Elizabeth Regina Bruch

Elizabeth Bruch in 1976, at her 100th Birthday Party
Elizabeth Bruch in 1976, at her 100th Birthday Party

Elizabeth Bruch celebrates her 101st birthday, 1977.
Elizabeth Bruch celebrates her 101st birthday, 1977.

Gravestone photos courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
Gravestone photos courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

(October 13, 1876 - November 4, 1980)

The Lusk Herald
November 6, 1980

Elizabeth Bruch

Elizabeth Bruch, Niobrara's oldest resident at the age of 104, died Tuesday at the Niobrara Nursing Home where she had been a resident for eight years.

Rosary is being held this Thursday evening and Mass for Christian Burial will be Friday.

Elizabeth Regina Bruch was born October 13, 1876, at Mt. Carmel, Carroll County, Iowa. She was the fourth of twelve children born to Anton Bruch and Bernadina Goedde Bruch. Both parents were immigrants to the United States from Germany, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in sailing ships.

Elizabeth received her early education at the Mt. Carmel rural school. Later, when the family left the farm and moved to Carroll City, she attended St. Peter and Paul Convent School where she became interested in singing in the church choir. She enjoyed this as long as she was able to sing.

In early spring, 1894, the family left Iowa and established a farm home near Oakdale, Antelope County, Neb. It was here that Elizabeth was first employed by Wolfe & Bros., as a salesclerk. Because shops at the time did not carry ladies ready-to-wear, there was need for seamstresses. Elizabeth became interested in sewing and she herself became an accomplished seamstress. On occasion Elizabeth would live with a family during which time she sewed for each family member. One person in particular that Elizabeth outfitted was the mother of Darrell Zannuch, a famous producer of silent movies in the 1920's.

In 1906, the Bruchs moved to Sturgis, S. D. Elizabeth found immediate employment as a clerk in The General Store, and later became manager of the New York Store, a ladies ready-to-wear branch of the Deadwood store.

After store hours Elizabeth sewed for many of her customers. The wife of a doctor at Ft. Meade contacted her to make a complete summer wardrobe. The woman was going with her husband to the Panama Canal. He had been transferred there to help fight the malaria outbreak which took so many lives.

Weekends were a busy time roaming the beautiful Black Hills and exploring the many caves located in the hills.

In 1910, the family moved further west. This time to homestead in the newly established Niobrara County which had formerly been a part of Converse County.

When the family arrived there was no Catholic church. Mass was said twice a month at the Oddfellows Hall with a priest from Douglas officiating.

In 1911, a year before St. Leo's was built, Father Ignatuis Berna assisted in forming the first Altar Society of which Elizabeth was a charter member. Elizabeth was quite active in church affairs and sang in the church choir for years.

Life on the homestead was quiet, so many hours were spent doing needlework, much of which was donated to the church for bazaars and other fund raising projects.

Elizabeth had many hobbies which included textile painting and photo tinting. She spent endless hours working with her garden and flowers and still found time to be an active member of the Divide Tumbleweed Extension Club. The club was established in 1936 and Elizabeth was a charter member.

During the ten presentations of "The Legend of the Rawhide" Elizabeth played a prominent role as an Indian squaw. She helped with the preparation of the presentation.

Until eight years ago Elizabeth made her home at the Bruch ranch east of Lusk. However, following injuries incurred in a fall, Elizabeth has been a resident of the Niobrara County Nursing Home.

Rosary is being held this Thursday, Nov. 6 at the Peet Mortuary Chapel at 7:00 p.m. Mass for Christian Burial will be Friday, Nov. 7, at St. Leo's Catholic Church with the Reverend Bernard Bianco officiating beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Minerva Watson will be organist, while Jeroldine Waldock sings "Ave Maria" and "Panis Angelicus".

Interment will be in the Lusk Cemetery. Pallbearers are Chuck Bruch, Joe Bruch, Gregg Bruch, John Bruch, Bernard Bruch, and Joe Bruch. Honorary bearers are Paul Pfister, Harry Austin, William Miller, Ernie Hansen, Bill Bredthauer, Albert Ruffing and Leslie ZumBrunnen.

Memorials may be sent to Niobrara County Nursing Home.

Elizabeth is survived by two brothers, Albert, Cheyenne, Carl, Lusk; and one sister, Pauline, also of Lusk and many nieces, nephews, and friends and loved ones.

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