Kretschmar Family Papers, 1934-1964
Extent: 1.25 Linear Feet
Date Acquired: 04/29/2010
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.
Access Restrictions: Open for inspection under the rules and regulations of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections.
Acquisition Source: Ted Gomes, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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.
Preferred Citation: (Description of Item). Kretschmar Family Papers. OGLMC 1562, Box #, Folder #. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.
Processing Information: Processed by Stuart Lawrence, Intern in Special Collections, in August 2010.
Browse by Box:
- Box 1
- Folder 1: Letters from Bruce and Wayne Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1934
- Folder 2: Letters from Bruce and Wayne Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1935
- Folder 3: Letters from Bruce and Wayne Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1936
- Folder 4: Letters from Bruce and Wayne Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1937
- Folder 5: Letters from Bruce Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1938
- Folder 6: Letters from Bruce and Grace Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1939
- Folder 7: Letters from Bruce and Grace Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1940
- Folder 8: Letters from Wayne and Grace Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1941
- Folder 9: Letters from Bruce and Wayne Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1942
- Folder 10: Letters from Bruce and Wayne Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1943
- Folder 11: Letters from Bruce and Wayne Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1944
- Folder 12: Letters from Bruce Kretschmar to Otto Kretschmar, 1945
- Folder 13: Letter from Mrs. L.A. Doane (mother of SGT Doane, radio operator/upper turret gunner on the missing B-24 Liberator) concerning missing military personnel to all Next of Kin, 21 August 1947
- Folder 14: Letter from Mary Lou (surname unknown) to Mrs. Otto Kretschmar, 10 October 1964
- Folder 15: Newspaper Articles
- Item 1: Ashley Tribune, 24 June 1943 (Wayne Kretschmar)
- Item 2: Fargo Forum, 10 October 1943 (Wayne Kretschmar)
- Item 3: Ashley Tribune, 22 June 1944 (Wayne Kretschmar)
- Item 4: Ashley Tribune, 7 March 1946 (Grace Kretschmar)
- Item 5: Ashley Tribune,25 June 1946 (Bruce Kretschmar)
- Item 6: Ashley Tribune, 6 November 1946 (Bruce Kretschmar)
- Item 7: Ashley Tribune, 29 June 1948 (Bruce Kretschmar)
- Item 8: Ashley Tribune, 22 September 1949 (Beatrice "Betty" Kretschmar)
- Item 9: Ashley Tribune, 4 February 1954 (William "Betty" Kretschmar)
- Item 10: Ashley Tribune, 7 July 1966 (Otto and Florence Kretschmar)
- Folder 16: Miscellaneous Items
- Item 1: 1939 Official Pass, Yellowstone Trail Baseball League
- Item 2: 1939 The American National Red Cross (Wayne Kretschmar)
- Item 3: Sheldon S. Pond, Agent, American Surety Company of New York
- Item 4: W.A.Volkmann, Assistant Cashier, First National Bank and Trust Company, Minneapolis
- Item 5: Harry Talbert Post No. 104, American Legion Benefit Dance, 11 November 1940, No. 4550
- Item 6: 1940 State of North Dakota Registration for 1940 Chevrolet Sedan (August Diede)
- Item 7: 1940 North Dakota Resident Hunter’s License (Wayne A. Kretschmar)
- Item 8: 1942 North Dakota Resident Hunter’s License (Wayne A. Kretschmar)
- Item 9: 1943 Otto Kretschmar’s inventory of Venturia Lumber Company
- Item 10: 1946 University of North Dakota Alumni Review Memorial Edition
- Item 11: 1964 Representative Don L. Short tickets for speech
- Folder 17: Military Items of Wayne Kretschmar
- Item 1: Picture of B-24 Bomber Crew (lost over Yugoslavia 31 May 1944) with names, ranks, aircraft positions and next of kin names and addresses
- Item 2: 14 June 1944: Postal Telegraph from the War Department reporting Lieutenant Wayne A. Kretschmar Missing in Action on 31 May 1944 over Yugoslavia
- Item 3: 15 June 1944: Letter from Major General J.A. Ulio, US Army Adjutant General, confirmation of above telegram dated 14 June 1944 declaring 2LT Kretschmar Missing in Action
- Item 4: 26 June 1944: Letter from Major General N.F. Twining, US Army Air Corps Commander, informing family of the Ploesti Oil Field Raid in Romania
- Item 5: 2 October 1944: Letter from James M. Darley, Chief Cartographer, National Geographic Society with a hand drawn map of where Wayne Kretschmar’s plane went down off the coast of Yugoslavia.
- Item 6: 6 October 1944: Letter from MG Ulio, no further information about Wayne Kretschmar
- Item 7: 22 June 1945: Letter from Captain Charles A. Schaeffer, US Army Air Corps, Personal Affairs Officer, the War Department, informing the Next of Kin about Wayne Kretschmar. This letter confirms the determination of change of status from Missing in Action to Killed in Action
- Item 8: 25 June 1945: Personal note from the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, awarding the Purple Heart, posthumously, to Wayne Kretschmar, from the President
- Item 9: 26 June 1945: Personal note from Lieutenant General Ira. A. Eaker, Deputy Commander, Army Air Forces, expressing condolences
- Folder 18: University of North Dakota
- Folder 19: Kretschmar Family Information
- Item 1: Venturia Golden Jubilee 1901-1951 (Wayne, Mary and Mrs. Otto Kretschmar)
- Item 2: Ashley Diamond Jubilee 1888-1963 (Bruce Kretschmar and Kretschmar family information)
- Item 3: Venturia Bicentennial and Diamond Jubilee (Mr. and Mrs. Otto Kretschmar and Bruce Kretschmar)
- Item 4: Venturia Centennial (Mary, William E., and Paul Kretschmar)
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