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Eng Family History

Edward and Martina Eng Family

I am in my eighty fourth year, the sixth child of twelve. This is about our family who lived in Gary for nearly fifty years. Adding each year that one us attended the Gary Public school, we accumulated a total of 130 school years. None of us settled in Gary but we have all been back many times.

My Dad, Edward Eng was born on a homestead near Balaton, Mn. He became a teacher and later the owner of a general store in Fulda, Mn. He was father of three boys when his wife died. He married Mom, Martina Svendsen who had come to America from Norway in l911. They came to Gary, SD in 1916, purchased the Herrick Hotel, became a partner of Milt Griffing in a farm implement agency, and bought a home that is still on Main (?) St. catty-corner from the school that has since been torn down.

They may have operated the Hotel for a short time but it eventually was removed.

Dad was a charter member and assisted with the creation of the Gary Golf Course – the nine hole course that is still in use a couple of miles south of town. He loved the game, played well into his 70’s and taught us as we became old enough to swing a club. He was served on the School Board for many years, was its president for a number of years and presented me with my diploma when I graduated from eighth grade.

Mom had nine children , made a home and kept twelve children well fed and clothed. She was a good seamstress and even made coats and jackets for many of us. She baked six large loaves of bread every other day and was known for her baking expertise. She was always called on for hot rolls as her contribution to community occasions. In her later years she worked at the School for the Blind and was well loved by the students there.

Nine of the twelve children attended college earning three masters degrees and one PHD. There were varied careers – an electrical contractor, owner of a communications equipment agency, a power company District manager, a Captain in the US Navy and CIA agent, a computer programmer, a University professor, a High School teacher, a funeral home owner/director, a dental technician.

I’m very proud of my siblings for being good citizens, for raising responsible children, and mostly for being nice people. I’m especially proud of our parents for providing necessities and a stable home in spite of some difficult circumstances. They always encouraged us to do our best and gave us a firm basis to start our adult lives.

We all agree that living in Gary, that nice friendly little town on the prairie, contributed greatly our later years. By today’s standard, the Gary School curriculum was not elaborate, but we left, after 12 years with a firm foundation. The weather in Gary --- well, let’s just say that the blustery, cold winters toughened us for challenges ahead.

Submitted by Muriel Eng Nicholls