Bill Grimme’s Mule ran out of gas:
Posting from Bill Grimme (65): Birmingham, AL
Gary,Dick’s story about the mule and the turpentine reminded me of another story. A fellow was driving down the road when he saw a farmer in the field kneeling next to a horse lying on the ground. The fellow stopped and walked over to the farmer and, as he approached, he saw the farmer pouring liquid down the horse’s throat, about a gallon’s worth. The fellow asked the farmer, “What did you give to that sick horse?” and the farmer said, “Gasoline.” The fellow says, “Are you crazy? That will kill him.” Just then, the horse jumped to it’s feet, kicking and bucking, took off running, jumped three fences, and began running at a gallop around the field. The fellow says to the farmer, “That’s just amazing. The gasoline really worked.” About that time, the horse stopped suddenly and fell over on it’s side. The fellow says, “I knew it was too good to be true, the horse is dead!” The farmer says, “Nope, just out of gas, again.”.


Reply to Happy Birthday message:
From Colette Hosmer (64): Santa Fe, NM
Hi Evie,

I always told you that you had a mind like a steel trap (or if I didn’t, I meant to). January 30th it is! And, as families go, I often felt like the ninth Gottbreht kid.
Thanks so much for the note.
I think of you often,
Horse story
From Warren Anderson (65): Rolette, ND
Hi, Gary and all readers:
We need another horse story. This one took place in 1957, I was 11yrs old and my older brother, Lawrence was 13. Now it was not the first time dad sent us out with the team to haul a load of hay, and it was not the 1st time we played staghcoach and robbers. However we always done it with the hay rack empty. The hay road in the winter was a 2 & 1/2 mile round trip and it took us across two different lakes, through tall trees and pasture. We always had my brothers old 2520-winchester with us on this route and I would always sight in at big trees or fence post and go “bang” another robber lay dead. back to the day, we pitched on a good load of hay and started back and once off the field I yelled to Lawrence that the robbers were gaining on us we had to go faster. The horses were already at a fast trot because they knew it was home bound. ( I am now thinking i must have been cold so i needed a good robber game to warm myself up). Lawrence hollared and the horses shot into a canter. Now, for 200 yards was a nice level sleigh trail but the end of that route was down a steep bank onto the first lake. Dad had always warned us that the team had to walk down that bank or something would go wrong. We faithfully listened and did just that whether I was driving the team or Lawrence. Now, in my dream world of shooting robbers I hear my brother screaming ‘wow’ “stop” and other choce words. I turned forword and noticed we were damn close to the bank of the lake. Only then did real fear set in, (we had TV for a couple years already and i knew how fightening a staghcoach rollover was, people died.) I was dashing for a rear jump off the rack when i thought i heard Lawrence’s “death song”. I looked back and he was flying through the air like he was shot out of a cannon. The pin through the evener and sleigh had came out just starting down the bank and of course my brother had the reins wraped around his hands and he got pulled off, might quikly too. I stayed on the rack full of hay, the sleigh stearing pole dug in the ground and snow which stopped everthing pretty qiuck. Lawrence looked up at me and said,”i could have been killed.” I just said, “I know.” All my thoughts were on the team running full speed across the lake, it seemed i never took my eyes off them. Across the lake and over another hill and then all i saw was snow flying. I hollered at Lawrence that something happed right over the hill with the horses, but he never saw anything, I was still up on the load and alot higher that him so i was the only one that saw the snow cloud. I did beat my brother racing across the lake that day and even over the hill. There I could not beleive what was right in front of me. Our team were a team of blacks, dasiy was the much smaller mare and diamond was the bigger gelding—he was called diamond because he had a white star on his forehead. It appeared, dasiy fell and even must have rolled end over end and diamond had just kept running and dragging her until he had to stop or fall too. She was all white exept her big sorryful looking eyes and her two snorting nostrals and she could not move as she was so tangled with the driving lines and the rest of the harness. I told Lawrence, “we have to get dad” He says “you go– this is all your fault” Now, What a guilt trip on a 11 yr. old? I ran home in record time and found dad in the barn. I screamed at dad, that we had a runaway with the horses and he had to come quickly. By that time I was crying and he said, “why are you crying? did Lawrence get hurt? I quickly told him, no, but I thought dasiy was hurt. He quickly briddled one of our riding horses and we road double at a fast speed to the crash seen. I think every one of the harness straps were broke on dasiy and if they were not dad had to cut them to get her up. Luckly for all of us that day, the team nor my brother or I were hurt. Dad rested dasiy for about a week then she got back into her repaired harness. The sleigh or rack was not hurt. My brother and i learned a few more cuss words that day from good old dad. How we needed our dads when bad events happened. It seemed i quit the stagecoach and robbers game the rest of my winters on the farm. We never did tell dad the truth about that day but i feel he knew we were playing some kind of a game. Warren-65

