Reply from Claudette McLeod (From Belcourt):

Hello Gary & Friends,
I would like to begin by thanking you Gary for all of your hard work, and keeping everybody connected and sharing all those of memories as I sure remember alot of names but just never knew where everyone was at nowadays. But it is sure nice. I am writing in response to Martin Belgarde, he was a nephew to my Grandpa Roy Poitra who is the father of deceased Thelma Davis & Della (Jean) Poitra, Martin’s mother was Rose who is a sister to my Grandpa.
Claudette, I have you listed in my files as ‘Nadeau/McLeod, Roberta/Claudette’. I can not locate the email you sent me, so I’m hoping I have you listed correctly in my files. Thanks, Gary
From Vickie Hiatt LaFontaine (73) Daughter of Norman & Irene Hiatt:
Good morning I went to work @ 6 a.m and it was -28 here in grafton n.d. the first thing that came to mind was mom getting us all on the bus and then going out to do chores. I don’t think she ever complained. For all of you that your parents are still living call them and tell them “I love you” I sure wish I could. Vickie Hiatt LaFontaine
From Susan Fassett Martin (65):
I found the article in Readers Digest and sent a letter to the magazine protesting the use of the Peace Garden as pork spending. I hope many of you will do the same. The Peace Garden is a wonderful place to visit and I have many fond memories of times spent there with family and friends. I know many or most of you do too. Please let readers digest know how you feel about this. Thanks. Hugs and prayers Susan
Susan, I’ve reposted Bonnie’s message below from message #336 addressing this topic.
Reply from Bonnie Awalt Houle (56):
Dunseith Alumni: Check out the slam in the Reader’s Digest February issue, page 50. Speaking about a bill the was passed through they are speaking about PORK SPENDING, Dunseith North Dakota, pop.739 received $295,000 for the International Peace Garden, I don’t believe that they checked at all to see what the Peace Garden is, what it stands for, or the correct population of Dunseith. Maybe Readers Digest should get a lot of letters from our Alumni letting them know the importance of the Peace Gardens, and what it represents. You can e-mail Readers Digest at letters@readersdigest.com. Let our appreciation of the Peace Gardens be known.
From Jill Flynn Timjum (68):
Thanks, Gary, for all your work on the Dunseith Alumni blog.
I passed on the above messages to Mom and Dad. They will appreciate it.
The following information I have gathered about our uncle, Harold Flynn, who died in the Philippine Islands during World War II. (Our grandmother, Mathilda Flynn, was honored as one of the Gold Star Mothers during Memorial Day programs in Dunseith, having lost her son as a result of the War.
Frank and Mathilda Flynn lived in Rolette in the years before World War II, so the family was schooled and known in that area. Their son, Harold Frederick Flynn, born in 1919, joined the army in May,1941 at Ft. Snelling, Minneapolis, MN. Previous to that, Harold had been in CCC camps in North Dakota and also worked at various jobs, like for farmers in the area. Dad (Jack) was inducted into the army in 1942 at Ft. Snelling. Frank and Mathilda moved to Dunseith in 1942 after Dad joined the service, so the family was not located in the Dunseith area until that time.
Harold was with Company B, 803 Engineering Battalion, U.S. Army. He sailed from San Francisco on the U.S.S.Tasker Bliss in October of 1941. He was stationed at Fort Stotsenburg, Pampanga, Philippine Islands, about 80 km north of Manila. (Part of Fort Stotsenburg became Clark Field, then Clark Air Force Base –from an internet source.) He drove a reconnaissance or commander car. He usually drove the Captain (company commander) or other officers to their destinations.
Harold died in Camp #3, Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Camp, Philippine Islands, on June 12, 1942 from malaria and dysentery. Lack of food and water and no medicine caused so many of the prisoners to die of disease. The family was notified by Western Union in October of 1942 that Harold was missing in action on the Philippine Islands. There was no official confirmation of death until October 1945. Harold’s remains were buried in the US Armed Forces Cemetery, Manila, PI, and were reinterred at the request of the family at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN in 1949.
Besides the official notices from the government, the family received notes from the diary of Lt. Col. F. S. Conoty:
Pvt. Harold F. Flynn, 803 Eng. Battalion
a. beleagured from 8 Dec 1941 to 6 May 1942
b. was a P.O.W. from 7 May 1942 to 12 June 1942
c. died of disease (malaria and dysentery) 12 June 1942
d. was not absent from his post without proper authority
Harold was not on Bataan, a peninsula to the southwest of Manila, I am sure. He was in Camp #3, Cabanatuan, north of Manila,at the time of his death.
A Fergus Falls, MN Ex-POW Clarence K Larson wrote a book in 1998, A Long March Home, where he fulfilled his promise to his compatriots that whoever survived would tell the story of the Bataan March. Part of Clarence’s POW stay was at Camp #1, Cabanatuan, which he said was built as a prisoner of war camp. He tells of the death, disease, and horrific treatment they endured, which undoubtedly existed in each of the camps.
Thanks again, Jill
From Ginger LaRocque Poitra (65):
I think someone mentioned something about Andy Patnaude getting shot
during World War ll, and wanted to know more about the situation. Andrew
has a daughter who stills lives around the area her married name is
Alfreda Morin. She probably knows a lot more about him, and then maybe
not, some of those dad’s didn’t mention those kinds of things to their

Alfreda’s brother (Jigs) Andrew was killed in a car accident on San Hill
not long after the new road was built, he was only 17 at the time of his

Alfreda’s mother was Mary Delorme.

