfly Productions, All Rights Reserved