Obit: Wetzel, Gladys Sarah (1917 - 1931)

Contact: Crystal Wendt
Email: crystal@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

Surnames: Wetzel, Lochs, Nemitz, Wagner, Elliott, Brooks, Bradbury, Griswell, Schiller, Baumann, Reetz

----Source: Neillsville Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 9 July 1931

Wetzel, Gladys Sarah (7 July 1917 - 4 July 1931)

GIRL LOSES LIFE IN LAKE TRAGEDY

Three Other Children Narrowly Escape Same Fate

A family Fourth of July picnic and outing at Hatfield ended tragically when Gladys Sarah Wetzel, 14 year- old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Wetzel, farmers east of Columbia, was drowned and her three companions narrowly escaped a similar fate as they stepped into deep water while wading a short distance from shore early in the afternoon. The children with Gladys were Clarence Lochs, 11 years old, and his sister, Irene, 14 years old and Lorraine Wagner, 13 years old. Clarence and Irene, who are grand children of Mrs. Herman Wagener, were unconscious when taken from the water but responded to life saving methods.

Lorraine Wagner through good fortune kicked her way into shallow water and gave the alarm to Miss Agnes Wetzel, saying: "Gladys is way out in the water -- she’s going down."

Miss Wetzel was the first person on the scene and grabbed the hair of the little Locks girl as her head floated near the surface and began to swim toward shore. Miss Wetzel, however, became exhausted and Carl Nemitz took the victim the rest of the way.

The Neillsville Boy Scouts came in for some glory when two of them, Welton Brooks, a son of Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Brooks and Shirley Elliott son of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Elliott, both Star Scouts, leaped into the lake and after a number of dives brought up Clarence Locks and Gladys Wetzel.

Miss Agnes Wetzel related that she and Esther May had been teaching Gladys to swim for sometime and finally Gladys told Agnes: "Don’t take me out too far -- I’m getting tired."

The girls helped her nearer shore and a few moments later she and Clarence and Irene Lochs and Lorraine Wagner said they were going a shore to dress. Although, no one watched which way they went it is thought they started for a point on shore north of them instead of coming straight out and struck the treacherous drop-off into nine feet of water.

Shirley Elliott and Welton Brooks helped with the life saving efforts and after 20 minutes work Clarence and Irene Lochs were revived. Dr. E. L. Bradbury of Neillsville and Dr. Griswell of Alma Center, who were at cottages nearby were summoned by Arthur Nemitz and supervised the resuscitation work on Miss Wetzel, but she has been in the water longer then the other children and although the rescue efforts were kept up more then two hours she failed to respond. The body was taken to Neillsville in Schiller ambulance.

Gladys Wetzel was graduated from St. John’s Lutheran School June 2 in a class of 11 girls. On May 24 she was confirmed in St. John’s Lutheran Church in a class of 18 and two weeks before her death had become a member of the Young People’s Society. On the Sunday before her death she had won the cross and crown pin for regular attendance at Sunday School. She was thorough student and took a knee interest in school affairs where she enjoyed the warm friendship of all her classmates.

Miss Wetzel is survived by her parents and a brother, Clarence, and five sisters, Evelyn, Mildred, Marian, Ruth and Agnes.

The funeral was held Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the home and 2 p.m. at St. John’s Church, Rev. Wm. Baumann officiating. Six girls of her graduating class were pallbearers and four were flower girls. The vacant chair in the class circle bore a wreath. Burial was in the Neillsville cemetery.

Mr and Mrs. Gustave Wetzel and son of Glendive, Mont., and Miss Meta Reetz, Milwaukee, a cousin, were here to attend the rites.

*There are photos of Gladys Wetzel, Shirley Elliott, Welton Brooks included in the obituary.

 

 


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