Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A great generation sends another soul home

During an early summer thunderstorm on the morning of 26 June, 2013 Harriet Kurtz checked out of the Brookings Hospital for the last time.

Harriet Mae Craig was born 13 February, 1922 in Norfolk, Nebraska to Ralph A. and Frances (Beidinger) Craig.

The family migrated to Columbus and Harriet attended then graduated St. Bonaventure Catholic School. Later, Ralph, a Union Pacific Railroad brakeman, became a conductor and relocated Frances (Frankie) and four girls to Omaha where Harriet excelled, completed secretary/stenographer courses, then went to work for that railroad. In 1944 she met Sgt. Lawrence E. Kurtz whom she later married. A daughter, Leslie, was born to the couple in 1945.

The young family entered military life moving from Nebraska to Colorado Springs then to Panama, the Canal Zone and in 1947 after the Department of the Air Force was created, Harriet entered civil service in the stenographer's pool where she enjoyed a top security clearance.

A transfer sent the family to Castle Air Force Base near Merced, California and in 1954 a son, Larry, was born. The birth of the Strategic Air Command near the Union Pacific rail head took the family back to Nebraska where daughter Lynn was delivered in 1956.

In November, 1957, Sergeant and Mrs. Kurtz moved the family to Torrejon Air Force Base near Madrid, Spain where they remained stationed until 1961. When the family wasn't exploring western Europe, Harriet managed the household while Lawrence was attaché to the Inspector General of the Air Force.

Harriet returned with her family to the United States, and in 1962 after Lawrence's retirement from the Service, a city girl became a farm wife near Elkton, South Dakota. In 1964 she elected to become a high school teacher, enrolled at South Dakota State College then graduated in 1968. Harriet taught Spanish and English at Lake Benton High School just across the state line in Minnesota until her retirement.

A devout lifetime Catholic, Harriet co-authored a comprehensive history of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish. Among many other endeavors she was exceptionally proud of this particular achievement.

In 1979 Lawrence and Harriet built a house in Elkton, sold the farm in 1984 then took to the road and traveled the United States extensively until 1995. The couple loved parties, friends and hosted many gatherings. Harriet played bridge until her eyesight failed.

She is survived by daughter Leslie (David) Leech, Elkton; son Larry, Santa Fe, New Mexico; son-in-law David Larson, Flandreau; sister Lizabeth, Omaha, Nebraska; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Lawrence, daughter Lynn, two sisters, and her parents.

The rest of Harriet's story is going untold at this writing: she will be missed.



4 comments:

Bill Dithmer said...

I'm sorry to hear about your mom Larry.

I lost mine last fall and it takes a while to process such things.

It looks like she lived a very full life.

If you need anything I can give come call or write.

The Blindman and Belinda

larry kurtz said...

Bill, that's so sweet! All is good. Mom's funeral is Saturday in Elkton.

Have the RV parked in Lake Benton where it's so green cattle disappear into pasture grass. Noticed the same thing around Kadoka. Stark contrast to three mile visibility in eastern Colorado due to wildfire smoke and blowing dust.

Hope all is well with you and yours.

Duffer said...

Larry - my condolences to you, and your family. A beautiful Lady, and a life well-lived.

larry kurtz said...

All was fine until the opening anthem, Duff: America the Beautiful got to me in one of most gorgeous churches in South Dakota.

Hats off to Mike Skroch: he's a consummate pro.