Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

July 14, 2001

I have Genevieve Stotko Henk to thank for connecting me up with yet another friend I had listed as a "missing person," Ian Iverson.

Here's the story on Ian Iverson, according to Gen:

Gen Henk first met the Iversons at Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis when she was having her first baby, who is now Dr. Ed Henk of Buffalo.

There, in the obstetrical department, as Gen's nurse, was a wonderfully wise and witty British woman, Delina ("Dolly") Iverson.

Her claim to fame was that she had been the private duty nurse for King George V, one of the most popular and enlightened of modern British royalty, and the grandfather of the present Queen Elizabeth. The one and only Queen Victoria was his grandmother.

Dolly became the king's personal nurse after his wartime accident in 1915. A horse had thrown him off, and the fall had broken his pelvis. This happened at a battlefield in France at the onset of World War I.

Prior to the war and his assuming the throne, he had traveled both to India and Australia, back in the days when the British Empire was still the British Empire - when "the sun never set on the English flag."

Great Britain had colonies in Africa stretching from Cairo to Capetown. You could cross the continent of Africa from Egypt, all the way to South Africa, and always remain on British soil.

A British railway line, in fact, ran the length of Africa from north to south.

Over all that, King George had presided and was always in an enlightened and democratic fashion.

He won the universal respect, not only of the people of England but of the entire world, for his prudence and common sense. He made it a point to meet with all classes and occupations of people.

He was the last English monarch ever to visit Ireland, going straight to Dublin in 1911 after his coronation in Westminster Abbey, which he described as a consecration of himself to the service of his people.

When the Labour Party came to power in 1924, he made this gracious comment as the Labour ministers were sworn in: "The happiness of my people is in your hands. They depend upon your prudence and sagacity."

He truly earned his great popularity, which never flagged during his entire reign. King George V died on Jan. 20, 1936.

Mrs. Iverson admired the king very much, as did all of England.

While Gen was in the hospital, she was very pleased at the great number of her visitors, until she discovered that most of them were coming to see the fascinating Dolly Iverson, who regaled everyone with tales of King George V.

One of the American troops who had come to the rescue of Europe in World War I was a Mr. Iverson who met and married Dolly, Ian's mother, and brought her back to the States with him when the War ended. King George V, of course, remained in England.

Gen and Dolly became fast friends, and the Iversons became frequent visitors to the Henk family home in Waverly.

Ian liked Waverly so much that he stayed there during the summer. He especially enjoyed the Sawatzke farm, where he became good friends with Gen's nephew, Bob Sawatzke, who was the same age.

The Sawatzkes also liked Ian, so eventually, he moved in with the Sawatzke family and attended school at St. Mary's, even though he wasn't Catholic (and never became a Catholic. Some example we were!).

I got to know Ian at St. Mary's as a friendly, quiet, good-looking, and sturdy lad, with brown eyes and black hair, a real hit with all the girls.

Not being Catholic, he didn't have to attend religion classes or religious services, and got to spend his time doing homework in the library. I think we all behaved better as a result of Ian's presence.

Deep down, I think we all wanted to convert him, so I think we weren't quite ourselves when he was around, especially the girls.

We were all trying to make a good impression on him.

For his part, he was just himself, a truly remarkable boy with brains, good looks, and a nice personality. He and Bob Sawatzke had similar personalities, quiet but humorous, with a gentle and friendly nature.

I thought he looked like Elvis Presley, but Gen Henk scoffs at that, comparing him more to the likes of Clark Gable, that is, Clark Gable without the mustache.

The years went by and Ian married and had two children, Mary and Rodney, who both now live in Montana.

Rodney married a nephew of Betty Burke Olson of Waverly, to show us once more what a small and good world it is.

After his mother's death, Ian continued to visit Waverly, even though he had spent most of his life living and working in Chicago for the Borden Company. Gen saw him shortly before his death from throat cancer in April of last year.

He left nothing behind in Waverly, except memories of an outstanding young man, the only "Ian" most of us ever knew.

Wilton Anderson

I need someone to tell me more about Wilton Anderson's life and passing.

John Althoff tells me he is now "singing with the angels," after a life spent working for the Burlington Railroad in San Francisco.

That "singing with the angels" line reminded me that Wilton was the one and only person in my entire life who ever invited me to sing.

This happened when we were all riding to a ball game in Maple Lake in the back of Claessens' pickup truck.

A fight broke out over the song "As Time Goes By" from the 1942 movie "Casablanca." Somebody thought the words were "A sigh is still a sigh, a smile is still a smile."

Wilton asked me to sing it, not because he or anyone else thought I had a good voice, but just because he knew, nerd that I was, that I could settle the argument. I did sing it: "It's still the same old story, a fight for love and glory, a case of do or die. The world will always welcome lovers - as time goes by."

And a KISS is still a kiss and a sigh is still a sigh.

I miss you, Wilton Anderson. You were a good, decent man. I wish you had not become one of my "missing persons" before I had to say I missed you.

Jack Lyrenmann

Jackie Lyrenmann is the final name on my missing persons list.

I just now had a great chat on the telephone with Jack Lyrenmann, thanks to Mabel (Mrs. Jim ) Fitzpatrick, who gave me his brother Mike's telephone number, who in turn gave me their sister's number in Monticello.

