Part I, "Stadem Reunion Held, 1996, in Bryant Dakotan Paper;

Part II, Samtaleran Issue about Stadem Reunion 1996;

Part III, Bernice Schaefer's Letter about Stadem Reunion 1996


Part I: "Stadem Reunion Held",


June 5, 1996

A focus on children highlighted the annual Stadem "Spise Hutte" Reunion Hall north of Bryant on Mary 24-27.

The theme "Children, God's Heritage Gift" was carried out in songs, talks and communications under sub-themes for each of the four days.

This was the tenth consecutive year of gatherings for the extended family of the late Alfred and Bessie [Bergit] Stadem. The family raised nine children in a home built in 1919, which still holds the reunion.

Sixty-four were in attendance including descendants from 10 states. Twelve participated for the first time.

Rain, wind and cold ruled out the use of a tent erected for the occasion, as well as games and sports planned for the well-trimmed farm yard.

Between showers, attempts were made at frisbee gold, midnight soccer, a marshmallow roast, fireworks and even an aborted kite flying.

A yard sale give away for family members was conducted on the front porch by Mim Rinderknecht from Park City, Utah.

Besides the farmhouse, participants used tents, camping trailers, house trailers, a bed and breakfast and motels for sleeping accommodations.

Families took their turns at meal serving, clean-up and devotions.

Of the nine children, the eight who survive were all present except Cora Taylor, who serves as a foreign missionary in Brazil. Two letters from the Taylor family were received and read at the gathering.

Four newborns in the family during the past year were commemorated, including three from the family of Leroy Stadem, youngest of the Stadem children.

The 60th birthday of the second oldest of the 37 Stadem grandchildren, Gloria Ginther Brown, from Duluth, Georgia, was noted with songs, candles, tributes, a banner and a video specially prepared by her brother Jerry Ginther of Tacoma, Washington.

Other videos shown included clips of television newscasts and the national "Inside Edition" program, featuring eleven year old Charlie Hays from Park City, Utah, engaged in a five year bout with cancer.

Charlie attended last year's reunion with his friend Chad Rinderknecht and impressed everyone with his serenity and confident faith.

This year's video portrayed Charlie and the fulfillment of his wish to live on the beach in Malibu,California. Charlie wants to spend his last days at Malibu because he likes to watch the dolphins play and be lulled to sleep by the breakers.

Other videos were shown on the land of Norway and on the life and ministry of family member Tim Stadem, who has recently moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico and was unable to be in attendance.

A poem for the reunion was composed and read by Ronald Ginther from Washington, entitled "What Forbears Knew: A view of the Stadem Heritage."

Messages and devotions were presented by family membes and by the Reverend Tom Stenzel of Sherwood, ND, together with his wife Esther. Tom [Stenzel] is a friend of Ruth Harrington, current owner of the Stadem farm home.

A presentation was made to Ruth Harrington of a sign by John Brown which read "Stadem Heritage House" which will be mounted on the garage which served as a temporary home prior to the completion of the farm home in 1919.

The contents of the building were organized by Victor Svanoe from Minneapolis, for ease of viewing by reunion attendees [if I recall rightly, he had organized everything very well. It has since served several times for the silent auctions, and the floor was made concrete, replacing the wooden one that the woodchucks demolished. This small garage or shed-like structure sheltered the Stadem family of Alfred and Bergit's while the house was constructed in 1918-1919! My mother recalled it to me a number of times, and had the crib from it she had slept in as a baby in Canton, SD, until it was lost when she entrusted it to a Washington State Lutheran camp counsellor where she worked as a cook many years later, who thought a friend of his made off with it and then couldn't be reached by phone! it was ornamental metal and painted white and obviously a unique antique.--Ed.].

A committee [as of Jan 31, 2019, that committee formed and deliberated 23 years ago, and the barn is still not finished due to lack of funding, not for lack of expertise and builders who can do the job! Grandpa, who built the previous barn for animals, not people, did a much, much faster job, and he was mainly the only one working on it and funding it, so it shows what faith can do in a man committed to God's will and the well-being of his family and his livestock too!--Editor] was formed to study and present options for the future of the barn which has stood on the place since it was constructed in the early 1940s.

