• Gearhart Funeral Home
    Coon Rapids, MN
Brought to you by
Floyd M. Stolt
Print   Close
October 13, 2013
I have had some trouble posting the rest of the "Defining Moments" to the website. If you would like to read the rest, you should be able to contact me through this website and I can send you a copy of the whole thing.
September 30, 2013
Part 4 of "Defining Moments"

Our first ND winter hit like a sledgehammer. The southern boys couldn't believe that people could actually survive such harsh conditions. We were issued hip length parkas with hoods and no one lingered between buildings on our windy little knob. I spent many evenings at Bev's house playing cards and shooting the breeze with her folks. Her mother Stella was a hard working housewife who had a passion for bowling and playing cards. Her dad was a real piece of work. A transplant from Montana, he was a skilled wood craftsman, hunter and storyteller, a good shot, winning a ND Skeet shooting championship and even running a trap line for mink on the river outside of town. He was an Osteopathic Physician who had attended 4 years of medical school. Unfortunately it was a dying profession, what with chiropractors competing with him after completing a short course. As different as they were from my own more conservative parents, or maybe because of it, I was very comfortable and loved being around them.
Winter finally turned to Spring and Bev and I were still a ‘steady' pair. Early summer brought a huge surprise: ‘Greetings' from Headquarters;
I had been chosen to take a little trip at government expense. I was being reassigned to overseas duty somewhere in the Far East. I was to report to a port of embarkation in California for further assignment. I never found out why I had been chosen and of course there was no appeal. So I drove my newly acquired ‘42 Ford home to NU and prepared it for storage.
After talking it over with my Mom I decided to give Bev an engagement ring before I left. Mom was very relieved that Bev was a confirmed Lutheran; I had been dating a Catholic girl in high school. I was concerned about what my Mother might be feeling about my being assigned to the Far East when there was a war on. She had suffered terribly when my brother Carl had been killed in the SW Pacific during WW II. Whatever she felt, she never let on to me. I think it must be hell to be a mother sometimes.
Back in Minot I said a difficult goodbye to Beverly and the rest of the Kembles and climbed aboard the Empire Builder for the beginning of a journey to who-knows-where. It was a beautiful train ride, through the northern Rockies, alongside the Columbia river in Washington, down the West coast through the Sierras. Another airman and I got off at Pittsburg, Calif. about midnight. After several nights of trying to get some rest in a coach seat, we were desperate to flop on a bed somewhere, anywhere. The last bus to the base was long gone, no Taxi service , what to do? We started walking, lugging our duffel bags. The only thing open was a flophouse with a red light in the window. Did I mention we were desperate? The night clerk gave us the fish eye and asked “one room or two?” We took a double and flopped, only to be treated to endless squeaking of bedsprings and moaning through pasteboard walls. Welcome to Pittsburg!
Again, the world looked considerably brighter the next morning. We caught a military bus to Camp Stoneman and got there just in time for breakfast. ‘Processing' to go overseas involved a lot of waiting, ‘policing' the area, picking up cigarette butts, etc. and checking the bulletin board to see if we had made any of the departure lists. In due time my name appeared. I was bound for Clark Air Force Base on the island of Luzon in the Philippine Islands (P.I.). What could be better after spending a winter in ND? Again I felt guilty about possibly causing my Mom anguish since Carl had been reported Missing while en route to the island of Leyte in the P.I. The good news: I was going to be a long way from the war going on in Korea.
We loaded up on an ancient ferry boat and sailed down an estuary leading to San Francisco Bay where our ship was berthed. The David C. Shanks was one of the hundreds of workhorse ‘Liberty‘ ships that were built during WWII. The Shanks was now operated by the Military Sea Transportation Service, a department of the Navy, and manned by civilian Merchant Marine seaman. Basically a cargo ship that could be configured to haul human cargo by stacking plain canvas bunks floor to ceiling in one or more of the holds. A luxury liner it was not, but it wasn't so bad and under the Golden Gate we went, an unforgettable moment. What lies ahead??
September 30, 2013
I was Floyd's high school classmate. we were saddened to hear of his death. I spent a good deal of time online looking for a current address and called some numbers but no luck.