Martin Belgarde was my Grandma (Poitra) Bergie’s, sister Rose’s son, her
sister, Rose was married to Fred Belgarde. Martin had a sister Agnes
Peltier (her husband was Dan), Ida was another of his sisters. Agnes and
Dan had one daughter Dorothy, who didn’t have any children. Dorothy passed
on too so that ends that family. Ida had no children and was never
married, Martin and Florestine had no children.

I’ll quit here for now, I will write more later.

Ginger (Poitra) LaRocque (65)

From Gary Metcalfe (57):
Another memory of Martin Belgarde, one morning in the sixties, old John Bedard, at age 86, and I were looking out the picture window of the old house at the little lake and about a foot of fresh snow. Can you imagine Martin riding a Scorpion snowmobile, they were tippy and smaller. He had his big brown parka on with the hood up. He made a turn and when we saw him from the back, John said, in his broag, “Gentle Ben”, so I called Martin Gentle Ben from then on. Needless to say I just listened to those old timers? Martin lived about l mile east of us on the old Fred Belgarde place, next door to George Albert.
Dick you asked about John Belgarde’s war stories, now I am sure you didn’t mean Toby’s son, but I am sure it was Dan’s brother or else Charlie’s brother. Charlie held a higher rank in the military, Captain, and was a very successful contractor in Minneapolis. Warren Anderson’s uncle.
Thanks Gary Metcalfe
Message/Pictures from Verena (Pete 65) Gillis:
> Hey Gary,
Wonderful to hear from you. Pretty Cold here right now, with the wind
chill around -15. Schools are running late, some not having school at all
and bus trouble. I’d rather be where you are right now! Especially since
we are supposed to get -30 to -40 below weather this week, eeeeeeeeeeeek!

Pete and I are doing very well. He had a check-up in December and the PSA
has not gone up any higher nor has it gone down but they are just going to
continue him on the medications he is on now and hope it keeps working.
He is very thankful to have been able to be with us another Christmas.

Our daughter moved home in May and she is going to school at the TMCC in
Belcourt for elementary ed. Her husband is currently on unemployment but
that is good as they have 4 children, Taylor who is 11; Thalia who is 8;
Elizabeth the terrible 2 year old and Elliott 8 months. So he is a big
help with the 2 babies. But we now have 9 people in our house and of
course Pete and I had to make some renovations again! Turned our garage
into 2 huge bedrooms for them and we are one big happy family. Naturally
Pete and I are thinking about rebuilding a little shack for us, after all
we are getting up in age and that much activity is a little bit too much
for him, lol.

I have been pretty busy what with benefits for other unfortunate people in
our community coming down with this horrible disease called Cancer. We
had one for Linus and Diane Gladue’s daughter Shelly Azure (married to
Mark Azure who manages the golf club) this past Saturday. We managed to
raise over $2000.00 for them. She has to go to Minneapolis on Tuesday of
this week. Andrew LaVallie is another one we heard of, they have found
lung cancer and he has to go for surgery on the 26th or 27th of this
month. He says he hasn’t touched a cigarette since Vietnam!

Anyway, enough of that, I saw the pictures of your wife’s family members
and they were great! I’m glad she was able to get together with them. I
sure miss my family members who are no longer with me.

You tell Bill hi for us.


ND Poem from Verena (Pete 65) Gillis:
> Hey everybody, Happy New Year! Here’s another cute little poem about
God’s Country for you to enjoy-

It’s winter in North Dakota and the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour at thirty-five below!
Oh, how I love North Dakota
When the snow’s up to your butt, you take a breath of winter
And your nose gets frozen shut!
Yes, the weather here is wonderful
So I guess I’ll hang around.
I could never leave North Dakota-
I’m frozen to the ground!

Verena Gillis (Mrs. Pete)

ND Poem from Larry Hackman (66):
A few people were sending in poems, that they would sing as they traveled into North dakota. Here is the one we ar singing now.

It’s winter in North Dakota



And the gentle breezes blow



Seventy miles an hour



At twenty-five below



Oh, how I love North Dakota



When the snow’s up to your butt



You take a breath of winter



And your nose gets frozen shut



Yes, the weather here is wonderful



So I guess I’ll hang around



I could never leave North Dakota



‘Cause I’m frozen to the ground