Artistic and photographic representations of the barn were solicted for possible use in fundraising beginning in 1997.

Current officers were reelected including Leroy Stadem from Sioux Falls as president, Steve Stadem from Bemidji, MN as vice president, and Eloise Hefty from Baltic, SD as Secretary-Treasurer.

As in past years, the Stadem family contributed special music to the Sunday morning service at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bryant.

Following their theme, songs presented included "Children of the Heavenly Father", "I Will Call Upon the Lord" and "Jesus Loves Me."

Pastor and Mrs. Fred Rosin were guests at the reunion on Sunday evening.

Amy Tawzer and Mary Ward of Ward's Store in Bryant catered delicious meals for the event.


Part II:

May 24-27 Stadem Reunion 1996 in Samtaleran, March 1996


March 1996,


To Be Held on Plain View Farm, Bryant, SD

Friday, May 24-27,

General Theme: "Children--God's Heritage Gift"

Dear Relatives:

Another year has passed and there are signs that spring will arrive in the Upper Plains States! After the cold spells we have had it, will be none too soon. All areas seem to have been hit with unusual weather this winter. The east has had snowstorm upon snowstorm, the west has had downpours of rain, and many temperature records have been broken in all parts of the country. It must be the time to get together and thank God for His goodness and mercy.

Why do we need to hold a Stadem reunion? As the generations get farther removed from Alfred and Bergit Stadem, this question is bound to be asked. Our ancestors have given us many things, most of which we had no choice but to receive. They gave us many of our physical characteristics, many of our interests and abilities, and our cultural heritage. All we have to do is look at the red hair in several branches to realize we have connections. Every person needs to know who he/she is before they can understand their purpose and set the goals for their life. Besides being a Stadem relative e the most important thing we can know about ourselves is that we are also a child of God.

This year our reunion focus is directed toward the future by emphasizing our CHILDREN. The daily themes bear this out. Friday, "Let the Children Come," based on Luke 18:16. Saturday, "Become Like Children," Matt. 18:3. Sunday, "Give Good Gifts to Your Children," Luke 11:13. Monday, "Children, Abide in Him (Jesus)", I John 2:28. (Themes--thanks to inspirations by Lee.)

Some changes have been made in the type of meals and in the serving of the meals. We will be using the old garage or the Heritage House like a concession stand for the serving of meals and beverages. Some preparation of meals will be out there also. Of course the weather will dictate if this will be successful. There are quite a few mugs at the farm so you should not have to bring one this year. Masking tape will be used to mark the mugs. They will hang on a board at the Heritage House.

We again plan to have a tent like last year. It will be delivered and set up at the farm on Thursday, and dismantled and picked up on Monday.

As in past years we will welcome any treats and snacks that anyone can bring. The schedule doesn't list "afternoon coffee" or "bedtime snack" but it seems they are Norwegian necessities.

If you would like a Stadem Reunion Shirt, please bring a plain tee shirt or sweat shirt of the right size for each member of your family. There will be patterns from which to choose and everyone will have the opportunity to make their own. We will accept donations of fabric paint, so if anyone has any extra you might bring it along. Otherwise we plant o have paint there for you to use.

You will notice some open slots of some TBA (to be announced) times in the schedule. These may be used for the children's schedule or show and tell by anyone.

Please read the following pages, fill out the registration form, and drop it in the mail by May 10th. We need an accurate count in order to purchase beverages, etc., and place our order for the catered meals.



5:30--HOBO POT SOUP MEAL. Hosts/Hostesses - Ginthers & Schaefers. Bring: Cans of Chili or Chicken soup; crackers/bread; veggies/pickles; bars/cookies in amounts to serve the number in your family.

7:30--PROGRAM - TBA - See Children's Schedule

DEVOTIONS - Ginthers and Schaefers



8:00--BREAKFAST - on your own (bring what you want to keep, fix, eat, & clean-up. Bagels, rolls, muffins, toast, fruit, cereal)

9:00--DEVOTIONS - Svanoes and Taylors

10:00-- PROGRAM - TBA

12:00-- NOON MEAL - Catered by Hy-Vee, Watertown, SD; Lasagna, Corn, Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread

Farm Hosts/Hostesses - Svanoes and Taylors.