Thank you for adding the "Defining Moments" series. I will print and forward them to Richard Grams, another classmate who has been wanting to contact Floyd.

The exempts tell so much aboout the person he became...we were all somewhat unformed in our teens
September 27, 2013
MY SYMPATHY TO THE "FLOYD M. STOLT" FAMILY:

Floyd and I met as Freshmen in the fall of 1954 at NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY. During our first two years, we studied together and then we split because Floyd went to pursue an "Electrical Engineering" Degree and I went into "Civil Engineering. We both graduated in the Spring of 1958.

Attached is a photo of Floyd and me taken on 5-29-2009 when he came to visit me.
September 27, 2013
Three years ago the New Ulm High School Class of 1950 held its 50th reunion. Some of us suggested having another in a couple of years, rather than waiting until 2015. We had that intermediate gathering last weekend in New Ulm. We tried to find your address but failed. As it happened, our classmate, Donnald Boelter, died at the reunion, September 20th. You joined him the next day. We miss you both.
September 26, 2013
Another Excerpt from "Defining Moments"

part 3 in the series

When the base water system needed to be shut down for 3 days, we were told, if at all possible, to ‘take off'. An airman from Minneapolis was driving home and looking for riders so Nubbs and I decided to go with him as far as St. Cloud. From there on we planned to hitchhike to New Ulm. A piece of cake, right? What is it they say about the best laid plans? When we got to St. Cloud it was getting dark and raining cats and dogs. We ducked into a roadside tavern and took turns standing outside thumbing for a ride. Bad scene. At closing time we still hadn't hooked a ride. By this time everyone in the place knew our story and one patriotic soul volunteered to drive us to N.U. Before long, for whatever reason, he drove off the road and came to an abrupt stop. I had been stretched out sleeping in the back seat and took a sharp blow to the side of my head. Nubbs in the front passengers seat had the tip of his nose badly cut. Our driver was slumped over the steering wheel in pain. The rain had finally stopped and we could see the lights of a town not too far away. We told the driver we would go for help and walked to the town. It was a small town and a house had its porch light on, so we knocked on the door. A lady answered the door, took one look at us, shut the door and turned off the porch light! Really bad scene! A while later we saw a fire truck coming down the street, it was the first moving vehicle we had seen since the accident. We flagged it down and found out they were on a mission to deal with some flooding. We told them about the accident and that the driver was in need of help. We asked them where we might find a place to stay the night and they said the only place was the city jail. Chilling in our damp clothes, we flopped down on dirty mattresses and called it a day - what a day.
Thankfully, the sun rose in the East again and the world looked considerably brighter the next morning. Nubbs called his Mom who then picked up my Mom and then drove up to rescue their bedraggled sons. All is well that ends well, right? The saga was not quite over. I took the first bite of something to eat and about went thru the roof - the pain in my lower jaw was horrendous. My Dentist took an x-ray and gave me the bad news - my jaw was fractured and my mouth would have to be wired shut for 4 weeks! So for 28 days, 3 times a day I went in the back door of our mess hall and made my own meals - several raw eggs whipped with milk. Now comes the amazing part - I have no bad memory of that episode. I think it is because I met Beverly in that period.
The Bendix Field Engineer who was stationed with us was dating a friend of Bev's and engineered a blind date for us. The memory of that first meeting is as clear to me as if it happened yesterday. Yet another ‘Defining Moment'.
We learned that the radar we would soon be getting was a brand new design from Bendix Corp. We would be trained on it's maintenance by civilian factory personnel. I was ordered to go to a school near Baltimore, MD. Other attendees were a small mixed bag of officers and enlisted men from around the various sites. We had been given “Per Diem” money to finance a civilian living environment. An officer approached me and said he had a car and had located a place for himself and his expectant wife to live and that a boarding house was next door to them. A phone call revealed they had openings for bachelor men and deals were struck for transportation and room and board. Is someone looking out for me or what? I would be rooming with a young Sergeant and having meals with a few other residents. The question of the day was “Can the landlady cook?” We needn't have worried. Every meal was a banquet of variety and quality the likes of which I had never seen (forgive me Mom, her business budget allowed her to do this). We ate together family-style with our hostess beaming with pleasure as we complimented her efforts. It remains one of the most memorable dining experiences of my life. A ‘perk' that we as residents had was to join the host in the evening to watch wrestling on a 12 inch TV ! That was the first TV I had ever seen - what is this world of electronics coming to ?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch in ND a factory team from Bendix was assembling our new radar. I got back just in time to see ‘power on'. We were very pleased that the antenna and most of the electronics was housed in an inflated dome and we would not have to perform maintenance outdoors. The scopes for viewing air traffic and the big plotting board were in a separate building. In those days there was not much air traffic in ND and tracking an airplane was an exciting thing. Is that a Russian ‘bogie' coming across the border?
One stormy night when I was on duty we lost commercial power. I knew the dome would soon cave in and possibly damage the big antenna. What to do? I grabbed a flashlight and went thru the air lock up into the darkened dome and pushed the antenna around out of harms way for the moment. In the nick of time the guys got our backup diesel motor-generator going and all was saved. Exciting huh? Actually it was, and I enjoyed the moment. I don't
know if my actions that night had anything to do with it but I was awarded a third stripe to Airman First Class. That grade was called Sergeant in the old (pre-1948) Army Air Corp which we naturally preferred.
September 26, 2013
Another excerpt from "Defining Moments"

