Earl Thomsen and Elmer Schuettler – a generation bound for war

Earl Thomsen

Earl Thomsen

Earl Thomsen, the son of Harry Thomsen & Anna Ertzner, was born in Nebraska on June, 19, 1920.  In 1930 the family lived in Osmond; Earl was the second oldest of 4, although there would be six siblings eventually with Earl as the only son. Harry and Anna were both from Nebraska, and 3 of Earl’s 4 grandparents were born in Germany. Mr. Thomsen was the proprietor of a gravel pit. And in 1940, still in Osmond, Earl had completed high school and worked as a laborer in his father’s gravel pit. The day before the 1940 census Earl has worked 72 hours in the gravel pit in one week! No wonder signing up for the war looked good.  According to his gravestone Earl was Tech 4 in the US army. Father Harry was also a veteran, he served in WWI.  Earl died in Nebraska on April 11, 1989 and is buried in Immanuel Cemetery with a sister, his mother and father in Osmond. I have no information on whether or not he married and had children.

Elmer August Schuettler (love the hair!), was also a WWII veteran. He was born March 14, 1921 in

Elmer Schuettler in 1938

Elmer Schuettler in 1938

Osmond and died July 13, 1996 in Omaha. When he enlisted in the army in 1942 he was single with no dependents, working at a gas station, and had completed high school. He enlisted at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX. Elmer was the son of Henry & Elizabeth, both of Illinois. In 1930, Elmer was the youngest of 4 living in Plum Grove, Nebraska; although he had other older siblings who had already left home – 7 in all I believe. 1940 Elmer lived with his brother Rudolph and family – still in Plum Grove. His brother was a farmer. Elmer (age 19) was an attendant at a gas station. All 4 grandparents were from Germany. He married a Norma Huey. Elmer is buried in Immanuel Cemetery (same place as Earl Thomsen). However, Elmer’s parents are buried in Rose Hill cemetery in another town in Pierce county.

These gents had similar paths to many young men of their time I imagine. Graduating high school in a nation still struggling with the Depression. Likely not a lot of jobs (gas stations, gravel pits not exactly living the dream), and, with so many sibling, it would have been hard for parents to send them to college. Signing up to fight for their county was likely a very attractive offer.

Also interesting is that these men, and many others, were going off to fight a country that their grandparents had immigrated from. Was that a cause for pause? Did their parents or grandparents feel torn? Both of these graduates from Osmond High School in 1938 came back from the war and settled in or near their home towns.

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