2:30-- PROGRAM - We would like a skit fitting the theme, anyone have one?

3:30--GAMETIME - Be a Kid Again. Norwegian Baseball. All can participate.

5:30--SUPPER - Weiner Roast, with Buns, Chips, Beans, Smores.

Hosts/Hostesses - Spildes and Rangens


DEVOTIONS - Spildes and Rangens






12:00--NOON MEAL - At the Farm - Chicken, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw Catered by Hy-Vee of Watertown. We will provide buns and dessert. Farm Hosts/Hostesses - Stadems plus one volunteer to replace Ruth Harrington at her request.


3:30--FREE TIME - Hiking, Games, Resting, Visiting

5:30--SUPPER - Community Stew Pot - Hosts/Hostesses - Stadems plus a volunteer. BRING: Can of stew or ingredients to feed your family; vegies, fruit, and bread will be provided.

7:30--PROGRAM - Video on Norway - Ruth Harrington

DEVOTIONS - Harrington and Stadems




9:00--DEVOTIONS - Volunteer needed


10:00--CLEAN-UP (Additional time may be needed after lunch)

11:15--NOON MEAL - Leftovers


The Children's Schedule did not get off the ground last year. Two reasons come to mind. One, we had the time slots all filled with adult programs, and two, the rain made our outside locations impossible to use and our other efforts in the miserable category. So much for excuses. Perhaps we can try again. This year the schedule is not as full. One or more programs can be devoted to carrying out our plans for the children's activities.

7:30 FRIDAY - Theme: "LET THE CHILDREN COME," Luke 18:16. Storytelling, (Remember the stories we were going to tell last year!). Adults can listen also as well as participate. Or the time can be divided between adults and children's topics. Should consideration be given to divided children's age groups?

10:00 SATURDAY - Theme: "BECOME LIKE CHILDREN," Matt. 18:3. Arts and Crafts. Introduction to the Stadem Reunion Shirt.

3:30 SATURDAY - Game Time, Norwegian Baseball.

7:30 SATURDAY - [open, nothing planned]

3:30 SUNDAY - Theme: "GIVE GOOD GIFTS TO YOUR CHILDREN," Luke 11:13. Free time for hiking, or games.

9:00 MONDAY - DEVOTIONS. Theme: "CHILDREN, ABIDE IN HIM (JESUS)", I Jn. 2:20. Some food for thought as we get ready to go home to our regular lives.

Nursery and play activities for toddlers is not covered by the above. A rotation planned by parents of this age child is a possibility.


The Hosts/Hostesses as assigned, are responsible for set-up, preparation of food, (if necessary), and clean-up at meal time. Adjustments may have to be made if some family branches are not represented at the reunion, or in sufficient number.

Lee Stadem is still the Plain View Farm Manager, which is no small job. Ruth Harrington is the owner of Plain View Farm and likes it to be kept neat, which is no small job. Everyone can help her out with keeping things picked up and returning things to their place.

Last year Myrtle Svanoe was our "Coffee Cooker". Thank you, Myrtle! This year there will be an electric coffee maker in the Heritage House, but we may need some smaller amounts of coffee made in the kitchen. Are you still up to cooking the kitchen coffee, Myrtle? If you want to turn the job over to someone else, let us know.

We also plan to have hot water available in the Heritage House for your favorite item to mix with hot water.


In several places in the Minutes of the last Business Meeting I referred to dear Aunt Ruth as Ruth Stadem instead of Ruth Harrington. My notes only had "Ruth" so it was a temporary lapse of memory on my part.


[information given is either in need of an update to 2019 or is no longer is sufficient to use]. MAILING LIST

Is everyone in the family getting a copy of our mailing? If not please send the correct information. There may be some cases of recently married children who would now like to be added to the list. Here, by family or groups are the recipients of the mailings, in abbreviated form.

GINTHER: Pearl & Ronald, Darrell, Gloria, Allison, John, Kristen, Lorin, Lori, Wayne, Joyce, Roberta, & Jerry.

SCHAEFER: Be, Del Von.

SVANOE: Myrtle & Victor, Rennard, Carol, Todd, Colette, Marc, Alfred, Mim, Rachel, Naomi, Debbie.

