Bio Photo

Walter Womeldorf family 1964 Dean, James, Wayne, Eleanor and Walter.

1937 at the home of A.C. Johnson, 509 North Street, in West Decorah with Rev. Peter Kjorlog officiating. It was a small wedding with close family and the Harold Jensens, people Eleanor had worked for before getting married. After a short trip to Minnesota, Walter and Eleanor lived on a farm owned by Alonzo Harvey near Ossian, IA. The pay was $45 per month with some milk for house use — an experience never forgotten.

In the fall of 1937 Walter’s folks needed help on the home farm as son Roger had enlisted in the Navy and was awaiting his call. Walter and Eleanor lived and worked there until 1940 when they bought John and Iverine Johnson’s home place that adjoined the Womeldorf farm, but actually moved there in 1941. The farm had been rented out for years, and needed a lot of work. Eleanor and Johanna decided to tear down an old woodshed, taking out each nail, but got nowhere. When the men came, they just gave the building a push and down it went. They rescued the good nails and lumber, and gave up on future work like that! Living on the Johnson place was an experience. At first the road to the place was anything but good, just a trail up the hill, and muddy. To the south toward Siewers Springs, they had to cross the Trout Run Creek by driving down through the water. One time they started to cross about the time the creek was coming up after a heavy rainstorm. The car stalled in the middle of the creek. Jim and Eleanor sat in the car while Walter went for the tractor, and watched the water come up higher and higher on the car, not daring to get out. When Walter returned with the tractor to pull the car out, the rope broke and they had to leave the car and wade across in over waist-high water — thankful to be safe! At times they used the railroad bridge to cross on foot when the water was high — the cream hauler would walk across to get the cream. The eggs would be taken across and groceries and feed brought home. After trying a culvert which would wash out in floods, a concrete bridge was finally built over Trout Run.

A memorable event was the graduation of Walter’s brother Roger from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD on 19 Jun 1942. Eleanor, along with Albert and Johanna, made the trip by bus. Lucille Winger also went to be Roger’s partner and Florence Nelson went to be with Thomas Lynch, also graduating. They attended the presentation of awards, dress parade, the presentation of colors, and watched hundreds of men performing drills, never one out of step at any time. The farewell ball was elegant with the men in white uniforms and white gloves, with their dates wearing beautiful formals. Another high point of the trip was the Rear Admiral’s Garden Party. Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay with Roger, and taking a ferry across the bay another day to the beach were unforgettable times!

After almost six years, Walter and Eleanor were thrilled when James Curtis came to fill their lives on 17 Jan 1943. Jim was always “grown-up” as he was around so many adults. In 1945 they bought the 98 acre Schaub place. Jim was almost five years old when Wayne Roger was born 18 Aug 1947. Walter and Eleanor were living with Albert and Johanna on the home place again, so the boys never lacked for attention. Dean Alan was born 18 May 1949, when Wayne was 21 months old. It meant lots of work at the time, but because they were so close in age, they have always been great companions.

There are so many fond memories of Jo”, as she was fondly called — her going to Farm Bureau Womens' Chorus, Carry-on-Club, Ladies Aid, and so many other places together with Eleanor. The family has been thankful to have had the opportunity to care for Jo the last month she lived — to show our love and appreciation for the many things that she had done for us. Johanna passed away 27 Aug 1956.

Walter and Eleanor purchased the home farm in Decorah Twp. from Albert and Jo Womeldorf in 1955. On 25 Mar 1962 they celebrated their 25th anniversary, but had to postpone the actual celebration for a month due to the death of Eleanor’s mother 23 March. An open house was celebrated 29 Apr 1962. Albert Womeldorf passed away 15 Aug 1965, just two weeks before grandson James was to be married. One week before the wedding a cousin Kenneth Jevne was killed in a car accident. Kenneth was supposed to be an usher in the wedding, and must have had a premonition of his death because he had told his brother Robert, “If I can’t usher, you can do it."

In 1980 Walter retired from farming, and all the buildings and 17 acres were sold to Dennis Huinker. He and Eleanor built a new house on their property, closer to the city limits, what is now 2396 Middle Calmar Road.

Walter and Eleanor had three sons: James Curtis graduated from Decorah High School in 1961 (see separate story). WayoeRoger graduated from Decorah High School in 1965 and attended Luther College for one year. He joined the U.S. Navy and spent some time in the Philippines. Wayne married Ruth Seiverding on 14 Aug 1971. Ruth died 23 Nov 1972 of complications of diabetes. He married Susan Kay Wilder on 7 Sep


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.

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this page was last updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2021