The History of Platte County Nebraska
Kielian, Silver Creek, Nebraska; Dorothy and Barbara Niedbalski of Columbus, Nebraska; Louis Niedbalski, Stanton, Nebraska; and Floyd, Benny, Leo, Theodore, Edward, and Walter Niedbalski, Columbus, Nebraska.
As a boy, Dominic lived on a farm in Loup Township, and near Platte Center, Nebraska. He attended grade school at District 16 and District 34 in Loup Township, and the Platte Center High School. He was employed in Omaha, and worked with his father on the farm near Platte Center. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Niedbalski, moved to Columbus in 1942, and Dominic was then employed by Steve Jarecki and worked on the Jarecki farm southwest of Columbus.
Dominic J. Niedbalski enlisted in the United States Armed Forces on February 19, 1943. He received his military training in Camp Dodge, Iowa, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and in New York state, where he was rated an expert rifleman. He was assigned to Company K, One Hundred Forty-first Regiment of the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division, and went overseas in June, 1943, to the European Theatre of Operations. He was killed in the battle of Salerno, Italy, on September 18, 1943.
Memorial services were held for Private Dominic J. Niedbalski on Monday morning, September 18, 1944, at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Columbus, with Reverend Francis Eckholt, O.F.M., as celebrant of the Requiem Mass, and Hartman Post No. 84 of the Columbus American Legion in charge of the military rite.
Private Norman Ralph Olson was born at Fremont, Nebraska, on July 24, 1925, and killed in action on Luzon in the Philippine Islands on March 31, 1945.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Olson, formerly of Creston Township. His father is deceased. He had one brother, Alfred Olson, of Creston, Nebraska.
As a boy, Norman Olson lived with his parents on the Olson farm located on Section 26 in Township 20, Creston Township. He attended District 43, and graduated from the Leigh High School. Prior to entering the armed forces, he taught in District 78 in Platte County for one year.
He enlisted in July of 1944, and received his army training at Camp Wolters, Texas, with the Sixty-seventh Infantry. He went overseas in February, 1945, to the Pacific area. Private Norman R. Olson was killed in action against the Japanese on Luzon on March 31, 1945, from intense artillery, barrage received while actively engaged in digging defensive positions with Troop G of the Twelfth Cavalry following their victorious capture of the town of Calauan. He was buried overseas.
For his valiant services, he was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.
Memorial services were held for him at the Zion Lutheran Church in Leigh, Nebraska, at 10:30 am. Sunday, May 20, 1945, with Reverend E. C. Werner, pastor, officiating.
Radioman's Mate Second Class Julius H. O. Pieper and Radioman's Mate Second Class Ludwig J. W. Pieper were born at Esmond, South Dakota on May 17, 1925, and were killed in action June 19, 1944, while fighting with the United States Navy in the Atlantic area during the invasion of Normandy, France.
They were the twin sons of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Pieper of Creston, Nebraska, and grandsons of Mr. and Mrs. August Pieper, deceased. The Pieper twins had three sisters and one brother. Their sisters, all of Creston, Nebraska, are Ivona and Leona Pieper, twins, and Mary Ann Pieper. Their brother, Fred Pieper, served one year overseas in the Southwest Pacific, and attended the Navy V-12 school at Cleveland, Ohio.
Julius and Ludwig Pieper attended School District 8 in Creston Township, and were graduated from the Creston High School in the class of 1942. The Pieper twins held the distinction of being the first twins to graduate from that school.
During the winter of 1942-1943, Julius and Ludwig Pieper were employed by the Burlington Railroad in Lincoln, Nebraska, until they joined the navy on February 17, 1943. They took their basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Training School near Chicago, after which they attended the radio school at the University of Chicago. Radioman's Mate Second Class Julius H. O. Pieper, and his twin brother, Radioman's Mate Second Class Ludwig J. W. Pieper, went overseas in March of 1944, and took part in the invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944. They were killed in action on June 19, 1944, as the result of enemy action in the Atlantic area during the invasion of Normandy, France.
The twins were cited for bravery and each received the Victory Medal and the Purple Heart, which were awarded posthumously.
Radioman's Mate Second Class Julius H. O. Pieper was not found. Radioman's Mate Second Class Ludwig J. W. Pieper was buried in the Normandy Field at Cherbourg, France.
A memorial service for Radioman's Mate Second Class Julius H. O. Pieper and Radioman's Mate Second Class
Ludwig J. W. Pieper was held at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Creston, Nebraska, on July 30, 1944, with Reverend R. L. Jobman, pastor, officiating at the service. The American Legion was in charge of the military rite.