John and Hazel Hiatt Horses
Reply/Pictures from Peggy Wurgler Axtman (71): Kent, WA


Because there seems to be a “horse” theme to the blog lately, I thought I would share more pictures with you and all readers of the horses belonging to John Hiatt. Please see three attached. I have good memories of John & Hazel and the times they brought their horses down to the Texaco station and even the times I got to visit their ranch north of Dunseith. I’ve probably ridden a horse only a couple of times since those days! Thanks for doing this.

Peggy (Wurgler) Axtman
Class of ‘71
Peggy, Thank you so much for this reply and sharing these pictures. It was great that you were able to visit our Alaska cruise group in Seattle, when we were loading buses for the cruise at the hotel in July 2009. We so very much enjoyed seeing you. You most certainly are still the very pretty girl we see in these pictures. Gary
Dave and Peggy Wurgler

Peggy Wurgler


Peggy Wurgler




Replies to Dale Pritchard’s Japan comments:
From Bob Lykins (Teacher): Hutto, TX




We had to have a yearly auto inspection when I lived in Japan. When I first got there the test was done by the Japanese at a testing station. Later, it was shifted to on-base. They checked a number of things including emissions. The emissions test was as you described except they checked to make sure you had a catalytic converter. The whole process from beginning to end took 10-15 minutes. The longest period of time was waiting in line to be checked. The Germany inspection was a lot tougher (I thought) as they really went over the exhaust system, brakes, and lights.




Follow up reply from Bob Lykins:
Too bad Dale didn’t have a connection with the Yukuza. Those guys really liked Americans right down to copying the mannerisums and dress of our 1920’s Chicago gangsters. I used to go to one of their hang-outs in Tachikawa for a beer. I never had a bit of trouble. My friendly bar-keep always had a solution to getting around the local regulations. But Dale was spot on when it came to travel. The Japanese always bragged that one was never more than a 5 minute walk from public transportation anywhere in Japan. I believe they were right as we traveled everywhere by train & bus. Except driving from Tachikawa Air Base to Atsugi Naval Air Station to shop in their BX. The 25 mile drive usually took about 2 hours but, hay, the Navy BX had such neat stuff that the Army PX and the Air Force BX didn’t have.








John Hill Family Identities
From Paula Fassett (71): North Branch, MN

Hi… I don’t see than anyone took the challenge of naming my cousins, the Hills, so I will……




What a great family!


Paula Fassett



Back row: Brenda, Murl, Johnny, Tim

Front Row: Joanne, Bruce, Lynn, Diane, Greg




Woody Gagnon Obituary
Posted by Vickie Metcalfe (70: Bottineau, ND
Simeon Grenier, Ed Milligan, ??, LTC Woody Gagnon, Henry Sunderland, Visitor, Visitor, Don Hosmer
Bismarck Tribune
Woody Gagnon dies at 96

George “Woody” Gagnon, 96, Bismarck, died January 30, 2011, at the Baptist Home“ My hobby is people and I get to meet all kinds,” he told the Associated Press in 1979. The retired colonel of the North Dakota National Guard and former justice of the peace recently penned an autobiography. He read excerpts from his book “The Woody I Know” in July 2010 at the Bismarck Public Library.

His impact in groundbreaking decisions for the state spans a wide area — energy, disasters with the National Guard, counsel to lawmakers, and right-hand man to Link in personnel, scheduling and administrative matters.


“We will all miss Woody,” said former Gov. William Guy. “He was one of those people well-versed in everything from the National Guard to all of the offices of the governor.” “He was a good, valuable adviser — so practiced and knowledgeable about state government,” Guy said. “It almost is impossible to replace somebody like Woody. He was a good adviser up to his death.”


Gagnon’s legacy seems to be defined with a rare mix of genuine interest in people, knowledge of government issues, leadership, and strong communication skills. “He had a manner about him that brought people together just by the force of his energy,” said former Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan Monday. “He had very good people skills. He accomplished a lot for the governor,”


Dorgan said Gagnon was full of life, energy and fun and “lived a long, full productive life and I really enjoyed him.”