TAYLOR: Cora, Carleen (need addr.), Calvin, Beth, Hudson, Kari Newton.

SPILDE: Alida, Eloise, Brad, Bonnie, Chad, Gary, Dan.

RANGEN: Estelle, Chloe, Janelle, Paul, Miriam.


STADEM: Lee, Pete, Steve, Tim, Mary, Tom.

OTHER: Kirsten Hilberg, Maxine Haugum, Axel Lundring.

If anyone notices any missing names, send them my way along with the address. (I know I left out the spouses' names, but that was only to conserve space, please forgive me!)


Aunty Be, you are a dear. Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement. I appreciate your timely suggestions. The missing theme for 1985 is probably "Relatives are the Best Collectables" according to undocumented information found by Be. She also wrote of a few surprises for the reunion. Thanks.

Also Ruth called to say she liked the new theme, and wrote with a program suggestion. Thanks.


Hans Spilde celebrated his 85th birthday on March 2nd. His children invited some relatives and hosted a catered dinner. They also had interview information down in hard copy regarding incidents from his earlier years, which was read. There also was a detailed story about his years of army service. His step-grandchildren commented that they thought it was all very interesting. If the volume of sound and laughter counts, then a good time was had by all!

Bernice Schaefer will celebrate her 85th birthday on March 18th!

According to Dostoevski, LIFE IS A GIFT. LIFE IS HAPPINESS, EACH MINUTE CAN BE AN AGE OF HAPPINESS. We all wish you moments of joy to fill your days, and days of happiness to fill your year. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU BOTH!


From my experience as Secretary, it has been very helpful to be able to meet together with the president while planning the details of the reunion. Next year it would be good to have the new secretary and president from the same area. A phone meeting would definitely be expensive. We were happy Steve was able to sit in on our last session so he knows what I am saying.


Regarding the SAMTALEREN: Conversation should be two way. Perhaps at the reunion I can get some more information. A few more families could tell us about some of their members who do not attend, similar to how Rennard wrote about his family last time. That would enable us to get to know a little about them even though we don't see them. Thank about it, please.

It appears that this mailing is a combination newsletter and reunion letter from the committee as the information seems to be all mixed together. I will close with a sentence from the book THE SCANDINAVIAN ADVENTURE by Arland O. Fiske. He writes, 'Every ethnic group should celebrate its successes and hold up its values for their future generations and to the neighbors to see.' This was from a chapter on the Norse Centennial Celebration in America. Although our gathering won't be nearly so grand, we are doing this very thing. VALUES is a word a lot of people are talking about these days. Come to this year's STADEM REUNION and let us hold up our values and successes for all to see.

Eloise Hefty, Sec.


Part III:

Bernice Schaefer Writes About Stadem Reunion 1996

Dear Loved Ones:

Another Stadem Family Reunion on Plain View Farm in South Dakota has come and gone. This year our son [Russ Del Von Schaefer] and his wife [Ria] said they would like to take part in the re-union, he made all the flight and car rental arrangements for the three of us, all I had to do was pack my bags and bring along the decorations or banners expressing the theme, "Children, God's Heritage Gift". This was expressed in twenty large pictures of small children with suitable quotes above them for four new babies. A large WELCOME sign heralded their presence as well as newlyweds from Fergus Falls, SD.

We left California from the San Jose Inter. Airport. The light to Denver was uneventful but from there to Sioux falls, SD was mixed up so we waited three hours for another plane, ending up with a small nineteen-seater to cover the last leg of the flight, minus our baggage, arriving at 10: P.M. So a car was rented, and no answer to phone calls to my brother in Sioux Falls, so we surmised he had gone to the farm, which he had. We scouted around Sioux Falls, having a belated meal and later took photographs of the house where I had lived prior to coming to California. This place was where Russ and I met, serving him a meal of two - he claimed I baited the hook in pork-chops to capture him when he came to speak for several weeks in the rescue mission where I also worked. A motel was rented, after breakfast we went the 120 miles to the farm, to be greeted by some early birds.

