Following the birth of Vera’s Fuhr third child, the Dr. told Mrs. Fuhr “Stick around, friend there’s another one coming”. Those identical twin boys were born April 7, 1921 in Spencer, Neb. Their parents named them after their grandfathers, Jack and Joe. They had an older brother (Bernard) and sister (Marie) and 7 years later another brother (Bill).
As toddlers, Jack and Joe jabbered back and forth with their own language but the adults could not understand it. One day their mother took them to a Ladies Aid at the church. Needing to take a quick trip to the store she told the toddlers to stay on a bench in the church basement. When other ladies tried to get them to come, they refused because “Mama said, NO”.
The Fred and Vera Fuhr family attended the Spencer United Methodist Church. Jack remembers that even as a very young child all had a part in the Christmas Eve Program. After 6th grade they were in a boy’s class and became ushers.
Boyd County (NE) did not become part of Nebraska until 1895 allowing Jack’s grandparents to homestead one mile west of Gross, Neb. Jack’s family moved from Spencer, Neb. to the family homestead when the twins were in 4th grade. This was a big adjustment for the family, especially for their mother, as they now had no running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity and had to burn wood or corn cobs for heating and cooking. Jack and Joe had school clothes worn only for school and work clothes only for work, and as they grew or received newer clothes the school clothes became work and so on. They traded the inside and outside chores each day.
Jack had a male teacher for three of his grade school years, which was very unusual for those times. One year their older brother Bernard was one of those male teachers. After finishing the 10th grade at Gross High School Jack went to Bristow, Neb. for his 11th and 12th grades, graduating in 1939.
Because the twins took two years of Latin at Gross High School they were qualified to attend college and were accepted into the Ag College at the University of Nebraska. They lived together paying $24/month for room and board. The boys joined ROTC in 1943 during their junior year of college and served their country for 4 years. When Jack and Joe were both in the military, if the First Sargent would reprimand one of them they would answer the First Sargent “Sorry, you got the wrong one.”
In 1942 Jack went home with his roommate Hal Bleyhl and met Hal’s sister Arlene. This was the beginning of a romance, and Jack and Arlene were married two years later.
Jack and Arlene won a drawing for an irrigation unit on Mirage Flats in 1950 and farmed there for 30 years. After moving to Hay Springs, they both worked for Pioneer Manor – Jack was the maintenance man and Arlene was housekeeper and groomer.
Jack moved into Pioneer Manor in 2012. He says he’s been an inmate ever since and keeps the staff shaking their heads and laughing.
Online condolences can be made at www.chamberlaichapel.com
Chamberlain Drabbels Mortuary of Hay Springs is in charge of arrangements.
I played baseball all my life and ended up coaching the game. I’ve been a St. Louis Cardinals fan since 1931. St. Louis had a World Series and the Cardinals won that in 1944. Jack played a year of legion baseball, and was involved in perfect game of softball.
Jack remembers in 1937 basketball rules changed – instead of having a tip off at the center of the court following every point, the players now take the ball out under the basket.
Jack wonders if anyone remembers Peanut Day in county school. He remembers the family went to all of Will Rogers movies.
He served on several community boards: Sheridan County Fair, REA, school (District 56), church and Scottsbluff Aging.
Surviving children: Sandy Highfield of Oakdale, Minn., Rob and Diane McDonough of Lake Elmo, Minn. with their daughter Casey, Teresa and Rusty Fuhr of Gillette, Wyo. with their children, Amy, Matt, and Mark. Surviving family: Joe Fuhr of Fremont, Neb. and Dwayne Blehyl of Santa Rosa, Calif.