When Pieper Post No. 306 of the American Legion at Creston was organized, it was named in honor of the Pieper twins, Radioman's Mate Second Class Julius H. O. Pieper and Radioman's Mate Second Class Ludwig J. W. Pieper.
Private First Class Vernon W. Pillen was born April 22, 1922, near Platte Center, Nebraska, and was killed in action December 3, 1944, in Germany.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Pillen of Platte Center, Nebraska. He had four brothers and three sisters. His brothers are: Eugene Pillen, who served in World War II as a private, and was stationed for a time at Camp Hood, Texas; and Dale, Lester, and Arthur Pillen of Platte Center, Nebraska. His sisters are Mrs. Stanley Zach of Humphrey, Nebraska, and Velma and Judy Ann Pillen of Platte Center.
Vernon attended school at District 60 in Burrows Township, and the Platte Center High School.
He joined the armed forces on December 12, 1942, and after receiving his training, was assigned to Twenty-ninth Division, Sixteen Infantry of the First Army. He went overseas in April, 1944, and on July 5, 1944, was wounded in action in the Battle of St. Lo, France. He was hospitalized for eight weeks. After his return to service, he was killed while participating in an attack toward the Ruhr River in the vicinity of Julich, Germany. He was buried with full military honors in the American Military Cemetery in Margraten, Holland, where services were conducted by a Catholic chaplain. He was awarded the infantryman's badge for excellent performance of duty in ground combat against the enemy.
Memorial services were held for Private First Class Vernon W. Pillen at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, April 24, 1945, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Platte Center, Nebraska, with Reverend M. J. Brady, the pastor, officiating at the Requiem Mass, and Hartman Post No. 84 of the American Legion of Columbus conducting the military service.
Staff Sergeant Walter F. Placek was born on October 29, 1913, in Columbus, Nebraska, and was killed in action on July 19, 1944, in the Battle of St. Lo, France.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Placek, 2022 Sixth Street, Columbus, Nebraska. He had four brothers, namely, Frank Placek of Grand Island, Nebraska; Dennis Placek, who was also in the service of his country as a corporal, stationed at Victoria, Kansas; Louis Placek, M.D., a graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical School at Omaha; and Reverend Edmund Placek, O.F.M. of Teutopolis, Illinois.
Walter attended St. Anthony's grade school and Kramer High School where he was graduated in the class of 1930. He was active in athletics, and was a member of the Beatrice baseball team in the State League as a pitcher. He also pitched for the Columbus and Platte Center town teams, and played several years of softball with local teams. Before entering the service of his country in February, 1941, Walter was employed as a lineman for Consumers Public Power, District of Columbus.
Staff Sergeant Walter F. Placek was assigned to the One Hundred Thirty-fourth Infantry. He arrived in England in May, 1944, and was killed in action on July 19, 1944, in the Battle of St. Lo in France.
Memorial services were held for him on Friday. August 11, 1944, at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Columbus, with Reverend Stanley Jaworski, O.F.M., pastor, officiating at the Requiem Mass. The military services were conducted by Hartman Post No. 84 of the American Legion.
Private First Class Clinton Edward Polark was born on February 25, 1912, at Bellwood, Nebraska, and died August 23, 1944, at the Halloran General Hospital, Staten Island, New York. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Polark of Columbus. He had one sister, Mrs. Harry Hendricks of Lincoln, Nebraska.
On November 28, 1942, Clinton E. Polark was married to Miss Harriet Harris of Los Angeles, California. They have one daughter, Carolyn Polark.
Clinton attended the Bellwood schools, and was graduated from the Bellwood High School in 1931. He worked in Bellwood and Columbus until 1939 when he went to Los Angeles, California, where he was employed at Lockheed until he entered the service in February, 1943.
Private Clinton Edward Polark went overseas in March, 1944, and served in England where he was hospitalized for a time before being flown to the Halloran General Hospital on Staten Island, New York, July 20, 1944. Two days later, on July 22, 1944, he underwent an operation there for tumor of the brain. He died on August 23, 1944.
A military funeral service was held for him in the Bellwood Methodist Church, with Reverend Embree, pastor, officiating, and Hartman Post No. 84 of the American Legion of Columbus conducting the military service. Interment was in the Roselawn Cemetery near Columbus, Nebraska.
