In Your Community: Wolfe siblings get together to celebrate milestones

Published 5:43 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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Five siblings, who graduated from Austin High School game together in April in Gainesville, Georgia to celebrate all of them being at least 80 years old.

All five — Ronald, Jon, Lynette, Maurice and Gordon — attended St. John’s Lutheran School in Austin, for elementary and grade school education. Each graduated from Austin High School, beginning with Ronald in 1957.

After high school, the four brothers entered the military service; Ronald and Gordon served in the U.S. Air Force. Jon and Maurice served in the U.S. Army.

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Lynette entered college at Concordia, St. Paul.

Ronald was an Arabic language management specialist for 43 years and a professor at Georgetown University.

Jon was a metalworking industry executive for 40 years. He graduated from Wayne State University.

Lynette was a Lutheran school teacher for 16 years after graduating from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska.

Maurice served in the U.S. Army for 21 years and served in the Vietnam War. He was a sergeant first class when he left and went on to work for the  U.S. Postal Service for 20 years.

Gordon was a transportation engineer for 57 years.

All total, the Wolfes had 15 children, 20 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild.

Their parents were born and raised in Mower County and met while working at the Hormel Foods plant. They were married in 1937 at the Lutheran Church in Dexter.

The children’s father, Alex, was killed in a bus accident in Iowa, in January 1944 while returning home from visiting his brother in a U.S. Army hospital in Springfield, Missouri. Gordon, now 80, was born three weeks after his death.

Their  mother Alice said at the time of Alex’s death, many well-meaning people advised her to put some of her children up for adoption to ease the emotional burden of raising five children (all under the age of five) by herself. She steadfastly refused and insisted on raising the kids by herself.

As they got older, she eventually took a job with the Girl Scouts of America in Austin and worked for them for many years. Later she worked for the family of Bonnie Rietz (former Mayor of Austin). Alice died in 2008 at 95.

Growing up in Austin was very special to the Wolfe children. From sledding at Skinner’s Hill in the winter to swimming at the pool or in one of the rivers and sand pits in the summer or playing baseball at the athletic field under the supervision of Ove Berven, they remember it well.