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Diane Boit: Fire Chief Lockbeam retires, 1971

Diane Boit: Fire Chief Lockbeam retires, 1971

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25 Years Ago – 1996

The Mandan Braves opened their football season with a 27-6 victory over Valley City. Mandan scored from afar three times as Joe Schneider returned a punt 85 yards and hauled in a 51-yard scoring pass from quarterback Sam Pulles, while Geoff Goetz snagged a 22-yard TD pass. Jaden Bitz’s one-yard scoring run was also set up by Eric Schmidt’s previous 24-yard dash. “We’ve got some confidence now and will have a great passing game this year,” said coach Tom Stebner.

Funeral services were held this past week for long-time grocery owner, William Joersz, 89. Joersz was born, raised and educated in the New Salem area. After his marriage to Florence Keller in 1929, the couple farmed 11 years before opening a general store and then a Super Valu store at Almont. After moving to Mandan in 1949. Joersz and his brother-in-law, Emil Moos, opened the J&M Super Valu. He then bought out his partner and founded Bill’s Super Valu. In 1961 he also acquired Lockbeam Hardware, which was renamed Marv’s Hardware for his son who became its manager. In 1968, Joersz sold his stores to his three sons, Wally, Marvin and Robert. After his wife Florence died in 1971, Joersz married Ruth Walters in 1981; she died February 1996. Survivors include: three sons, two daughters and their families, one stepdaughter, one sister, one brother.

Temps recorded Tuesday, Sept. 10: a high of 75 degrees; 50 above for the low.

50 Years Ago – 1971

More than 300 persons gathered at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Mandan this past weekend for a banquet honoring retiring 72-year old Fire Chief Frank “Blackie” Lockbeam who has served Mandan in the fire department for 51 years, 33 of them as chief. Sponsors of the event were the Mandan Fire Department personnel. Master of ceremonies was Mandan’s new Fire Chief, Pete Gartner.

During the evening, Chief Lockbeam and his wife, Rose, were presented with a variety of gifts and mementos including: an old fashioned kerosene lamp, painted blue, an old fireman’s symbol of courage; a large framed proclamation from the city commissioners lauding Lockbeam’s conscientious efforts in saving lives and properties of Mandan citizens; a retirement watch; a fire extinguisher decanter from Rural Fire Chief Harold Helferich; and a new white firemen’s hat and raincoat. The fireman’s coat was inscribed on the back by Father Sullivan with the words, “Full absolution for all your Cussing.” Friends and fellow firemen were invited to autograph the coat during the evening.

Lockbeam joined the Mandan Volunteer Fire Department in 1921 at the age of 21. “In those days, we had a two-wheeled hose cart that had to be hand drawn,” he said. “During the day, a team of horses from the city dray line would hook onto the car for the firemen,” Lockbeam is one of the 18 charter members listed on the plaque, dated Oct. 21, 1923, for the organization for the Mandan Fire Department. He was named chief in 1938.

“Blackie” is a nickname acquired from a former employer in the early days, perhaps in reference to his appearance after shoveling coal into a store’s furnace. However, Lockbeam’s wife doesn’t appreciate the nickname, and says she never calls him anything but Frank.

75 Years Ago – 1946

A city bus system has been established, with service offered to Mandan residents in “all four corners of the city.” Former servicemen Ralph Ferderer and Art F. Digby, both of Mandan, are the owners of the new business. A regular scheduled loop will be from the main part of the city to the corner of 13th Avenue N.W. and Second Street to 11th Avenue N.E. and First Street. The loop will also include the Syndicate and Girard Addition. There will be two 30-passenger buses available in Mandan at all times.

Behind the brilliant pitching of Al Keck during the first five innings and a perfect relief job by Jack Johnson, the Mandan Trainers defeated the Penitentiary Grove Giants, 4-1, at the Pen last Saturday afternoon. The Pen team managed only four hits off Keck, while Johnson held them to no hits for the final four innings.

R.A. Countryman has resigned as secretary of the Mandan Mercantile Co. and as superintendent of its lumber yards. His resignation brings to a close a 44-year career with the business, beginning in July 1902. During his long residence in Mandan, he has been active in various civic groups, including serving several terms as director of the Mandan Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as treasurer and director of Mandan’s Deaconess Hospital and is a member of the Masonic Temple, the Mandan Elks and a charter member of the Rotary Club.

Mr. and Mrs. Anton Johnson of Mandan have announced the marriage of their daughter Bernice to Benjamin Holbert, son of Mrs. Georgia Holbert and the late Mr. Holbert, Onamia, Minn. The wedding was solemnized in the Presbyterian Church with Rev. G.W. Stewart officiating. The bride wore a brown gabardine suit with matching accessories, along with a corsage of talisman roses. Her attendant, Mrs. Glen Addington of Bismarck, wore a green gabardine suit with black accessories, plus a corsage of pink roses. The bride is a Mandan High School graduate and is employed by the C.W. Hendricks Company in Bismarck. Glen Addington attended the groom, who served in the navy for more than two years during the war. He is also employed at the Hendricks Co.

100 Years Ago – 1921

“Morton County has a new treasurer: William P. Ellison, the son of former county commissioner, John Ellison of Huff. Mr. Ellison is a young man of high repute, a graduate of the state university and, during the war, held a lieutenant’s commission and was badly gassed in action. A. W. Furness, who is retiring after four years of service, leaves the position in the best possible condition, by relinquishing to his successor more than $225,600 in the treasury. Mr. Furness has accepted a position with the First National Bank of St Paul.

“The Perfection Baking Company, owned by L.F. Lyman, is the first Mandan business firm to make use of the city’s newly adopted trademark “Where the West Begins.” The slogan is now stamped on their bread wrappers, along with Perfection’s original slogan, “Good to the Last Crumb.”

“Funeral services were held at Mandan’s St. Joseph’s Church for Mrs. Theresa Pope, aged 34, wife of H.S. Pope, local railroad engineer. She died following a three-weeks’ illness of typhoid fever. Besides her husband, she is survived by nine children and her mother, Mrs. Yunck of Mandan.

“Morris Carlson, who lives between Freda and Raleigh, was badly cut last week when the horses he was driving, attached to a mower, started to run away, throwing him from his seat located in front of the sickle. His right hand was badly mangled, making it necessary to amputate three fingers. The sickle also took a large chuck out of his right hip. According to neighbors, Carlson is recovering nicely and is anxious to return to field work.”

125 Years Ago – 1896

“On Thursday, Sept. 10, at 2:30 p.m., the thermometer recorded 62 degrees above zero.

“There’s a hint of orange and yellow colors appearing in our trees.

“A shower of rain would be welcome. The street sprinkler proved itself very useful on Main Street this week.

“A score or more of Indians from Standing Rock, enroute from an agency on the Poplar River in Montana where they have been visiting, passed through the city yesterday. They were accompanied by 100 or more horses.

“Lovers of football in this good city of Mandan have organized a football team, and it is anxious to meet any team in the state. No club is barred, but Bismarck is preferred.

“It is not generally known, but the tires used on the driving wheels of a locomotive’s engine are made by Krupp of Germany, and they cost, laid down in Mandan, $599.70 for a set of six wheels.

“A party of Pennsylvania tourists passed through the city on Tuesday afternoon on their way home from a 10-day tour of the Yellowstone Park. They occupied a special train which comprised a dining car, several sleepers, a compartment car, a composite car, a smoker and an observation car. Several of the party, who carried Kodaks, occupied themselves, whilst the train was at the depot platform, taking pictures of the surroundings.”

Diane Boit can be reached at


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