The History of Platte County Nebraska
Private Ralph M. Polzin was born on November 27, 1920, in Walker Township, near Lindsay, Nebraska, and died from wounds received in battle in Italy on June 9, 1944.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Polzin, formerly of Walker Township, northwest of Lindsay, Nebraska. His father, Theodore Polzin, is deceased, and his mother, Mrs. Barbara Polzin, lives at Madison, Nebraska. One of a family of twelve children, Ralph Polzin had seven sisters and four brothers. One sister is deceased. The others are: Ray Polzin of Idaho; Ted Polzin of Madison, Nebraska, who served as a private in England during World War II; Florence, Noreen and Joe Polzin of Lindsay, Nebraska; Mrs. William Murphy and Mrs. Willard Brandt of Omaha, Nebraska; Mrs. William Niebur of Norfolk, Nebraska; Mrs. Dan Wiedner of Newman Grove, Nebraska; and Lena Polzin of Madison, Nebraska.
Ralph Polzin attended the Holy Family School at Lindsay, Nebraska, and after finishing his course there, assisted his mother on the farm until he enlisted in the United States Army on August 27, 1943.
He received his basic training at Camp Adair, Oregon, and went overseas in April of 1944. He served in Africa one month before his transfer to Italy in May, 1944. Private Ralph M. Polzin was seriously wounded in action on June 9, 1944, and died that day. He was buried overseas. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.
Memorial services were held for him at 8:00 a.m., Monday, August 14, 1944, at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Lindsay, Nebraska, with Right Reverend Monsignor J. L. Zaplotnik celebrant of the Requiem Mass, and Rotherham Post, American Legion of Lindsay, acting as a guard of honor in the church. The colorbearers were Private Myron Krong, Radioman Third Class Jerome Wessel, and Yeoman Third Class LaVeeta Schaecher.
Private Leonard Preister was born on January 20, 1917, in St. Bernard Township, Platte County, and was killed in action in France on July 7, 1944.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Preister of the St. Bernard community, near Lindsay, Nebraska. Leonard Preister was one of a family of ten. He had four brothers and five sisters, namely, Joe and Mark Preister of Humphrey, Nebraska; Victor Preister, who served as a private first class in World War II; Maurice Preister of Lindsay, Nebraska; Mary, Mrs. Edward Bierman of Albion, Nebraska; Irene, Mrs. Jack Clark of Pasadena, California; Coletta, Mrs. Andrew Hamling Jr. of Humphrey, Nebraska; Doris, Mrs. Choutka of Lindsay, Nebraska; and Esther, Mrs. Zuerlein of Humphrey, Nebraska.
Leonard attended the St. Bernard Parochial School, and was graduated there in 1931. For the next seven years, he assisted his father on the farm. In the spring of 1938, he went to Moline, Illinois, where he was employed at the Moline Iron Works until he entered the army.
Leonard Preister enlisted in the United States Army on October 8, 1943. He received his training at Camp Grant, Illinois; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Camp Meade, Maryland. He was a member of Headquarters Company, Second Battalion, Three Hundred Thirteenth Infantry, and went overseas with his company in May, 1944. He participated in the Normandy invasion, and was killed in action in France on July 7, 1944. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously. He was buried in the United States Military Cemetery at Blosville, France, in Plot O, Row 2, Grave 36.
Memorial services were held for Private Leonard Preister at 9:00 a.m. Monday, August 14, 1944, at the St. Bernard Catholic Church in St. Bernard Township, with Reverend Claude Rust as celebrant at the Requiem Mass, and Foltz-Zuerlein Post No. 80 and the Rotherham Post of the American Legion of Lindsay in charge of the military rite. At the service, Bugler Dale Alderson sounded "To the Colors." J. J. Weidner, adjutant of the Foltz-Zuerlein Post, read the Legion Prayer for its deceased comrades. Commander G. H. Leenerts read the dedication in which he pledged again the loyalty of the Legion and the community to the service of our country. Thirty seconds of silent prayer was observed.
Sergeant Allan J. Rice was born on April 2, 1921, in Waterloo, Nebraska, and was lost during a bombing raid over Rangoon, Burma, in December, 1944, when his plane crashed and burned at sea.
He was the son of John L. Setlok, a French veteran of World War I, who died in August, 1946, and Mrs. Della Rice Setlok of Platte County, and the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Myron Rice of Shell Creek Township. His grandfather, Myron Rice, died in June, 1944. He had one brother, Delmar Rice.
Allan J. Rice attended grade school in District 12, Shell Creek Township, and was graduated from the Platte Center High School in 1938. After his graduation, he worked on the Rice farm for a time, and then went to Binghamton, New York, where he was employed.
Allan J. Rice was married to Miss Kay Benjamin in Binghamton, New York. They had one son, Allan J. Rice, Jr., born April 28, 1943.