She is Nancy Lyrenmann Smith. She and her husband, Don Smith, own the Monticello paper. She seemed happy to assist me, a fellow journalist, not knowing I was just an impersonator.

It turns out that Jack is home for an all-school alumni reunion from Monticello High School, which coincides with Monti's 25th annual River Fest celebration.

There are now 7,500 alumni dating back to 1887. Of those, 11 of them are Lyrenmanns.

It so happens that two Lyrenmann women, Nancy and Mary, are on the volunteer committee organizing the event, so there is bound to be a good turnout of Lyrenmanns.

If you don't remember Jack Lyrenmann, it's because he had lived in Waverly less than two years when he came to stay with Mrs. Johnny (Bess) Moore, right after Johnny died, tragically young, of a heart attack.

Jack's mother and Bess (Elizabeth) were both Doherty girls from Maple Lake.

Jack was 12 when he came, and 13 when he left. He was the oldest of 12 children who lived in Enfield, Minn.

The nearest school was in Monticello, that very pleasant town of 5,000 on the Mississippi.

Never heard of Enfield? It's no wonder if you haven't. The freeway (I 94) has wiped it off the map.

Jack's parents owned and operated the store and the post office there at the time Jack came to live with Bess. The last time I ever saw him was behind the counter of the family store.

He married Delores Van Lith from Annandale.

(I remember "Turkey" Van Lith, her brother, who had a career as a golden gloves boxer. Turkey had a great reach, because he was very tall and slim. His movements in the ring did remind one of a turkey, given all his head bobs.)

Jack and Delores have three children, Colette, John, and James.

Colette is a police detective in Phoenix and has been for 12 years.

John works with the US Postal Service in Elk River and James is with Security Systems in Peoria, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix and within striking distance of Overgaard, Ariz. where Jack and Delores now make their home.

Overgaard (pop. 175) is larger than Enfield, but since it's in the cool, green mountains, Jack says it grows even larger during the summer months "just like a resort town in northern Minnesota."

It's not far from Show Low, Ariz.

Both he and Delores enjoy good health in their retirement and, even better, five grandchildren.

They moved to Overgaard from Minnesota in 1998, when Jack retired from his career as an electrician. He had enlisted in the US Navy right out of high school, served four years and came out ready to become a master electrician. He did have his own business for a few years, but mostly worked for electrical contractors.

Like most of us, he has great memories of Waverly, playing basketball in the village hall right across the street where he lived, ice skating, the Catholic school, his aunt Bess and her wonderful relatives, including all the Fitzpatricks.

He remembers especially good friendships with Toby Zeller and Allan LePage. I was very pleased that he remembered me but then, of course, Bess Moore would have kept him up to date.

John and Delores Lyrenmann
PO Box 741
Overgaard, AZ 85933
(520) 535-6156

I have now finished my personal list of missing persons. What did I learn from it?

I learned that I was the missing person, and the persons I called missing were no more lost than the Native Americans were when Columbus found them.

I learned that one should never delay looking up people you cared about and telling them they mean something good to you.

I learned that life is short.

I learned that I have the resources to locate people just about anywhere on this blessed earth, in this blessed land, and in this fair universe, which in the end, despite all evil, is still governed by love.

You out there! Buy a computer. They are less than $1,000 and you can communicate with your grandchildren in addition to finding old friends.

You can also find people who owe you money.

Best of all, I learned I have been right about Waverly all along.

Vince Stotko

Burt Kreitlow reminded me not to forget his old college chum Vince Stotko, who retired as a project manager and troubleshooter with McDonald-Douglas.

The two of them used to organize, lead and teach 4-H clubs around the county before the war.

Vince had been an officer in the air force in World War II, and flew 25 combat missions over Germany in B-17s, like my brother John did.

Vince Stotko now lives at 10 Orchard Lane, St. Charles, MO, 63303-4108.

News item

Mrs. Gen Henk and Randy were fourth of July guests of Dr. and Mrs. Ed Henk of Buffalo.

Ed flew them to his summer home on Norway Lake near Pine River to celebrate the fourth of July together.

It took them 45 minutes to fly to Pine River in Ed's new Cessna Four-Seater and 40 minutes to return on what turned out to be a beautiful day.

The auto traffic to and from would have taken them hours.

Ed's father, Bill Henk, took me on my first airplane ride. We circled Waverly Lake where he used to park his Piper Cub float plane and treat many of us Waverly children to plane rides.

I will never forget the thrill when he said "Put your hands on the wheel and steer. You are now flying it alone."

Bill's son, Dr. Edward ("Chip") is now qualified to fly multi-engine aircraft, but I understand he is sticking to dentistry.

Which reminds me ­ I am now 70. When I was 20, I was trying to block out Larry Kittock of Delano in a game of touch football and instead, I hit his head with my mouth.

I lost my front teeth, along with my ability to whistle. Dr. B. F. Moll put in a bridge for me back then.

Last week, one of the artificial teeth fell off. A dentist here marveled at the bridge work, and said he had never seen such a thing. He used Super Glue to put the tooth back on the bridge and he didn't charge me a cent.

"They don't make bridges like that anymore," he said.

And they don't make people like Dr. Benjamin Franklin Moll anymore, either.

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