A look back at Laurel History: March 12, 2020

Sgt. Theodore R. Freund returning to Laurel after success as crew chief in 1945
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Compiled By Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, March 12, 2020
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In 1920, the world was on the cusp of an automotive revolution. As seen in this ad from the Outlook, many folks still needed horse collars for wagons, while others were getting tires and other items for their automobiles.

25 years ago March 15. 1995

Get ready to rumble on St. Patrick’s Day. Former lightweight contender Todd “Kid” Foster is coming to Laurel to tangle with local legend Sonny O’Day in a special boxing match Friday, March 17, at 5:30 p.m. at Sorry O’Day’s Bar and Lounge on East Main Street. Preliminary bouts will begin at 5 p.m. Of his bout with Sonny O’Day, who admits to being 44 years old, the 27-year-old Foster said, “I’m coming for a good cause. It will be good to see the bar and Laurel. And of course, since the fight is being held on St. Paddy’s Day, there’s no shortage of blarney being bandied about. Foster, a native Montanan who lives in Great Falls, said, ”Sonny might be old but I’m sure he’s good. He has experience over me.” A member of the 1988 Olympic boxing team, Foster added jokingly, “But I think I can take him.”

A team of six Special Olympians represented Laurel in the Montana Winter Special Olympics at Red Lodge Mountain. The team of Seth Spelts, Chris Badura, Jason Tanskanen, Amanda Lardis, Sarah Sayler and Katie Tyler brought home two gold medals, six siliver, two bronze, two fourth-place ribbons and one fifth-place ribbon. They were coached by Steve Ahmann and Shilloy Lowe.

50 years ago March 18, 1970

Meeting for only one hour and 45 minutes, Laurel’s aldermen were unusually quiet Tuesday night. The city’s business was completed with dispatch. It was jokingly stated that the short meeting was a birthday present to the city clerk, Dorothy Bundy. A meeting with representatives of Great Western Sugar in relation to its operation of the Laurel beet dump was presented by Thomas Bradley, the city attorney. He stated that upon examining the records in the county courthouse he had discovered that all streets and alleys in the dump area had been vacated. The present objections to the dump location stem largely from allnight loading operations during the beet campaign this year. The other major issues of the evening were a request for curb-to-curb paving on one block each of Hazel and Fir Aves. in the area of the Big Sky Trailer Court, and operation of the city dump.

Miss Marsha Linger, Park City High School junior was voted “Cheer Queen” of the Pep Club, to represent Park City at the state basketball tournament in Helena. Others nominated were Julie Hereto, Maria Wells and Diane Michael.

Randy Peterson, Tracy Goggins, Cindy Baus, and Kerron Bernhardt will represent Laurel at the area spelling bee early next month at Petro Hall at Eastern Montana College. The four students were maned winners of the Laurel City Spelling Bee, held Monday in the senior high school auditorium. Randy Peterson successfully spelled gratuity, after the word had been misspelled by second place winner Tracy Goggins. Peterson also had to correctly spell docile before he was named the winner. Third place winner, Cindy Baus, went down on unconscious and fourth place winner, Kerron Bernhardt, misspelled murmur. Cash prizes were presented to the first and second place speller in each grade classification by members of the Laurel Woman’s Club.

75 years ago March 14. 1945

Mrs. F.W. Gundermann, the former Mrs. Ruth Platz who was a resident of Laurel for a number of years, arrived here Tuesday from her home in Palo Alto, Calif. She is the mother of the late Lieut. Lew Richmond who was killed in action Feb. 10 on Luzon island, in the Philippines. Mrs. Gundermann received a telegram from the war department March 1, notifying her of the officer’s death. Later she received a letter confirming the telegram. She was informed that as soon as detailed information was obtained the information would be given her, to such extent as would not endanger military security. Regulations provide for burial of the remains near the scene of action. The grave will be carefully marked and recorded, and after the war the surviving relatives will be contacted concerning the removal of the remains to this country. Mrs. Gundermann will spend a few days here for the transaction of business and to visit friends. Before the war her son was employed five years at the Laurel car shops.

Mrs. Elizabeth Parks, employed as a railroad caller, was injured Saturday morning when she was struck by a freight car in the Laurel yards. She was taken to St. Vincent’s hospital in Billings, and Wednesday night was removed to the N.P. hospital at Glendive.

Technical Sgt. Theodore R. Freund of Laurel, Mont., is on his way back to the United States after three year’s service with the Fifth Air Force Fighter Command in the Southwest Pacific and the Philippines. Sergeant Freund’s most recent duty was that of crew chief for Col. Charles H. MacDonald, current leading army ace in the Pacific. The Colonel and his “Putt Putt Maru,” as his P-38 Lightning is called, have shot down 26 Jap planes and feel very unhappy about the fact that there just are not any more Nips around the Philippines to shoot down. Because of Sergeant Freund’s work and that of the other crew chiefs, pilots of the Fifth Fighter Command’s 475th Fighter Group were able to fly planes kept in perfect shape and responded with 166 Jap planes shot from the skies in less than two months of aerial combat in the Philippines. Since he joined the group in the middle of 1943, the 475th has destroyed well over 500 Nip planes in the air and many more on the ground.

100 years ago March 10, 1920

L.B. Koons has bought the Ira Sullivan residence property on Fifth street, east of Colorado avenue, getting possession at once, and moved in last week. Mr. Sullivan has bought an eight-acre tract adjoining the city limits on the east and will build a dwelling there. The tract lies within one block of the city water supply.

G.E. Vandoren and J.E. Borles of the lower Clarke Fork, were in the city Monday on business connected with the Danford Ditch company, in which they are interested. They obtained an expression from the board of county commissioners assuring them that the course of the Clarke Fork river would be changed back this spring to the one it deserted two years ago.

In Byam news, Edith Huston has been quarantined for measles the past week, and away from home, too. They caught her the first day she returned to Laurel after her usual weekend at home. She is in good hands, however, and is already well on her way to recovery.

There have been quite a few changes made in the Byam valley during the past week. Phillip Fox moved his family from the Garfield place to the Bank farm east of Laurel, which we understand he has purchased. Following this removal Mr. Warfield moved his family from the Smith ranch to his own. L. Walker has returned to the Cottonwood and the Moore family is now occupying the place he vacated.

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