Allan joined the United States Air Force in Binghamton, New York, and then received training at air fields located in North Carolina, Mississippi, Washington, and Kansas. He was attached to the Twenty-fifth Squadron, Fortieth Bombing Group, of the Twentieth Air Force, and went overseas in November, 1943. He served in the
China-Burma-India Theatre of War. Sergeant Allan J. Rice was lost in an air raid over Rangoon, Burma, in December, 1944, when his plane burned and crashed at sea.
He was a member of the Methodist Church.
Private Conrad W. Robak, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Robak, was born on a farm near Duncan, Nebraska, and lost his life in battle while on overseas duty during World War II.
He received his education at the St. Stanislaus School in Duncan.
His body was returned to the United States for burial. Military services were held for him on September 2, 1948, at the St. Stanislaus Church in Duncan and he was interred in the St. Stanislaus Cemetery here. The Reverend George Mikulski officiated at the Requiem Mass and Hartman Post of the American Legion conducted the military rites.
Seaman First Class Steve J. Ryba was born February 19, 1924, in Duncan, Nebraska, and died October 15, 1945, at the Naval Hospital, Astoria, Oregon, from injuries received while on active duty with the United States Navy.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Ryba of Columbus. His father is deceased. He had six brothers, two of whom served in World War II, John Ryba, served with the United States Coast Guard; Lonnie Ryba served with the United States Coast Guard; and Thomas, Martin, Carroll, and Paul Ryba of Columbus. He had four sisters, one of whom was in the service, Mrs. Anna Sanchez of Fresno, California; Mrs. Roy Stevens of Omaha, Nebraska; Miss Amelia Ryba of Columbus, Nebraska; and Miss Vernie Ryba, who was a seaman first class in the SPARS, of St. Louis, Missouri. Steve attended St. Stanislaus School in Duncan, and St. Anthony's School in Columbus. After finishing grammar school, he enlisted in the Civilian Conservation corps for one. year, and then was employed until he entered the United States Navy in June, 1943. Steve Ryba, seaman first class,. served with the, naval fleet for two years,. and was wounded during his overseas service. He died October 15, 1945, at the Naval Hospital, Astoria, Oregon.
Military funeral services were held for Seaman First Class Steve Ryba at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Columbus, Nebraska, on October 24, 1945. The Reverend Hiliarian Lapinski officiated at the High Mass. Burial was at the St. Bonaventure Cemetery.
Sergeant Harold Saalfeld was born on a farm in Platte County on June 6, 1920, and was killed in action in Italy on September 12, 1944.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Saalfeld, former Shell Creek Township residents, who now live at Santa Ana, California. Harold had two brothers and one sister, Elwin Saalfeld of Orange, California, Orville Saalfeld of Santa Ana, California, and Elda Mae, now Mrs. Carl Omasta, of Mojave Desert, California.
Harold lived on the farm in Shell Creek Township, north of Columbus. He attended the District 12 School, and the Immanuel Lutheran Parochial School in Columbus, and was confirmed in the Immanuel Lutheran Church there. After finishing the eighth grade, he enrolled at Kramer High School where he was graduated with the class of 1936. Shortly after graduation, he went to California to work.
He joined the Army Air Corps in 1942, and for a part of his training, was stationed at the Army Air Base near Lincoln, Nebraska. In August, 1944, he went overseas as a radio man and waist gunner on a B-24. He had been at the Italian front only two weeks before he lost his life. He was killed in action there on September 12, 1944, and was buried overseas.
Memorial services were conducted for him at St. John's Lutheran Church of Orange, California, on November 5, 1944, with the Reverend Getch, the pastor, officiating.
Colonel Irvin R. Schimmelpfennig, son, of the Reverend Rudolph and Josephine Schure Schimmelpfennig, was born December 7, 1908, at Howells, Nebraska, and was killed on February 4, 1945, while in action on Luzon, serving as Chief of Staff of the Eleventh Airborne Division.
Reverend Schimmelpfennig, now deceased, was a pastor at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Grand Prairie Township from 1898 to 1900, and later pastor of the Trinity Lutheran Church, at Howells. Mrs. Schimmelpfennig, Irvin's mother, is now living in Humphrey, Nebraska, with Irvin's sister, Marjorie. After the death of Reverend Schimmelpfennig, the family made their home with Mrs. Schimmelfennig's father, the late J. F. Schure, later residing on the W. E. Schure farm, south of Humphrey, until Irvin's graduation from the Humphrey High School in 1925, when they moved into Humphrey.
Irvin then entered the Midland College, at Fremont, and was there a year when he received an appointment to the West Point Military Academy. Here he rose to the rank of cadet captain, took an active part in academy football, boxing, and track, and completed his course with high scholastic honors. In 1930, his scholarship won him,
The History of Platte County Nebraska
recognition when he was appointed as a Rhodes scholar, as a result of this appointment he entered Lincoln College, Oxford University, England, where he specialized in international law and was graduated in 1933 from the Honour School of jurisprudence with the degree of Bachelor of Laws.
