Minonk Class of 1943 60th Reunion, Friday, September 19, 2003

The Minonk High School class of 1943 held their class reunion aboard the “Spirit of Peoria River Boat” September 19, 2003. Below is a class picture taken aboard the boat.


Front row left: Thelma Kuehl Hammerick, Shirley Kettwich Lutomski, Emily Danekas Zivney, Josephine Bolander Smith, Lila Willems Miller, Gloria Moline Grant, Garner Kleen
Second row left: Joan Johnson Schneider, Beatrice Meiner Rients, Jack Titus, Donald Sullivan, Kathyrn Stevenson Eden, Doris Meils Hershberger, Dale Johnson, Bob Cufaude


[Source: Fieldcrest Community Unit School]

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Gesche Kettwich (1850-1952)Gesche Kettwich (1850-1952)

Gesche Hinrichs Schloemer Kettwich is not a name that most people in Minonk will remember since she died in 1952. In addition, she was not a civic leader or a prominent name in social circles. However, her life was long and interesting and reflects the lifestyle of the early settlers in this area. She had eleven children, most of whom settled in Minonk, and had 122 living descendants at the time of her death.

As a little boy, I remember my Great Grandma Kettwich as a little soft-spoken woman who spoke mostly German. My mother would translate our conversations with her. I also remember her as the typical widow lady of that time. She always wore long dresses that hung to the floor and more often than not the dresses had long sleeves and were black. In addition, she wore the old granny shoes which were laced black pointed shoes with a heavy heel.

Grandma Kettwich was born in Germany in 1850 and married Uffe Gerdes Kettwich in that country on January 28, 1871. They immigrated to America by steamship later that year and went directly from New York to Sacramento, California by train. From Sacramento they took a stagecoach to Norfolk, California where they bought a five room furnished house for $103 and sold it for $50 when they left.

Her husband Uffe spent two and one-half years digging for gold. The men dug along the river bank, emptied a spade of mud into a box with a screened bottom. Water was flushed through the box, washing away the mud and the dirt,leaving a deposit of gold nuggets. Some pieces of gold were as large as peas, but most were smaller.
Besides the regular house work, Grandma Kettwich had a garden where she raised beans, peas, potatoes, cabbage, etc. Peach trees and grapevines were grown, and a small patch of wheat was raised to feed the chickens.

In California the summer days were hot and the nights cool. They experienced a few small earthquakes.

Their first born child Gerhardt was born in California but died at a young age when he was bitten by a snake as he sat next to the garden watching his mother tend the garden. Some relatives say they remember Grandma wearing the rattlers on her dress from the snake that she killed . Later they had another child, Lena, who was six weeks old when Uffe and Gesche came to Minonk.
They lived in Minonk two and one-half years. During this time Uffe worked in the coal mine store, furniture store, and the brick yard. In 1875 they moved to a farm east of Minonk where they raised their eleven children.

They retired in 1916 and moved to Flanagan. Mr. Kettwich died in 1923. After his death Grandma Kettwich spent the rest of her life living with her various children. This was before nursing homes were popular and families would take care of their own elderly. Grandma Kettwich would stay for 3 or 4 months with one of her children and then go stay with another. This went on for almost 30 years. To my knowledge she was never in a hospital.

Grandma Kettwich’s longevity was passed on to her children. The ages at which they died were Lena Bauman 87, George 73, Henry 77, Lucy Osterman 96, John 92, Carl 85, Eilert 93, Uffe 94, Sena Rients 97, Anna Post 87. A daughter Christina Wyman died at 36 during the 1918 flu epidemic. Grandma Kettwich was remembered as a small active woman with warm brown eyes, cheerful, considerate of others and a devout Christian woman. Her daily prayers meant much to her.

I remember going to my Grandma Bauman’s house after Great Grandma Kettwich’s funeral in 1952. The house was teeming with her many relatives. The mood was joyous rather than sad. Everyone knew that this would be the last time there would be such a large gathering of the family. Also, everyone knew that we were celebrating a long life full of many great experiences.

My mother once told me that Great Grandma Kettwich had heart trouble when she was in her forties. But she still lived to be almost 102. It is obvious to me that the best cure for heart trouble is to be surrounded with the love of a large and caring family.


Front row left: Tina Wyman, Sena Rients, Uffe Kettwich, Lena Bauman, Gesche Kettwich, Ann Post, and Lucy Osterman.
Back row left: Henry, John, George, Eilert, Charles, and Uffe Kettwich Jr. Picture around 1912.

Research by her granddaughter Shirley Lutkomski.
Written by her great grandson David Uphoff.
Originally published at 
Published with author’s permission.

Marna Sue Kettwich (1951-2011)

(Thanks to Sue Kettwich Bruch for keeping me informed!)

