Graduations, family reunions, other special events

Posted July 5, 2013 at 3:05 pm

The fun part of small town America and hometown rural communities is sharing the special events and gatherings of the families who are the life of these occasions. Our gratitude as well to the “hometown papers,” which make it possible. Small town/rural community families and friends are all one big family in a sense. That is what makes sharing the good times as well as the sad times a bond, which continues to be appreciated, cherished and eagerly awaited from week to week.

Ken and Pam Venjohn, Piedmont, visited Florence Coyle in Miller Friday, May 17 before going on to Sioux Falls where they spent the night with their sons, Jason and Carmen Venjohn and Brad and NaCole Venjohn. From there they went to the Twin Cities Saturday, May 18 to watch their grandson, Luke McKee play in a basketball game. Saturday night, they went with son Chris and his girlfriend, Tally, to Target Field to watch the Twins take on the Red Sox. 



Ken and Pam, their daughter, Brenda McKee and Tally visited the law school with Chris, prior to going to the St. Paul River Center for his graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 19. Chris graduated from William Mitchell College of Law with his Juris Doctor. Brenda and Matt McKee hosted a great graduation party that evening, complete with a special banner made by Caroline McKee for her uncle Chris.

Monday, May 20 they attended Tally’s graduation from the University of Minnesota with a master’s in health administration, and met her mother. That evening, Ken and Pam, Brenda and her family, Tally and Chris and some of their friends went out for supper to celebrate the graduations. 

Tuesday morning, Ken and Pam started their trek from Minneapolis back to the Black Hills. They visited in Albertville, Minn., Tuesday morning with their daughter, Jodi Thorp and her family. She had been visiting her husband Jim’s sister in Michigan over the weekend. Stops during the day also included Szarke Law Office where Chris had worked the past two years and in Watertown Tuesday night to visit Ken’s brothers and sisters before returning to Piedmont on Wednesday

Sister Jacinta Anderson, (Trixie Schlechter’s sister) from the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse in Baltic, Connecticut came Friday, June 14 for her yearly visit with her mother, Patty Anderson in Redfield and family in the area. Saturday, the Andersons met with Jan (Anderson) and Steve Konkle, Okaes, N.D., their daughter Jennipher Van Horn, Melanna, Hope and Skye; their son, Aaron and Jane and two children Deireus and Justyce; Darrel and Joy Anderson and her son Xavier, Mitchell; Levi and Sophia Anderson, Aberdeen and Trixie Schlechter and Hannah, Polo. They enjoyed the afternoon in Storybook Land and supper in Aberdeen.

Monday, Sister Jacinta and her mother drove to Huron to spend time visiting with Father Terry Anderson at Holy Trinity Parish. The family gathered with their mother in Redfield for supper. Present were Kathi (Bryon’s wife), their daughter Tynan and her two boys, Dawson and Braylon and their two sons, Jordan and Jarrett, Father Terry and Trixie Schlechter and Hannah.

After supper at Bryon and Kathi’s home Friday, Sister left early Saturday morning to return to the motherhouse in Connecticut, where she helps with the elderly in the nursing home and with vocations.

Czech Days in Tabor

The Vic and Marion Martinmaas family gathered in Tabor last weekend for Czech Days. Vic and Marion, Donna Schaefers, Linda Leddy of Sioux Falls, Chuck and Rodey Martinmaas, Marilyn Burckhard of Aberdeen and Ken and Theresa Martinmaas of Clear Lake watched the parade Friday afternoon, followed by a day of traditional Bohemian music and dance.

Delicious ethnic food abounded, including over 2,000 dozen kolache (no, that is not a typographical error…it adds up to 24,000 kolache!), which were on sale throughout the festivity and lots of pivo-Bohemian for beer. Highlights of Czech days included the Beseda Dancers, 238 colorful costumed folk dancers ranging from six years of age to senior citizens, the Polka Dance Off and a Polka Mass at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Tabor.

Sunday, more than 20 Kolda relatives from Lesterville, Sioux Falls, Gayville, Yankton, Scotland and Tabor surprised the Martinmaas family with a “mini family reunion,” complete with a marvelous potluck dinner following Mass at the ancestral parish church, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Lesterville.

Barb Weichmann, Armour, recently elected SD Catholic Daughters State Regent, was honored at a reception open house and Mass in Wagner, Saturday, June 6. Catholic Daughters from several courts across South Dakota, state officers and relatives and friends attended the reception and Mass at St. John’s Church in Wagner. JoAnn Schaefers represented the local Catholic Daughters unable to attend. She had worked with Barb and many of the Wagner members regularly since the 1980s.

