We have lost a special friend and colleague.....Alice
Riedlinger Essig descended from pioneers who came early to homestead
in Sheridan County and Emmons County, North Dakota. Her ancestors
had farmed in the German villages of the Glueckstal and Liebental
districts of the Black Sea and continued that pioneering spirit
on the Northern Plains.
Alice had a long-time interest in genealogy. She was an active,
longtime member of the American Historical Society of Germans from
Russia. She was one of the original circle who founded the North
Dakota group which has become the Germans from Russia Heritage Society.
In the early years of GRHS, much of her time was donated to the
work of the society, particularly the research and correspondence.
Alice had an extensive personal library, which included a large
collection of obituaries from the Dakotas, and many family histories
and jubilee books, which she regularly used to aid others in their
Alice was honored by the Germans from Russia Heritage Society
by having the December, 1991 issue of the Heritage Review
dedicated to her unceasing efforts to preserve the history of the
Germans from Russia.
An evening with Alice and Walt included conversation on Dakota
history. Walt supported Alice's research with his knowledge of early
settlements, complete with names and dates, and that, combined with
Alice's knowledge of Dakota family names and where families settled,
made for lively conversation.
Much of Alice's research and knowledge of North Dakota found its
way into the Glueckstal Colonies Research Association Newsletter.
Her work in copying the Declarations of Intent for McIntosh County,
North Dakota, for example, was one of her major contributions to
genealogical research. She and Walter were always available to work
with visitors to extend their knowledge of family history. Alice
made two trips to Germany to visit relatives and to engage in genealogical
Alice is survived by her husband of more than 65 years, Walter
Essig, four children, Margaret, Kay, Bob, and James, and many grandchildren
and great-grandchildren. Her death on February 1, 1997, saddens
Margaret Aman Freeman, Redondo Beach, California
and Gwen Pitzkau, Riverton, Utah
Glueckstal Colonies Research Association
Armand Bauer, Editor of Heritage Review, writes in the
December, 1991 issue: "This issue of Heritage Review is dedicated
to Alice Essig of Bismarck, North Dakota. Mrs. Essig is recognized
for her services on the first International Board of Directors.
She served on this board for about twelve years, and was its first
Mrs. Essig also was one of the eighteen individuals who attended
the organizational caucus in October, 1970 that eventually led to
the formation of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society. Alice
Essig's major interest in the Society's functions is in genealogy.
Together with others, she was involved in the development of Der
Over the years she has developed extensive genealogical files
on the Germans from Russia, and has carried an extensive correspondence
with those seeking such help. Her involvement in genealogical work
was stimulated during the several years she served as the office
manager for the Society. Alice and Walter Essig are charter members
of the Germans form Russia Heritage Society. They are active members
of the Pioneer Chapter. Alice - we salute you for your many ears
of dedicated service."
From the Bismarck Tribune, February 3, 1997
Alice Essig, 85, 1453 N. 12th St., Bismarck, ND, died Feb. 1,
1997, at her home. Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Faith
Lutheran Church, Bismarck, with the Rev. James Sorenson officiating.
Burial will be in Sunset Memorial Gardens, Bismarck.
Alice was born on March 30, 1911, near McClusky, ND, the daughter
of Chris and Ida (Wahl) Riedlinger. As a child she moved to McClusky
with her family, and later to Washburn, where she was educated and
worked as a telephone switchboard operator. As such, she was also
employed in both Mott and McClusky.
Alice married Walter K. Essig in McClusky on June 24, 1931. In
1933 they moved to the Essig family homestead in the Lincoln Valley
area. There she was a member of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church and
was active in Ladies Aid. She was also active in the local Twilight
Circle Homemakers Club. In 1974 she retired to Bismarck, where she
became a member of Faith Lutheran Church and was active in its Friendship
Circle. She was also an active member of Bismarck- Mandan AARP Chapter.
Alice was one of the original founders of the Germans From Russia
Heritage Society, and worked for a number of years in its headquarters
office. She had a special gift for genealogy and was able to help
many people with their family research, and also with the translations
of German documents, which she enjoyed doing.
She is survived by her husband, Walter; two daughters and one
son in-law, Kathleen and Richard Bennett, Concord, CA, and Margaret
Pretzer, Bismarck; two sons and daughters-in-law, Robert and Arlene,
Minneapolis, and James and Judy, Fargo; two sisters, Clara Rosenau,
Dover, NH., and Lillian Froehlich, McClusky; one brother, Ted, Everett,
Wash.; 13 grandchildren; 14 great grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and one brother William.