When my maternal grandfather, Louis Hermann Riedel, turned 75 (in 1944), the local newspaper in Minden City, Michigan, wrote an article about him to acknowledge all he had contributed to the community. Nearly 75 more years have passed, and now I’m writing to commemorate the 149th year of his birth (February 16, 2018).
“Louie” (as he was always known) came to this country from Germany as a three-year-old. The family lived in a log cabin surrounded by forests with wolves, bears, and foxes. When he was eight he helped his father prepare the ground for farming by driving a team of oxen.
His father started a grain elevator, and when Louie became an adult he ran the business, expanded it by adding a lumber yard. He was twice president of the village and a founding member of the Chamber of Commerce. He was instrumental in getting the municipal water works installed and was president of the school board.
He was also a master fisherman, and he taught me, his youngest grandchild, to bait a hook with a worm and where the best Lake Huron perch might be waiting to be caught.
Happy birthday, Grandpa. I’m proud to be your descendant.