Marna Sue Rutledge Kettwich, 59, of O’Fallon, IL, born October 1, 1951 in Arthur, IL passed away September 1, 2011 at Memorial Hospital in Belleville, IL after a courageous three year battle with cancer. Marna attended First Baptist Church of O’Fallon for the majority of her adult life. A graduate of Arthur High School in 1969, Marna continued her education at McKendree University, where she was a member of the Alpha Omega Society, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1973 with a double-major in English Education and History. While at McKendree, Marna, affectionately known as Marn, met her loving husband Paul. In 1977, she earned a Master of the Arts in Counseling from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Continue reading Marna Sue Kettwich (1951-2011)

Clarence Kettwich (1914-2008)

Clarence Gerhart Kettwich, 94, Minonk, passed away at 10:35 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 9, 2008) at the Apostolic Christian Home, Roanoke.

His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Minonk. The Rev. Craig Swenson will officiate. Burial will be in St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery, Benson. Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until the start of the service Saturday at the church. Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home in Minonk is handling the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church, Apostolic Christian Home of Roanoke or a charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.ruestmanharrisfuneralhome.com
He was born June 27, 1914, in Minonk, a son of Henry and Phoebe Barth Kettwich. He married Elda L. Moritz on Oct. 29, 1940, in Benson. She passed away Feb. 11, 1984. He later married Lillian Harms in 1985 in Minonk. She passed away in 2002.

Survivors include two sons, Larry (Lynn) Kettwich, Lake Villa, and Donald (Sharon) Kettwich, Albuquerque, N.M.; one daughter, Jeanne Kettwich, East Peoria; one sister, Ruth Timmerman, Minonk; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters.

Clarence was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Minonk.

Clarence farmed in the Minonk area for 50 years. After his retirement, he enjoyed doing woodworking, tinkering in his shop and bird hunting.

He was a member of the Woodford County Farm Bureau and a past member of the Minonk Sportsmen’s Club.


Thanks to Amy Robbins-Tjaden for providing this obituary!

Lucile Johanna Kettwich Tolan (1922-2007)

MINONK — Lucile Johanna Tolan, 84, Minonk, died at 5:45 a.m. Sunday (July 15, 2007) at Heritage Manor Nursing Home, Minonk.

Her funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Minonk, with the Rev. Daniel Gansch-Boythe officiating. Burial will follow in Minonk Township Cemetery, Minonk. Visitation will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. prior to services Wednesday at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Minonk Ambulance; Heritage Manor Volunteers; or St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Minonk.

Calvert & Froelich Memorial Home, Minonk, is in charge of arrangements.

Lucile was born July 28, 1922, in Minonk, the daughter of John and Gretke Harms Kettwich. She married Lyle E. Tolan on June 22, 1941, in Minonk. He preceded her in death on March 3, 1988.

Surviving are two daughters, Linda (Norbert) Soltwedel, Shumway, and Lois (John) Freberg, Oneida; two sons, Emerson (Betty) Tolan, Minonk, and James (Barbara) Tolan, Rochelle; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, two sisters, one brother and one grandson.

She was raised and educated in Minonk. She was a homemaker and enjoyed spending time with her family.

She was a member of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Minonk. She was a 4-H Leader for many years, and a member of the Woodford County Home Extension.

Source: Bloomington, Illinois Pantagraph online

Alfred Tjark Kettwich (1918-2007)

Minonk- Alfred Tjark Kettwich, 88 of 116 S. Elm St., Minonk passed away at 8:05 P.M. May 25, 2007 at Heritage Manor Nursing Home, Minonk.

He was a member of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Minonk where his funeral services will be at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 . Rev. Daniel Gansch-Boythe will officiate. Burial will be in Minonk Township Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home, Minonk.

Alfred was born July 5, 1918 in Minonk Township a son of John and Geskhe Harms Kettwich. He married Mabel M. Warnkes on July 9, 1939 at Benson. She survives.

Other survivors include a daughter, Beverly (Arlen) Ruestman, Toluca; a son, Brad (Tina Whirrell) Kettwich, Eureka; a sister, Lucille Tolan, Minonk; 9 grandchildren, Brenda (Norbert) Wacker, Ken (Jocelyn) Kettwich, Laura Kitts, Kelly Adolphson, Greg Ruestman, Paul (Katie) Kettwich, Richard (Kristin) Kettwich, Bruce Kettwich and Robert Kettwich; 9 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren and 5 step grandchildren. He was preceded in death by 2 sons, Everett and Glenn, and a grandson, Brian Kettwich; and two sisters, Alice Uphoff and Marie Krug.

Alfred was a longtime farmer and an avid outdoors man. He truly enjoyed hunting, trapping and fishing. He was a former member of the Woodford County Farm Bureau and a 4-H leader. Memorial contributions may be directed to Heritage Manor Nursing Home, Minonk of the Communities of Maple Lawn, Eureka.

Online condolences may be sent to his family at www.ruestmanharrisfuneralhome.com