Veteran History by George Flint

Last updated: December 7, 2006

The Lusk Herald
December 6, 2006

Former resident gives Veteran's Day thoughts


By George Flint


For as long as I can remember each year as part of Armistice, now Veterans Day, The Herald has honored Niobrara Veterans and the memories of those that served in the Military by printing their names and the war or period in which they served.

Now for more than 60 years I've always enjoyed browsing this annual feature. As a youngster I knew many of them well. Some others were by reputation or by casual acquaintance. All of course were loved and appreciated by family and close friends. The vast majority are long deceased but are fondly remembered both for their service to our beloved country as well as for being outstanding Niobrarans and Wyoming citizens. Every one of those listed in your edition of Nov. 8 deserved to be honored. I've selected a few that made a major impact on my early years as a teenager growing up in Lance Creek and Lusk. This is just a few from the hundreds that served. Mostly only names today but each deserving of a few words of recognition. I sincerely trust no one will be offended because their loved one wasn't mentioned as part of this brief overview.

Henry Immesoete (Spanish American War) - Mr. Immesoete made a strong impression on a young George Flint. Then even in 1945 a very elderly gentleman who loved his family and his country. A true American patriot with early roots in the Van Tassel area.

Frank Barrett (WWI) - Lusk's own who served with distinction as Governor, a member of the House of Representatives and as U.S. Senator from Wyoming. Always the total gentleman. Mr. Barrett was as comfortable with Presidents, Ambassadors, and those of high political standing as he was at home with we common folk in the Lusk and Niobrara area. He always enjoyed being with those of us that had chosen him to be our representative.

Harry Cornell (WWI) - Harry was never without a smile and a warm handshake. He and wife Nellie were part of my parent's Lusk ministry. The Cornell's never missed a chance to support their church. Ranchers from the Kirtley area, they were a true joy to know.

George Gibson (WWI) - For the better part of three decades Lusk's number one promoter and creator of great parades. His Midwest Hardware Company had something for everyone. A true stalwart of commerce, George loved Wyoming, Niobrara County and especially Lusk. There should be a statue to him in the city park. Gibson Field was named in his honor and memory.

Clyde Hampton (WWI) - Taught Latin and Journalism at Lusk High. Guided us like we were his own children. Students of his era, me included, will never forget this devoted individual.

Otto Klemke (WWI) - Mr. Klemke sold us insurance and kept us covered even when we couldn't pay our premiums. A no-nonsense businessman who was a real community supporter and devoted American.

C.E. (Clarence E. Marvin) "Blonde" Marvin (WWI) - "Mr. Lusk" in many ways for many decades. Operated the Lusk Elevator Company. Long time Town Councilman. A quiet man who served us all with calm and dedication.

Al Rundquist (WWI) - A petroleum engineer who smoked "terrible" cigars. I never saw Al without a coat and tie. A quiet and unassuming gentleman of class and vision who played a major role during the Lance Creek oil field era.

Arthur Vogel (WWI) - Publisher and Editor of The Lusk Free Lance. Among one of the hardest working men I ever knew. Published his weekly newspaper nearly single handedly. Father of Gloria Johnson of Wheatland my classmate from L.H.S. '52.

Dr. Walter Reckling (WWI) - Kept all of us healthy. Delivered our babies. Treated any illness with vigor and determination. An icon and a legend, he is the epitome of medical dedication. The true father of the Legend of Rawhide Pageant. His son Fred, M.D. now retired living in Ft. Collins, Colorado and my dearest friend.

Judson P. Watson (WWI) - Practiced law in Lusk for nearly 50 years without the ability to hear. Did it with aplomb. Lawyer extraordinaire. A true pillar of the community who had a good word for everyone. Grand and dedicated. From the Jireh area.

Walther Doctor (WWII) - Lusk mortician followed in the tradition of George Earl Pete. Walt's father pastored St. Paul's Lutheran Church. A quiet humanitarian and always had a helping hand for anyone in need.

Frank Kuhn (WWI) - Tenacious and successful businessman who sold International Farm Equipment and Pontiac Autos. Patriarch of the Kuhn and the Kaan Families who was solid as Mt. Rushmore and a pleasure to know. The grandfather to my most special friend Carmen Gibson Hardesty.

Thomas Lasater (Korean Conflict) - I graduated with Tommy in '52. He was killed shortly later in an air crash. Never knew him without a smile. Taken from us much too young. Devoted friend.

Harry Olinger (WWI) - "Olinger's" store in the Ranger Building was beyond compare. Harry dressed us fit to meet the Queen. Great line of cowboy boots and a gentleman's gentleman. Uncle to Jim Griffith, Jr.

Lloyd Roberts (WWII) - Came home to Lusk in a gray metal casket. We all came out to honor his ultimate sacrifice. He was one of twelve children. I was close to brothers Wesley, Jack and Alvin. Had a crush on his beautiful sister Evelyn, L.H.S. cheerleader 1946-1950.

Charles "Chuck" Vaughan (WWI) - The barber every barber should be. Cut our hair and listened to our gripes. Gave us council. All for $1.25.

Joseph McConaughey (WWI) - Wheat farmer in Northern Niobrara County. Growing up Joe was one of my "champions." He and wife Flora were among the main reasons the building of the Lusk Open Bible Church now The Alliance Church became reality.

Leslie Huff (WWII) - Operated the Lusk Flying Service. Killed in airplane accident near Sundance. Gave me my first airplane trip. A special man with a big heart who died much before his time.

Floyd Hart (WWII) - My "second" father. Long time most successful athletic coach and School Administrator. Wounded at the "Battle of the Bulge." Resides today in Riverton with wife Marjorie. Just celebrated his 94th birthday.

Also personal school chums Ken Freeman, Don Johnson, Don Keys, Norman Penfield, Jim Reed, Delbert Smith, George Sturman, Ralph Wasserburger, Rich Fernau and Jim Pennington. All served during and after the Korean Conflict. All are now gone to their eternal rewards. Remembered fondly, each left a mark on my own life and will forever be appreciated. Just a few of the hundreds that helped make Lusk, Manville, Lance Creek and all Niobrara a most special place on earth. Today I'm a richer person for having had the opportunity to know, love and respect each of these true American Patriots.

George Flint
Reno, Nevada




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