Stadem Reunion 1997, in Three Parts



Part III:



July 5, 1997

President Lee Stadem [youngest offspring of Alfred and Bergit Stadem] called the meeting to order. Be Schaefer gave the opening prayer. The minutes of the previous year's meeting were read and approved upon motion and seconded by Pete Stadem and Mim Rinderknecht respecitvely. The treasurer's report of the previous year was mailed to all members. A summary of the current year was given, and the final report will be mailed.

The Barn Committee reported that Lorin Ginther is planning to prepare site plans of the farm, showing how it was in the past and also including the buildings pf the present. He needs measurements of distance between buildings and dimensions of buildings. The information will be sent by Lee Stadem [2019 Note to Lorin, please send to Ron for the Plain View Farm archives, they will be copied and laminated for preservation and use.--Ed.].

A discussion was held regarding the holding of reunions every year. Some felt the attendance would be greater if the reunions were held every other year. Some felt the attendance would be greater if the reunions were held every other year [has this actually happened? Has the switching to biannual reunions actually slowed the preservation and rebuilding and enhancement of the farm rather than facilitated the farm and increased the attendance at the remaining reunions? That should be studied and made known if it has been a bad policy rather than good for the farm and the activities there. I was ambivalent about it, as the cost in time off from work plus the travel expenses and with the bills still needing to be paid monthly, it was very difficult for me and no doubt some others to go to a reunion, particularly those of us who had to travel over 1700 miles one way. Most Stadems had it far easier, residing within a radius of a hundred to several hundred miles in South Dakota and Minnesota principally. Our Taylor Family missionaries faced far greater distances, coming from Brazil and Columbia, and they could leave only on furloughs or in emergencies for medical care in the U.S.--Ed.].

Chad R. [from Park City, Utah] said that since he lives so far away he is very happy to see his relatives every year. We love you for that Chad!! A suggestion was made to hold major reunions bi-annually (or even very third year) and mini reunions in the off years. It was mentioned that at other reunions, families bring pot luck food for one day's meals. Other suggestions were each family responsible for all of their own meals, or eat one meal at a restaurant (Watertown?), or only one community meal per day, or have volunteer families purchase and prepare the food for one meal, but get paid for the groceries (This would lighten the load of the organizing committee.) One of the major problems is lack of refrigerator storage space. Another suggestion was to have a reunion at the farm one year and another year at a place such as a camp or a hotel. (In off years money would be needed for mowing, etc. at the farm.)

Pete and Kari Stadem offered to do the organization for the next reunion, but they would assign the work at the reunion to others.

[Note: All this practical-minded human reasoning was good at a certain level for maintenance, seeking to lighten the load of the upkeep of the farm and the operation of the reunions, annual or bi-annual, yet no vision for future outreach was apparent in the statements for the continuance on the farm of the vibrant evangelistic ministry of Alfred and Bergit to the community in spiritual ways, and ministry to the poor, and ministry to each other, which is a peculiar lack of these originally ministry-oriented Stadem families and points to a decline or lack of vision, and where vision is lacking, the people perish spiritually, the Word of God warns us. A signal lack of vision for ministry on the farm explains its own decline in so many ways for so many years, and why the slowness of improvements and the continuing unspectacular attendances at reunions, not to mention the dropping away of whole families such as the Stadems of Watertown over the years so that they no longer attend what seems to be only the private property of the five Leroy Stadem families who came into actual co-ownership eventually after the passing of owner Ruth Harrington-- Ed.].

After further discussion Kari Stadem moved that in even numbered years reunions would continue to be held as they have been organized, and in odd numbered years the house and farm would be open for a week-end. Each family attending would be responsible for all their own needs. There could be one organized meal. There would not be a tent or any planned programs. Motion seconded by Ruth Harrington. Motion carried. [In 2019's vantage point, I look back and see, and felt at the time, this was misguided and wrong counsel, but kept silent, for farm owner Aunt Ruth expressed her decision that there be no building of anything on the farm so that if it came to selling it there would be no new buildings that would impede the sale possibly. I was shocked at this, but no one else gave a single sign of disappointment in her decision, nor offered that we all take over the governance and operation and taxes of the property in a foundation, which could relieve her aging body and mind of the responsibility so that she could just enjoy it without any expense or trouble to her. Not seeing anyone offer any such things, I kept silent, which was a big mistake on my part. I will never forget Aunt Ruth's facial expression of joyless endurance as she expressed her decision, and the sinking of my own heart hearing her. To others it may have been heard with relief, but to me it was a severe disappointment and a loss that remains a great sadness in my heart to this very day, due to what I see as the great blessings we might have had if we had stepped resolutely forward in faith in 1997 and not shrunk back.-- Ed.]