In the summer of 1932, he was attached to the Second Prussian Artillery Regiment in Germany, accompanying that regiment on maneuvers in North Germany. He returned to the United States to resume his service in the regular army at Fort Ethan Allen, in Vermont, and was transferred to the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, graduating from there in 1935. He was then at Fort Hoyle, Maryland, and after some months there, went back to the West Point Military Academy, where he taught advanced mathematics, until he was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division, which was activated on February 25, 1943, at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. With his division, he left the United States in April, 1944, serving in New Guinea, Leyte, and Luzon, where he was killed in action February, 1945. Colonel Schimmelpfennig was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in the Battle of Leyte.
In 1934, he was married to Elizabeth Miller, of Burlington, Vermont. Colonel and Mrs. Schimmelpfennig had three children: Anne Ruth, Louise Elizabeth, and Paul Robert. One daughter, Joan, died in infancy.
Colonel Irvin Schimmelpfennig was a member of the Christ Lutheran Church in New York where memorial services were held on April 5, 1945.
Second Lieutenant Mark L. Shorts, Jr. was born on March 28, 1921, in Brownsdale, Pennsylvania, and lost his life in an overseas flight on July 27, 1944.
Mark was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Mark L. Shorts, of Columbus, Nebraska. He came to Columbus from Pennsylvania with his parents when six months old. He attended the Columbus grade schools, and was graduated from Kramer High School with the class of 1939. While in high school, he was active in athletics, being a member of the Kramer High School basketball team for three years. He was a skilled swimmer and won several ribbons for his swimming and diving at Amateur Athletic Union state meets. In the fall of 1939, he enrolled at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and spent two years in study there. At the end of that period, he was employed in the United States Engineers office at Los Angeles, California.
On December 28, 1942, Mark L. Shorts, Jr. and Miss Polly Perkins, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Keith Perkins of Columbus, Nebraska, were married in Columbus. They made their home in Los Angeles, California, until he entered the service.
Mark L. Shorts, Jr. enlisted in the Army Air Corps in September, 1942, and was called into the service on February 23, 1943. He took his pre-flight training at Santa Ana, California, and then went to Mira Loma Flight Academy at Oxnard, California. From there, he went to Lemoore Field near Fresno, California. At the completion of his flying course, he was transferred to Colorado to the field of advanced flying at the La Junta Army Air Base, where he was graduated and received his commission as a second lieutenant on January 7, 1944.
Second Lieutenant Mark L. Shorts, Jr. reported at Columbia, South Carolina, on January 21, 1944, and was assigned his crew, and took his combat training. He left there on June 30, 1944, for Savannah, Georgia, and on July 9, flew to Sacramento, California, where he remained a short time before leaving on the overseas flight. His plane, with all the crew aboard, was forced down in the Pacific. The area in which the plane was last reported was searched by plane as well as naval vessel, but no trace of the missing plane or crew has ever been found.
Second Lieutenant Mark L. Shorts, Jr. was a member of the Federated Church in Columbus, Nebraska.
Private First Class Edward A. Siebler was born on July 26, 1911, in Shell Creek Township near Platte Center, Nebraska, and killed in action in Germany on December 14, 1944.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leopold Siebler of Platte Center. His mother is deceased. He had four brothers: William Siebler of Omaha, Nebraska; Louis Siebler, formerly of Humphrey, Nebraska; Henry Siebler of Platte Center, Nebraska; and Leo Siebler of Shell Creek Township; and four sisters: Mrs. Alvin Hulsebus of Columbus, Nebraska; Mrs. Theodore Borchers of Columbus, Nebraska; Mrs. John Borchers of Monroe, Nebraska; and Miss Minnie Siebler of Platte Center, Nebraska.
Edward attended School District 22 in Shell Creek Township. After finishing grammar school, he assisted his father on the farm until he entered the service of his country in April, 1942.
Private First Class Edward A. Siebler was first sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and then sent to Camp Barkley, Texas, where he took his basic training. After completing this training, he was transferred to California, where he was given desert training. He then went to Camp Dix, New Jersey, preparatory to embarking for overseas duty. Private First Class Edward Siebler went overseas in March, 1944. He was in the Infantry, and a member of General George S. Patton's Third Army. He had had approximately nine months of overseas service when he was killed in action in Germany on December 14, 1944.
Memorial services will be held for him when his body is returned for burial here. He was a member of the Zion Lutheran Church in Grand Prairie Township.
© 2005 for the NEGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller