RURAL BRYANT, SD,
AND STADEMS SAGA CONTINUES, PRESENT:
June 10, 2002
The annual family gatherings after the death of Bergit at age 98 in 1983 were spearheaded largely by her second oldest daughter, Bernice Schaefer, of Atascadero, CA.
Now in 2002, the Stadem reunion on Plain View Farm was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Schaefer known affectionately as "Auntie Be", who died on October 1, 2000. The burial of her ashes in Our Redeemer Lutheran Cemetery in Bryant, at a service conducted by Pastor Fred Rosin of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, was the centerpiece of this year's reunion held on June 28-30, 2002.
Mrs. Schaefer organized the annual gatherings during the 80's and 90's, baking bread and cooking meals, as well as decorating the farm house and posting anniversary signs.
Video clips of her 80th birthday celebration at the 199l reunion were shown by her niece Miriam Rinderknecht, of Park City, Utah.
Tributes were shared by siblings, nieces and nephews, together with scrap books, and other memorabilia.
Her good sense of humor was remembered and a box of her jokes, cartoon, and stories was distributed to the gathering as her legacy.
The construction of a facility named for Bernice Schaefer was proposed by her older sister Pearl Ginther of Puyallup, WA, along with niece Joyce Bassett and nephew Ronald Ginther, as well as seed money given to start the project.
The opening of a new era of reunions was marked by a poem by Stadem grandson Ronald Ginther entitled "Passing the Torch," read in his absence by his uncle Leroy Stadem.
Also celebrating the ongoing significance of the reunions was a song composed and sung by grandson Steve Stadem of Sioux Falls, SD, entitled, "Heed the Call."
The urban status of most of today's family was reflected by great-grandson Todd Svanoe of Minneapolis, MN in two stories that illustrated the good influence concerned persons can exert in the inner cities.
Although a watershed year with the passing of the torch from Mrs. Schaefer to the next genetration, the reunion remained strong with a near 72 in attendance.
Both East and West coasts were among the 10 states represented, as well as were the north-south extremes of Minnesota and Mexico.
A group picture was taken by family friend Wayne Couillard, Minneapolis, MN and developed during the reunion for each family.
The weather was the hottest it had ever been for this event, and the flooded road going out of the farm was open for the first time in years due to a dry summer. The business of the reunion, conducted by President Peter Stadem of Blomkest, MN, included the appeal for everyone to write their vision for the reunions of the future, to be submitted for collation by next year's reunion by Todd Svanoe.
Gift giving marked this year's reunion, highlighted by the presentation to each family of a copy of the colorful marriage certificate of forbears Alfred and Bergit Stadem, who were married in Canton, SD, in 1908.
Another family friend, Donna Ysteboe of Fort Shaw, MT, baked lefse and sent it with Stadem daughter Estelle and son-in-law Joseph Rangen, also of Fort Shaw.
Stadem daughter, Ruth Harrington, present-day owner of Plain View Farm, presented decorated cloth shopping bags and other gifts to each family.
John Brown had a sign made for the main meeting and eating place, "Spise Hytte". Grandson Ren and Grace Svanoe brought organic vegetable seeds from Mexico. Miriam Rinderknecht spread a table with gifts for the choice of all who contributed an act to a family talent show.
Recreation included a sing-a-long campfire, a pinata party, fireworks, frisbee, swimming in the Bryant pool, a dune buggy brought by Wayne Couillard, and the game, "Christians and Romans." A glider bought by grandson Wayne Ginther of Booney [Bonny] Lake, WA was kept out of the air by adverse wind conditions.
Food for the reunion included a hobo soup supper with contributions by all, and main meals prepared by Ward's Store Catering of Bryant.
The family formed a singing group that sang for the Sunday worship service at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church of Bryant. Songs included a gospel song medley and the gospel hymn, "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine". Fellowship and coffee was enjoyed with church members after the service.