The following officers were elected for One Year of Leadership: Pete Stadem, Chm.; Bernie Iserman, VP; Naomi Iserman, Secretary, Eloise Hefty, Treasurer. Motion carried.

Following discussion, Chad Rinderknecht moved that the next reunion be held over the July 4th week-end in 1998. Second by Ruth Harrington. Motion carried.

Ruth Harrington was thanked for her monetary expense of maintaining the farm [her taxes yearly were $3,000 she said, which to me seems excessive even now in 2018 as the acreage was only about 13 acres that included very old buildings. and why so high? Was it because it was not a foundation-run charity, which might have defrayed or reduced the taxes considerably on it, but a private property? No one present at the meeting seemed to question her about the finances nor question the tax rate,--whether it was too high, or was low or something reasonable, nor did anyone suggest a foundation established by the families for the upkeep and ownership of the farm for the purposes of heritage preservation and sharing our traditional hospitality and Gospel ministry with the community year round instead of merely continuing the reunions every other year..--Ed].

Victor Svanoe was thanked for the extensive and well-done tree trimming work carried out during the reunion. [No one else since then consistently carried on his work, however, leading to dangerous trees full of dead branches and even whole dead limbs and dead trunks as well, and the loss of the fruit bearing trees. Pertaining to fruit trees, I had the privilege of helping Tanya, wife of Steve Stadem, harvest the aged and spindly crabtree, and climbed up and shook the tree to get the tiny crabs for her jelly making.--Ed.]

(Tom Stadem hauled the branches removed by Victor Svanoe, to the ever growing brush pile!)

[Sometime during the reunion that conspicuous and worrisome monster brush pile was dealt with conclusively. The burning of the enormous, high brush pile itself was opposed, but the Stadems asked no permission this time of Aunt Ruth and did it anyway to get rid of it, and it proved a Viking-style spectacle, indeed, with flames shooting high up into the sky off the 20-30 foot high pile of limbs and stumps and old rotten boards from the barn! We should have dressed in old Viking costumes and gear, and whooped and hollered and filmed it, and it would have been a spectacle that might well have gone and captured national attention!--Ed.]

The topic of the old church in Bryant was brought up [Ron Ginther was writing to the pastor of Bryant Lutheran's Our Redeemer Church as to the possible moving of it to Plain View Farm as his mother Pearl expressed her desire for a chapel at Plain View Farm.]. It is owned by "Cowboy" McCarthy. The floor is in poor shape. It would be v ery costly to repair and move.

Work will continue on the replacement of the windows in the farmhouse. The first building to be painted on Monday will be the Heritage House [which Ron Ginther since asked Steve Stadem, who has become a co-owner of PVF, as to the making of it into a chapel, but nothing has come of that idea since 2011 when he spoke to Steve. Hopefully, it will still be done as the Heritage House would make a beautiful, small chapel with not much alteration..--Ed.]

Upon motion by Estelle Rangen the meeting was adjourned.

Eloise Hefty, Sec./Treas.


BALANCE FOLLOWING 1996 REUNION-------------------------------------------------------$756.27


Collections for Tent-------------------------------------------$180.00

Collections for Meals------------------------------------------$786.25

Extra Donation s for general expenses-------------------- $261.50

Total Income for 1997 Reunion------------------------------------------------------------------$1,227.75


Attorney Opinion on Foundation [for new barn]----------$26.50

Repair for mowers---------------------------------------------$184.23

Mowing expense and mice control--------------------------$114.90


Rental of Tent---------------------------------------------------$165.00

Catered Meals---------------------------------------------------$396.90

Groceries purchased by Liz & Eloise-------------------------$192.37

Total Expenses for 1997 Reunion-------------------------------------------------------------$1.089.90


Reunion and Current Expense Fund------------------------------------------------------------- $894.12

Foundation Fund [for new barn facility]---------------------------------------------------------$750.00

Previous Balance $700.00 Add $50.00 (Myrtle Svanoe

Total Amount to Bank Account--------------------------------------------------------------------$$1,644.12

[Note about the budget: "Mice control"--was that a hired cat or just a lot of mouse traps? As for the small amounts involved in this budget, perhaps it served for a reunion held every year or even every other year, but it could not serve for anything more than that. Even after the barn project began, the nickle-and-dime-ing continued, a few giving sacrificially but most not giving anything and some giving modest amounts that did not reflect their incomes or net worth at all. How to stimulate everyone to give more in regard to the largeness of the projects? No fund drives ever were discussed or, if mentioned as a possibility, were ever implemented. No grants sought either. Only one exception: Pearl Ginther and Ron her son were given a grant for the project they mentioned to the Mr. Sebring, the CEO of Morrells, a national meat packing corporation that had plants in South Dakota as well as in other states. After hearing about it from both Pearl and her son, Mr. Sebring was so impressed he gave $1,000 to the heritage barn project, with no strings attached!--Ed.]