As Christmas 1950 approached, the war in Korea was not going well. The usual notification that the training schools would close between Christmas and New Years and Leaves given the students was delayed. We were issued the new blue winter uniforms and continued classes. Finally the word came that we would have Leave. The late notice did not allow the transportation services enough time to schedule resources to handle the hundreds of students wanting to travel. What to do? Not a commercial seat or rental car was available. Five of us Minnesotans were without wheels and 1500 miles from home. Not to be denied, we flagged down a cab. Would you believe, the cabby said he had a cousin in Minnesota that he hadn't seen for a long while and he agreed to take us home and back for railroad coach fare. Pinch me - we're going home for Christmas! Five airmen in our new winter Blues and the cabby in a ‘49 Mercury and the trunk crammed full of duffel bags. We took turns driving and went straight thru (2 lane roads all the way). We hit snow at the Wisconsin state line - the first our cabby had ever seen. We pulled over and pelted him with snowballs. First stop - Winona, then New Ulm and finally Wilmar, where the last airman and the cabbies cousin lived. I was in for a bit of a shock when Mom told me her mother needed care and was occupying ‘my' room. While it was great to be home for the holidays, I could sense that nothing would ever be the same again.
Those of us who finished Fundamentals with good grades were offered the opportunity to move on to Radar Maintenance. Nubbs and I, still together, were assigned to long-range ground-based radars. We studied all the aspects of transmission, reception and display of reflected electrical
energy and were suitably impressed.
As spring, 1951 approached, I realized how much I would miss that wonderful season in Minnesota. Where would we be assigned after graduation? Texas and Mississippi did not impress me. Would we be shuffled off to some similar place? As much as I enjoyed my newly acquired technical knowledge, I was very homesick. Nubbs nosed me out for top grade in our class. That was all right, I knew he had worked harder in high school than I had. Another of life's lessons learned.
To say we anxiously awaited our duty station assignments is a gross understatement. Finally they were posted. Were we seeing things? “Minneapolis Naval Air Station for further assignment” Unbelievable! “For further assignment” - what did that mean? I didn't care - I was going back to Minnesota. We found out very shortly that a line of radar sites were being built along our northern border. Our group would be assigned sites in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. Nubbs and I, still together, were assigned to a site near Minot, ND. I bought a tired ‘41 Pontiac, took on a full load of airmen and headed out. What an adventure! I knew ND had a reputation for being cold but I also knew there was good hunting. The site was out in the country on a windy hilltop and was not yet operating in the net. In fact, I was the 25th airman to sign in of a total complement of about 100. The Commanding Officer and First Sergeant seemed to be as pleased to be there as I was.
The site had a lot of construction debris lying around, and in general looked very unmilitary. This of course, had to be addressed. I was a willing and enthusiastic worker at these tasks and that did not go unnoticed by the First Sergeant. Very shortly I was promoted to Airman Second Class, in charge of assigning cleanup duties to the new arrivals. I'm on a roll, an unbelievable roll!
Our Recreation Officer made arrangements with various institutions in Minot for nursing students, sorority girls, etc. to come out to our little base for chaperoned dances in our Day room. The first moments were hilarious with much posturing and eye-balling across the room until some brave soul broke the ice. I met a very pretty dark-haired girl who was reluctant to give me her phone number. She finally admitted she was attending a Catholic school for Nuns. Well, you can't win'em all.
September 25, 2013
Excerpt from "Defining Moments" my dad wrote about his life:

