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Retired but still going strong

There are no ants in his pants

January 21, 2011
By Terri Kelly Barta

Nick Schall was born in 1924 and he's been busy ever since. It has been one self-imposed project after another. When he sees something that needs to get done, he spearheads the effort.

"I like to promote the town and the county," this Rugby area resident said.

In 1948, Schall decided that it was time to have access to electricity in the rural area where he and Ann lived. In the spring, he wrote to U.S. Senator Bill Langer, who was on the committee on Post Office and Civil Service at that time, asking that electric service be provided to the area. Langer responded that he was checking into it. Langer wrote back with updates and his promise to keep on the issue until it got resolved satisfactorily. Finally, electrical access was brought to rural Pierce County where the Schalls and their neighbors lived.

Just a short time later, Langer was still in the U.S. Senate and Schall had another project. In 1948, Schall requested that mail delivery be daily for the rural area. At the time, mail would come tri-weekly. Because there were not many people living on that mail route and the federal requirement of the Postal Service was that there had to be 1,000 pieces of mail to deliver, the request was at first denied. It wasn't until 1958 that the rural area occupied by the Schalls and their neighbors at last, received mail daily. At one point the neighbors all decided to subscribe to the Minot Daily News to show their need for daily service. With 18 mailboxes in nine miles receiving the Daily News, the neighbors all signed a petition that Schall passed around. The tion was sent along with yet another request for daily mail service. Finally, on June 13, 1959, daily mail delivery began for their area.

"After I got the post office department to give us daily mail service, I started on the telephone," said Schall in a note in one of his 40 scrapbooks. "It took from 1959-1965." He has his whole family history documented in scrapbooks. He also has scrapbooks for the Eagles and the Forestors.

Schall grew up on a farm 9 miles west and 10 miles south of Rugby with two brothers, Pete and Mike. Their mom died of cancer in 1942 when Nick and his twin brother, Pete, were 18 and Mike was 12. After that it was dad and the three boys on the farm. Since their mom had taught Nick how to cook and bake he took on those duties along with his farm chores.

When the work was done, the boys would hunt rabbits. They sold the pelts for 7 cents each. One time, Nick recalled, Pete and Nick were out hunting in sheepskin Mackinaw coats. All of a sudden, he noticed Pete wasn't around. He started looking for him and he was no where to be found. Just as he was about to give up, he saw something sticking out of a culvert. Pete had shot a rabbit, but it ran into the culvert. Pete went in after the rabbit and with his big coat, he got stuck. Nick had to grab Pete's coat and pull it over his head to get him out.

"He still had hold of that rabbit though," laughed Nick.

A lifelong resident of Pierce County, Nick was very active in Jefferson Township. He served as the school clerk for ten years in German School District #6. He also served as Jefferson Township treasurer for 15 years. He was a school bus driver for Rugby School for sixteen years. He served the church in Fulda as secretary/treasurer for four years. He was a charter member of the Rugby Eagles Club where he was a past president. He is a Fourth Degree in the Knights of Columbus in his church. He worked for the county as a gravel trucker for nine years.

In the 1970s, Pete and Nick were both involved in the Harvey Eagles Club. Nick got to thinking one day that Rugby should have their own Eagles Club. At first Harvey didn't want to lose the 75 Rugby members from their club, according to Nick. He started working on finding a place for the club in Rugby and recruiting people to join. Eventually, they worked it out between the two clubs and Nick was one of the charter members of the new Rugby Eagles Club in 1978. They had 173 members.

Nick has been and still is very active in the Rugby Eagles. In 1984 he started the Eagles Scholarship.

"I am still chair to this day," he said.

Schall has been retired for several years. He lives with his wife, Ann, at the Haaland Home.

He met Ann Marie Axtman and they were married on October 27, 1947 at Mt. Carmel Church in Balta.

Ann his partner in life, worked part time jobs in addition to raising their children. She has been active in Homemakers and Christian Mother's Society. She keeps the home fires burning while Nick is working on his projects.

The couple has been married for 63 years.

"Nobody's right all the time," Nick said about the longevity of his marriage. "It's give and take. We get along pretty good."

They have three children, a daughter Diane Dodd, and two sons, Duane and David. They have six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

"I love 'em all," said Nick,with grandfatherly pride. "I have had a good life, I am happy," he added.



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