For the first evening meal we were asked to bring chicken soup and what ever went with it, plus dessert. Things went well in a newly built shed with a rug on the floor, chairs, and even a davenport. I had lived in SD many a year but do not remember having such a strong wind, plus occasional rain. This kept the children inside but the children were well behaved. Cars kept arriving all evening and into the next day, I counted 15 lined up in the yard. Some came from GA, MN, PA, WA, UT, ND, SD, CA, and MT.

A 60th Birthday party was planned for a niece from GA, it came as a great surprise to her. She [Gloria Ginther Brown] deserved all the attention given to her, including being asked to stand later at church. A large banner and photos of her was mounted on the wall for our enjoyment. Her daughters and son [Allison, Kristin, and John] did a terrific job in arranging this surprise party to be held at the reunion.

Our chairman did conduct the business meeting, assigning topics. Also a special thanks was extended to the two managing the kitchen. Only two meals were catered, so these two assumed a lot of the responsibility for the other needed meals. No complaints!

A large tent was set up but unused because of the extreme wind and rain. Part of the home's back porch was blown off and needed repairing.

We were at a loss of words for the work our secretary had in getting out information concerning the re-union. The Sec. and Chairman were re-elected for another year. Naturally.

As a family we owe a lot of thanks for my brother LeRoy that checks on the farm, mows the large yard without hitting any of the trees, it is a lot of responsibility for love of family.

The attendance of a nephew and his wife with a darling baby girl born in April - this along with four more little ones with a limpy Dad [Pete Stadem?] that had fallen and broken a knee cap - this was enhanced with a green cast from below his hip to his ankle. His green cast got attention!

These, and other family members make a family re-union worthwhile. We had a grand time and look forward to meeting again next year on the July 4th weekend.


[Special Note and Request: This was one of Bernice's last Re-unions, as our much beloved sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother-to-be passed to glory Oct. 2000. Starting with yearly trips to honor and visit her loved Mama in Mobridge, SD, which other sisters joined in, of all of us, she was the paramount promoter of the Re-unions of the Stadem Descendants on Plain View Farm, and it became a tradition, right up to 2019! How she would have loved to see the heritage barn even in its unfinished state today! She would have loved the spaciousness and many-windowed, Norwegian-look of the facility and probably given much to help it reach completion, but God had other plans for her in glory obviously. When she passed away in 2000, her property in California that included a house was sold, and perhaps it was quite valuable as properties customarily go in California. If possible, could the descendants donate something of what they received in the estate to complete the facility in her memory? This is a very bold suggestion, I know , yet I feel I can leave no stone unturned, even if it may risk offense, as this facility has a very desperate need to be finished, and must not be allowed to drag on and on in its present state, without funding. I have just been advised by my architect brother that Bernie the builder suggests $45,000 is needed. I suspect he is giving sacrificially of his time with this amount, however, and that should not be allowed. Would the estate of Bernice Schaefer bring in that much, if that was what was gained by the sale of her property and house in Atascadero, California? Perhaps she had a reverse mortgage taken to live on after Russell's passing, so there is no such monies available. That would be understandable. But for the sake of the younger generation, they need to see that the older generation is 100% serious about passing on our priceless Stadem heritage to them, and what a better place could there be than the fully completed and furnished Barna Velkommen, or heritage barn of Plain View Farm? Whether or not any funding can be gained this way, nevertheless, I suggest again that the facility be named in total, along with "Barna Velkommen," "THE BERNICE A. SCHAEFER HERITAGE CENTER." Then and only then will I feel we have made sufficient tribute to this incredible, wonderful woman of God and a beloved Stadem relation. How she loved children, we all know! The two names fit perfectly, complementing each other, don't you think? I can think of no better names. Let's join our minds in Christ and in the spirit of the Lord and then get it up on a beautiful sign and dedicate it in 2020, okay? At the same time expect a memorial to her son, Russ Del Von, a Viet Nam veteran and father of two sons, and grandfather, who passed to glory in 2018. Let the father and mother in heaven, Bernice and Russell Schaefer, rejoice to see what God has done in our midst to gladden the hearts of those who are still joined heart to heart, hand to hand, on this beautiful old prairie farm!--Lovingly and respectfully submitted, Ron Ginther (Editor, Grandson of Bergit and Alfred Stadem, 4th son of Bob and Pearl Ginther)]

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

Stadem Reunion Central

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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