Someone once said that coincidences were our Higher Power's way of remaining anonymous. I think there is more than a little truth in that. I have experienced coincidences in my life that were so significant that they became defining moments; that is, they provided a whole new direction or dimension to my life. They were always provided to me, free of charge, out of the blue and never solicited.
I was born on my folks' farm in 1933, a couple months after FDR took on the Depression and 5 years before we had electricity on the farm. My nearest sibling age-wise was 11 years older than me. It was almost like being an only child. When I tired of playing by myself, I helped my Mom with her chores, collecting eggs, fetching wood for the kitchen stove, etc. My allowance was 25¢ a week. In 1938 Mom told my Dad (who was on our local school board) to get me enrolled in school, I was driving her crazy. So at the tender age of 5 years and 4 months I started first grade. We had what was probably the finest elementary country school in the whole state. By consolidating school districts they were able to improve on the usual one-room country school. We had a beautiful brick split-entry building which was years ahead of it's time. It had a library, bathrooms with flush toilets, separate rooms and teachers for each four grades and two huge rec rooms where we could roller skate or play volley ball all winter long. I loved that school, if for no other reason than to just be around other kids.
I was the first one in my family that had the opportunity to go to high school. My two older brothers and sister were put to work on the farm after finishing eighth grade. I was luckier, my folks retired from the farm about the time I started high school. My Advisor for the first year's classes was one of the mathematics teachers and she quickly decided that I should start a program of higher math, algebra, geometry etc. No asking me, she just signed me up. In later years with other Advisors who were not so parochial I managed to assert my own choices for classes with less work. Even though I loved math and got good grades, I thought it was smart to avoid working too hard. In the not too distant future that math background would serve me well.
High school was a confusing time for me. I always had after (or before) school jobs, paper boy, bowling pin-setter, flunky at the Studebaker garage, but nothing giving me an internship for life's work. It bothered me, but I didn't know what to do about it. Shortly before graduation, Nubbs, an acquaintance of mine, signed up for a hitch in the Air Force and when he suggested that I join him, I jumped at it. We two and several other new grads from Minnesota were flown (my first plane ride) to Texas for Basic Training. We had barely settled in to our new home when the Korean War broke out. It took us all by surprise and rumors flew. Basic was shortened by several weeks and the usual Leave given at completion was canceled. Our commitment of 4 years took on a whole new complexion with the country at war. A part of Basic was an aptitude test for placement in a job category. All the Minnesotans scored well and were assigned to Electronic Fundamentals school in Mississippi. None of us had a clue how electronics worked. We learned that a few elegant mathematical laws governed the world of Ohms, Volts and Amperes. I was completely blown away. For 24 weeks we studied this new world in classroom and lab and I loved every minute of it. I had found my niche - or had it found me?
September 23, 2013
This may appear twice.
I worked with Floyd at Control Data and Midwest Systems. I was planning to give him a call to meet for breakfast. We had breakfast several times at Denny's over the past years. I was surprised to see his obit in the paper this morning. I am sorry for your loss. You have my sympathy. I will remember our discussions at work and breakfast.
Dick Snell.
©2014 Legacy.com. All rights reserved. Guest Book entries are free and are posted after being reviewed for appropriate content. If you find an entry containing inappropriate material, please contact us.