NEW ADDRESSES OR PHONE NUMBERS [no longer current in 2018]


(3) Amani Marie Christenson, new daughter of Colette & Michael Christenson, born prior to 1997 reunion (sorry I didn't have the date.)

(8) Hannah Grace Stadem, new daughter of Tom & Judy Stadem, born 11-6-97


Ron & Eloise Hefty returned from a short trip to Germany and France at the end of September. Ron was awarded the trip through his business with BASF, a German company located near Manheim. Everything was very interesting, although three days in Paris was not enough. If only Europe were closer and the airline flight shorter!

BRENT RANGEN, son of Plaul & Tess Rangen, is in his first year at the University of Mary, Bismarck, NC. he received a scholarlship in track & crioss-country.

Emily Swenson, daughter of Dave & Janelle, is in her second year at the Fergus Falls Community College, and also in her second year of employment at Lutheran Social Services in Fergus Falls, MN.

The SWENSON and CRABTREE families, all of Fergus Falls, took in the Minnesota Timberwolves vs. the Charlotte Hornets basketball game on October 24, 1997 which was played at the Fargodome. Ticketing and planning were completed 2 months ago, thus assuring lots of anticipation, and great fun.

In mid-October the KOSLOWSKY and McMAHON families, all of California, drove and flew to Hoffman Estates, Illinois to visit KARLA & RICHARD BANDY family in their newly purchased home. Chloe & Gary drove and visited relatives along the way.

RUSS SCHAEFER took his annual fall trip, speaking at conferences and visiting relatives in Wisconsin, while wife BE remained at home (easier than traveling), also the pets needed care! And BE we understand your legs are giving you a lot of pain, making it hard to walik. I feel sorry for you and hope there is relief soon for you, constant pain is debilitating.

CONGRATULATIONS...JUDITH GINTHER received her Masters degree in Education from High Line Community College on June 15, 1997.

PRAISE GOD...ESTELLE RANGEN continues to have good reports on all her tests, which occur every three months, following her surgery on Mary 31, 1997. At that time she had a malignant tumor removed from her colon, had her gallbladder removed, had a partial hysterectomy, and also had a liver biopsy. (And to think Estelle was able to be at the July reunion!) [Evidently, the one thing they could not remove was her triumphant spirit, her love of Jesus, her love of people, and her love of fun and fellowship!--Ed.]

JOE RANGEN celebrated his 80th birthday and tries to eat healthy and get proper exercise by walking after the mail [Was it the mail carried by the Pony Express? Then he was getting plenty of exercise and fresh air!--Ed.].

MIM RINDERKNECHT informed the Rangens that $343.50 was gathered at the Reunion [from her rummage sale on the farm] for [Stadem missionary with the New Tribes Mission] Cora Taylor in Brazil. She also said that the TV program Baywatch had an episode in Oct. on Charlie Hays. Chad was invited along with Charlie's family to fly to LA for the premier. She also would like to locate the videotape of Del Von Schaefer speaking [about his harrowing experiences of being marooned and left behind in a combat zone in Viet Nam] at the reunion. And I would want it too to digitize for the Plain View Farm heritage archives.--Ed.]

RUTH HARRINGTON purchased a home in Sioux Falls and moved from ND in September with the help of LEE STADEM. She now is only 8 blocks from HANS & ALIDA and sees and talks to them every day.

PEARL GINTHER celebrated her 88th Birthday in September. The Lutheran Adults Fun & Fellowship (LAFF) surprised her with a planned Western-style Barbeque Steak Night with all the birthday trimmings. Son LORIN took charge as a Cowboy! The family had other planned parties in their homes. Quite a celebration for our oldest "Stadem Sister/Aunt".


CONCLUDING NOTE FROM THE EDITOR OFTHIS SERIES: Hope you enjoyed this banquet or smorgasbord of many things of intertest presented in these three parts depicting the momentous Reunion of 1997! All mistakes are my own, and we trust you will take everything in the spirit of Christian love and really come out VIGOROUSLY in support anew for the wonderful, God-inspired inheritance we are highly privileged to imbibe and share as Stadem Descendants! You cannot guess how much enjoyment and fun I have had sharing these things with you! That is my reward, and God bless you richly too!--Editor, Ron Ginther, February 21, 2019, Bonney Lake, Washington.

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

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