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My Parents

by John Jungas

I have been asked to tell you something about my father. In order to do this, I will have to bring in my mother also. They always worked together as a team.

Father was born May 3rd, 1870, in Thessendorf-Marienberg, Germany. When he came to Mountain Lake in 1892, he worked in the harvest fields and did general farm work. After a short time he was employed by Mr. Abram Janzen, who had come to Mountain Lake from Germany earlier. He owned the lumber yard. It wasn't long after when dad's uncle, Mr. John Janzen, asked him to help in his general store.

In dad's spare time he repaired and sold bicycles, which later led him to open up a business of his own in general hardware. He called it JOHN JUNGAS HARDWARE.

My mother was born October 10, 1874. She came to Mountain Lake with her parents a year after dad. They came from Russia. Dad worked for his uncle John Janzen while mother was employed in the home of John Janzen. This is where they met. She did general housework and dressmaking. Five years later on May 8th, 1898, they were married.

In the year of 1900, they adopted a boy from Hibbing, Minnesota. Some lady brought him to Bethel Church one Sunday morning and after the service offered him up for adoption. Mother and dad accepted the offer at once. Later they had three children of their own, Leando--who died in 1971, Anna--who is still living and has an apartment above the hardware store; she and her husband were missionaries in India for three terms (this was written by John earlier; Anna died in 1997), and then myself.

In 1914 dad, mother and three children took a trip to dad's homeland, Germany. Henry stayed home and with other help took care of the store.

The Phillip Wiebes, living in Mountain Lake, were friends of my folks. When Mrs. Wiebe died in 1915, my folks took Elizabeth (now Mrs. George Hiebert) into our home to care for her.

A year later in 1916, my mother's brother's wife died some time after her fourth daughter was born, leaving all four girls without a mother. My folks took all four girls into our home to care for them as well. All lived in our home till they got married. Our family had now grown to eleven--father, mother, and nine children.

During the years father's business had grown quite a lot. He now had a complete hardware, appliance, and shoe store.

On March 6th, 1920, the store with most of its contents burned to the ground. The fire started in the adjacent Heppner and Dick building from an over-heated furnace. The burning oil went out of control and jumped the alley to our building. The fire hydrant at the corner of the park was frozen, so a bucket brigade was started out of our cistern, but to no avail. Dad had just bought a new self-player piano for Christmas. Our drayman, Mr. J. R. Dick, offered to get help and carry it down the stairs of the burning building. My mother would not let anyone go up and risk their lives. All that was rescued was a complete stock of shoes. The fire started on Saturday evening, and by Monday my dad had already purchased the old hotel building and the shoes were being moved in and sorted. The sale of these shoes helped dad get started in business again. Dad had just dropped the fire insurance a few months before.

After the Fire

Mother encouraged dad to keep going. She said that she would clean the rooms and open the hotel for travelers to pay for the ongoing expenses such as food, clothing, taxes, etc. while dad could concentrate on the hardware business. It was a lot of hard work but all turned out well. In 1927 dad sold the hotel building and built the present store building.

On January 1st, 1931, Al and I purchased the business from dad. Dad still kept on working for us until his death.

Dad died on Easter morning in 1946. He was a Sunday School teacher and when he could not go to sleep at night, he got up and studied the Easter lesson. His notes started out very clearly but kept growing fainter and fainter until they could not be read. On Easter morning he was found sitting on a couch outside the bedroom door, his hands folded as if in a deep sleep. He was 76 years old.

Mother died September 22, 1960. She spent her last year in the Eventide Home.

Dad loved flowers and gardening. I will never forget that when he came home from the garden early morning for breakfast, he would have a few flowers in his hand for mother.