South Dakota
Rodeo Finals

On June 20, Cheryl’s Catering crew loaded up the chuck wagons and headed to Belle Fourche to cater supper for the South Dakota High School Rodeo Finals. The evening meal was sponsored by the S.D. Farmer’s Union. Fred, Cheryl, Nick and Lily Schaefers, along with Joni Martinmaas and Nick Schlechter, ended the evening serving 450 contestants and their families. It was a great group of cowboys and girls. They visited with local people there including the Sivertsens from Ree Heights, Fultons from Miller, Knipplings from Stephan, and Zilverbergs from Holabird.

After the meal the group headed to Fruitdale to spend the night with Cheryl’s brother, Jim Peterson and family. Niece Bailey Peterson works at SD Game Fish and Parks Learning Center in Rapid City, so Friday morning they made their way to Rapid via Spearfish Canyon and Deadwood/Lead. The GF&P Learning Center was a fun stop for all ages, with a scavenger hunt to help find ALL the treasures in the displays that showed the different animals, birds and plants in our state. You can also sign up for classes on fishing, fly fishing, and canoeing, among other things. After a night in a hotel with a swimming pool, they drove to Mt. Rushmore, onto the Needles Highway, through Custer State Park, toured Crazy Horse Monument and Reptile Gardens. To make the trip complete, they stopped at Wall Drug for donuts and free ice water!

Betty Clark, Ft. Pierre, picked up Helen Peterson and took her to the wedding of Suni Cowan in Watertown on June 29. Suni is the son of Julie (Hart) and Shane Cowan, Ft. Pierre. The Hart and Peterson families were very close friends when they all lived south of Holabird. The Peterson and Hart children went to Pratt school together for several years. Helen was happy to visit with other neighbors and friends from the area as well.

Cheryl Schaefers
receives “Dakota Rising Fellowship”

Cheryl Schaefers is very excited and thankful to receive the Dakota Rising Fellowship. She plans to promote Polo as a place to gather for family events, including weddings and reunions. “The Polo Community Center (formerly the Polo School) is one of the nicest facilities I have worked in, and I have worked in many kitchens in a hundred-mile radius,” said Schaefers. “I know from experience, than you cannot save a building by NOT using it. We purchased the old Polo High School in 2000, and it is now a fully usable building. The St. Liborius Grade School complex across the street, which was in better shape at that time, is now falling into disrepair from lack of attention and use. The rooms used in the complex by the parish are well maintained.”

She went on to explain, “I really feel it is important to make good use of what we have. With small schools closing across our state, we have the opportunity to be an example for those communities of how to utilize the facilities they built with hard earned tax dollars. One way would be to let local small business owners rent out some of the class rooms for their offices, sharing the expense of Internet and phone service, as well as copiers and other office equipment. The income from rent received could be put toward maintenance of the building.” Since the Polo School closed in 1989, the g�ym has been available for area youth and others who wish to use the facility to walk or play basketball. The Polo Community Center is currently used for a Hand County voting site, Polo/Orient KC community blood drives, the St. Liborius Bazaar and other church events, the site of “Prayers and Cares” blanket factory, and the Polo Fire District offices. “The gym and kitchen have always been available to rent for family functions,” said Schaefers. “I just hope to find more families who want to rent it, and have their gatherings in Polo.”

Aesoph wedding
in Highmore

Congratulations to Andrew Aesoph and Paige Solberg, who were married at St. Mary’s Church in Highmore, Saturday June 29, 2013. Parents of the couple are Mike and Staci Aesoph, and Mike and Amy Solberg. Grandparents are Joe and Judy Thiel, Miller; Bernice Aesoph, Orient; Rick and Deann Gilmore and Warren and Katherine Solberg, Highmore. The groom’s brothers, Joe, Nathan and Oliver were his attendants.

Desiree Schaefers, Lino Lakes, Minn., was the honored guest at a bridal shower in Huron Saturday at the home of Michelle Doll. Among the many guests were her mother Darla Schaefers; her grandparents, Harry and Shirley Northrup, Letcher, and Jack and JoAnn Schaefers, Polo; her aunts, Diane Grassel, Letcher and Camille Dunnick, Sioux Falls; sisters Danielle Phillips, Huron and Dixie Schaefers, Mitchell; and groom-to-be Sam McPhee and his mother from Lino Lakes, Minn. The July 27 wedding will be in Huron.


Another week when the complaints about the weather are not being tossed around. With the earlier moisture, it truly is a paradise countryside view one gets while driving down the roads. From the taller grass and crops planted earlier to the corn and beans that are following with lush ground cover, there is lots of proof the sunshine and subsoil moisture are providing promise for farmers and gardeners alike. It’s not that we are never satisfied, it is just the reality we can use rain whenever it comes to keep the “green growing things” forging ahead toward their harvest goals.