Bruce Erwin Kretschmar was born 26 December 1916 in McIntosh County, North Dakota, to Otto and Florence Kretschmar. Bruce was the oldest son of four children and entered the University of North Dakota in the fall of 1934. He became a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and attended the mandatory Army Reserve Officers’ Corps training. His letters detail fraternity life at UND, the economic and social requirements of the university and life in Grand Forks in the early 1930s. He continued at UND where he entered the Law School in the spring of 1937. He transferred to the University of Washington law school in Seattle for the fall of 1937. His detailed letters described life in Seattle on a tight budget, the University of Washington campus life and the difficulty of law school. Although he graduated from the University of Washington Law School in May 1940, he took the bar exam in North Dakota. He enlisted in the United States Navy in lieu of a draft notice and entered basic training in March 1942. His letters are very detailed concerning Navy life as an enlisted sailor and later as an officer. He was trained as a yeoman (administration) and was assigned to the USS Montpelier, a light cruiser in the South Pacific. He applied for Officer Training and was selected in August 1943, receiving his commission as an Ensign in October. He was assigned as the Stores Officer (Supply) on the Landing Ship Tank (LST) 1009 in May 1944. His LST supported operations in the South Pacific until Victory over Japan (VJ) Day in September 1945. The last letter comments on him being home for Christmas in 1945. He was discharged in 1946, returned to home and opened up a law firm in Ashley, North Dakota. He married Helen Zidzik of Weirton, West Virginia, and they raised four children: Susan, Marian, John and David. He died in 1998.
Wayne A. Kretschmar was born 26 November 1919 in McIntosh Country, North Dakota, to Otto and Florence Kretschmar. Wayne was the younger son and attended the University of North Dakota in the fall of 1935. He became a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and also attended the mandatory Army Reserve Officers’ Corps training. Although he originally entered the engineering department, his grades forced him to change to commerce (business administration) where he improved his grades. By fall of 1936, he realized he was not ready to continue and dropped out of the university. He went to work in the First State Bank of Venturia, until he was drafted into the US Army on 27 March 1941. His letters are very detailed about basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and his training in radio communications at Fort Knox, Kentucky, which allowed him to advance to Sergeant. He applied for Officer Air Cadet Training and is selected for training in September 1942. He attended several different aviation schools in Tennessee, Texas, Utah and California. After his selection as a co-pilot on a B-24 Liberator bomber, he was sent to Italy with the 461st Bomb Group. His B-24 was lost over Yugoslavia on 31 May 1944, although all ten crew members were seen exiting the aircraft. He was declared Killed in Action by the Secretary of War on 25 June 1945.
Grace Kretschmar was born in 1921 in McIntosh Country, North Dakota, to Otto and Florence Kretschmar. Grace attended the University of North Dakota and pledged the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. Her letters discuss the sorority life at UND and the social events on campus. She taught school in Ashley, North Dakota, and later worked at the First State Bank of Venturia, North Dakota.
1937 Dacotah Yearbook, University of North Dakota.
University of North Dakota Alumni Review, Memorial Issue, February 1946.
Venturia North Dakota Golden Jubilee: 1901-1951
Venturia, North Dakota Bicentennial and Diamond Jubilee: 1910-1976.
Venturia, North Dakota, Centennial, 1901-2001
Ashley Diamond Jubilee: 1888-1963.
The collection was found in the home of Ted Gomes at 1714 8th Avenue North in Grand Forks. According to city directories for Grand Forks, David Kretschmar lived at that address from 1988 to 1993. David is the son of Bruce E. Kretschmar and the nephew of both Wayne and Grace Kretschmar.