He described him as “almost a perfect reflection of Gov. Arthur Link. Their approach was very human-oriented. He played a big role in the state during the Link administration.” Gagnon never had a cross word and always believed in the best of people, Dorgan said.


Eighteen-year state legislative leader S.F. “Buckshot” Hoffner said Gagnon was someone he could always bounce ideas off and find a reliable opinion on state issues. Hoffner most remembers Gagnon for his comment, “After an election is over, we work for the state of North Dakota.” Hoffner describes Gagnon as a role model on many levels. “He was very effective in getting his message across,” Hoffner said. “He was the type who got people’s attention.”


In 1985, former Gov. George Sinner appointed Gagnon to the North Dakota Centennial Committee to help organize the state’s 100th birthday celebration. Gagnon was named the first Northwest Bank of Bismarck Gold Award Winner in the early 1980s for his unselfish and tireless devotion to those with disabilities.


He was actively involved with the local Easter Seals and served as director of the Easter Seal Certification Board for 20 years. Gagnon was very active with youth, visiting elderly shut-ins, was an original supporter of Camp Grassick, and helped the blind and those with disabilities.


In 1975, Gagnon was honored for his work as chairman of the North Dakota Advisory Committee on Rehabilitation Services.




In 1974, Link assigned Gagnon to head state energy programs amid what the governor termed “a man-made energy crisis.”


In 1973, he was honored with a meritous award for his work with the North Dakota Army National Guard. He retired from the National Guard in 1974 with the rank of colonel.




In 1970, he was honored by the Mayor’s Committee for the Employment of the Handicapped and for his service to the handicapped by the National Easter Seal Society.




Gagnon served in the Army in World War II, the Korean War and Berlin Crisis. The Page native graduated from North Dakota State University before being drafted in 1942.




In 1965, he was appointed a general member of the National Americanism Council of the American Legion.


He served as Barnes County and Valley City Justice of the Peace from 1952 through 1960.
(Reach reporter LeAnn Eckroth at 250-8264 or leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com)
Posting by Virgil Rude (Retired Col NDNG): Minot, ND
Woody Gagnon
Hi Gary,


I just got an e-mail message from Mr. Don Baglien that Woody Gagnon passed Jan. 30 and will be buried on Thursday.






From Parkway Funeral Home: 

George “Woody” Gagnon, 96, Bismarck, died January 30, 2011, at the Baptist Home. 

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am Thursday, February 3, at McCabe United Methodist Church, 1030 North 6th Street, Bismarck, with Rev. Ray Baker officiating. 

Burial will be in the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery, Mandan, at a later date. 

Visitation will be held from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm Tuesday, February 1 and from 1:00 pm until 8:00 pm Wednesday, February 2, at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck. 

Woody was born June 30, 1914, in Page, ND, the son of George A. and Nina (Pray) Gagnon. He attended elementary school in Page and graduated from Fargo High School and North Dakota State University. Woody served in Europe during WWII. While home on leave, he married Renee Patterson on September 20, 1944, in Fargo. Family and marriage were very important to him. Woody and Renee lived in Valley City after the war, where he owned a restaurant, sold insurance and was active in the National Guard. 

In 1961, Woody moved to Bismarck, serving on the National Guard’s Adjutant General’s Staff at Fraine Barracks. After retiring from the National Guard, Woody joined Governor Link as Director of Administration and Chief of Staff until 1980.
Woody brightened the world with his sense of humor and commanding presence. His interest in people was genuine. He supported many service, community, charitable, and veterans organizations throughout his life and he made it very clear, he was always proud to be from North Dakota.

The family would like to thank the Baptist Home in Bismarck for the exemplary care provided to Woody for the last five years. 

Woody is survived by two sons, George W. (Michelle) Gagnon, Jr., CA, and Ed Gagnon, Bismarck; two grandchildren, Von and Nina; and many friends, relatives, nieces and nephews. 

Memorials may be given to the Elks Camp Grassick, the Easter Seals, or the North Dakota Association for the Blind.

Woody Gagnon’ passing
Reply from Larry Liere (54): Mesa, AZ & Devils Lake, ND
Sorry to say Woody won’t be able to help with the picture ID. He was a great guy as you can see by the OBIT. His friend down here in Mesa said he
saw Woody at Christmas time and that he was doing very well at that time so I guess things can change fast when you are 96 years old. I guess I can
not think of any other old Guardsmen that can help with the picture ID. Talking about things changing fast at 96 a Devils Lake classmate died yesterday
here in Mesa and she was in her early 70’s so I guess we can go fast at any age.