November 12, 1910 – April 5, 2014
I was born in Guthrie Center, Iowa on November 12, 1910. On that date, at the same tine Haley’s comet was soaring across the horizon and my father was out watching it. It is doubtful if my mother cared and my father was no doubt relieved when he returned to find he had a baby daughter who would be the second of five children, two girls and three boys.
At the time of my birth my father was manager of the Green Bay Lumber Company in Guthrie Center. He later became a bank examiner for Iowa banking department where he worked until he retired.
We lived on Iowa until my older brother and I finished Dexter high school in 1928. During that summer we moved to Vermillion, South Dakota, home of the University of South Dakota. My parents wanted us to go on to college and they knew it was not possible to send three children away to school in two year period. Here we would eventually all five of is attend the University. My older brother quit after three years and went out into the business world. One brother and my sister graduated from the Law School at the University of Michigan. Much to my father’s disappointment I quit after my third year to be married.
My husband who also lived in Vermillion had just graduated from Creighton University Dental School in Omaha, Nebraska. He had decided to begin his practice in South Sioux City, Nebraska just across the Missouri River from Sioux City, Iowa. In October 1932, in the midst of the depression our daughter, Margaret Ann, was born and a son John Stanley, eighteen months later. Both of whom graduated from the University of Nebraska, Margaret in Liberal Arts and Jack became an Orthodontist. I wish I had a schedule of the fees charged in those first lean years. Still fresh in my memory is my husband getting up in the middle of the night to pull a tooth of a suffering patient for the whole sum of one dollar.
My husband served in the Army Dental Corp. We lived in Texas for a few months until he went overseas. He was stationed at Camp Hulen on the east Coast about 100 miles as I remember south of Houston.
It was in Texas I became acquainted with cockroaches and water bugs when they flourished because it never froze.
When the children and I returned to Nebraska, my mother came and said “you are going back to school”. She helped me pack and off we went to the University of South Dakota, Vermillion-two children and to large white chickens they could not leave behind. This next adventure was made by train because our car had been sold on our return to Nebraska. The children played in the city park and swam at the city pool while mother attended classes. I would leave for school as I remember about 7:30 in the morning and the children, Peg and Josh, came a little later bringing lunch which we ate in the park.
After returning home at the end of summer school I was able to find work teaching in the South Sioux City Elementary School system. I taught first in the North end and later was able to teach 4th grade in the High school building just across the street from where we lived in what was called the Beerman Apartments. Here I taught until my husband returned and he insisted that I resign even though it was in the middle of the school year. After sometime an office space became available and my husband was able to open his office on 21st street. Later we were able to buy a house in the same block where we lived until 1948 when we finally parted and divorced. Although it wasn’t entirely because of the war experience but it could have been one factor. My husband couldn’t resist other women.
Again through our good friends and former neighbors, Superintendent Erman and Mrs. (Bess) Swett I was able to procure a teaching position. Here I taught and attended classes at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa where I finally received my degree. I IN 1950 I was appointed to the office if Dakota County Superintendent of schools. I ran and was reelected in 1954 for another four terms. Before this was up I remarried Cecil F. Nixon of Norfolk, Nebraska. WE had five good years of marriage which came to an end suddenly in 1955. It is my belief that if he could have advantage of the medical knowledge available today he would have lived many years longer.
By this time both Peg and Jack were married. Jack back in dental school in Lincoln after being in the Ari Force Dental Corp. Peg was married to Robert Green, a lawyer who was practicing in Omaha, Nebraska. Jack had married Mary Ann Burcum, a girl whom I taught in the 4th grade and again in the 8th grade in South Sioux City.
After Cecil Nixon died in 1960, the next year through a PEG sister’s husband who was Superintendent of the Norfolk schools I went to Wayne State College, Wayne Nebraska as a dorm mother. A new dorm had just been built and opened with boys on one side and girls on the other. There were about 300 juniors and seniors who could live there as long as they stayed on their own side. As far as I ever knew they were able to do just that, however, once in a while a back door would be found propped open at night time. They were great young people and most enjoyable. After a year or so at Wayne my next adventure was a move to Lincoln, Nebraska to be a Resident Director of a new Nurses dorm at Bryan Hospital. (Neglected to say that while at Wayne I attended classes at the college. This proved to be a wise move later. Also it was through Mary Ann that I heard about the opening in Lincoln.)
After a year or so in Lincoln through urging of friends and because of the courses taken at Wayne which made it possible to renew my teaching certificate it was my decision to go South Sioux City, Nebraska to teach.
In 1968, I remarried again to an old friend who I knew may years ago in South Sioux City. John and Harriet Hoffman had been friends of ours there in the 1930’s. In 1942 they moved to California because of the war made it impossible for John to buy the fluid necessary to continue in the cleaning business. My husband at that time Stanley John Kouegni had been the best man at John and Harriet’s wedding. Throughout the years Harriet and I had kept in contact with each other. She passed away in 1966 and through friends and family John and I renewed our friendship and were married in August 1968. Five years after John’s (1982) death at Yucaipa, California I moved to Green Valley, Arizona a retirement community in 1987.
This is kind of a bird’s eye view of my life which members of my family and John’s family could add to. John’s children Ronald and Janice have been a pleasure and a joy to me all through the years. Now their children and grandchildren are just like my own. I love them all. In 1999 I moved to Tucson, after selling my home in Green Valley and lived at Campania Del Rio, a retirement complex. Here I made many nice friends in a pleasant environment. In 2002 feeling that it would be to all of our family’s advantage my last move date was made to Concordia on the Lake, Littleton. Colorado.
Arrangements under the direction of Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary, Cemetery & Arboretum, Wheat Ridge, CO.