Services. Carol married Steve Benzing 28 Jun 1975. They have 3 children: Erika, Ryan and Kara  Warren Lee graduated from Decorah High School in 1973. He has worked at the Winneshiek Coop in Ridgeway for 19 years. Warren married Linda Lowe of Ionia, IA 5 Sep 1992. They have 2 children: Amber Marie and Kyle Lee. Warren and Linda live in Ridgeway. Connie graduated from Decorah High School in 1974. She has worked for Usgaard & Smith for 17 years. Connie married Dave Busta 7 Aug 1976. They have 2 sons: Mike and Tom. Ruth Ann  graduated from Decorah High School in 1977. She married Steve Novak 23 Sep 1990. They have 2 children: Cody Joseph Stuart and Megan Leigh. Steve served with the Army Reserve Engineers in Decorah from Feb 1983-Feb 1995. He does custom work for farmers. Ruth Ann has worked at Rockwell Collins since 1978. Weslev Jon lives at home and has farmed the Century Family Farm since graduating from Decorah High School in 1982. This farm originally belonged to Wesley's greatgrandfather Henry E. Fretheim. Wesley is employed at Camcar-Textron in Decorah besides farming.

Bio Photo

Threshing scene on Herbert Fretheim farm, 1955. People, left to right: Olaf Fretheim (machine tender), Robert Brown (grain hauler), Wayne Fretheim (watching), and Russel Rustad standing by tractor.

Herbert was born in the home of his grandparents, Henry and Anna Fretheim in Madison Twp. His parents lived there the first years of their marriage until they moved to a farm north of Decorah in Canoe Twp. They lived there 2 years.

In 1929 a house and barn were built on the east section of the Henry Fretheim farm. Soon after, the farm was divided in half. Olaf Fretheim (Herbert’s father) got the east half and John Fretheim got the other half with the original buildings. Herb and his sisters, Olive and Arlene, attended school at District #6. They had to walk 1 1/2 miles to school. In 1931 Herb became a charter member of the VFW Junior Drum and Bugle Corps in Decorah. Members had to be sons of VFW fathers who served in World War I. Herb was 10 years old and played the drums. It is now known as the "Decorah Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps.” Herb has 2 grandchildren in the corps now; Ryan Benzing plays the trumpet and Kara Benzing plays the French horn.

Herb started working in the fields when he was 9 years old. He did plowing, dragging and cultivating corn with 3 horses - Daisy, Dewey and Dexter. Once while he was dragging, his sister Olive wanted to drive the horses. Herb would not let her, so they had a fight. Herb walked home, followed by Olive, with the horses left standing in the field. Quote Herb “I don’t like horses today as I had to work with them.”

Bio Photo

Threshing on the Herbert Fretheim farm, 1955. The threshing machine belonged to Olaf and Johnny Fretheim. Machine tender is Olaf Fretheim.

Herb’s grandfather, Henry Fretheim owned a threshing machine, corn shredder and Rumely Oil Pull tractor and did threshing and silo filling for the neighbors. Henry lost his right hand in a shredder accident. Henry’s brother, Johnny, got his hand caught in the shredder first. Henry went to help him and both lost their right hands. This influenced Herb to be careful around machinery.

Bio Photo

Cutting Oats on Herbert Fretheim (cousin) driving the Oliver 60 tractor.

Herb started high school in Ridgeway. He walked across the fields since it was 5 miles by the road. Herb's parents then moved to St. Charles, MN where they owned and operated a cafe for 2 years. Herb went to St. Charles High School for a year and then quit to work in the cafe. The family then moved back to the farm.

Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as birth dates of people that maybe living is not included. See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

Please, contact the County Coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021