Ray Henn Graduated From St. Ben's in 1929, Recalls Braddock Play day

Burke, Allan. "Ray Henn Graduated From St. Ben's in 1929, Recalls Braddock Play day." Emmons County Record, 4 July 2002, 4.

Ray Henn of Linton poses during the alumni reunion Friday.

Ray Henn of Linton had seniority at the Strasburg Alumni Reunion held Friday as part of the Strasburg Centennial Celebration.

Henn represented the earliest class at the gathering - 1929. Philippine Berglund of the Strasburg Care Center and formerly of Linton is the other surviving member of the class, and she had been looking forward to attending but was not able to because of the 100-degree-plus weather.

"Classes were small in those days, and a big event for us was going to the Braddock School's Play Day," Ray recalled. "We had no coach, so we drove ourselves to Braddock."

Play Day included events such as the high jump, pole vaulting and scissor jumping.

"I got a Charlie Horse from participating, and I could hardly walk afterwards," Ray laughed.

Ray, 92, noted that students have the opportunity to participate in so many more activities today.

As a student, Ray was one of the few Strasburg residents to own a camera, and he shot lots of pictures with his Kodak when he was growing up.

Photography became a hobby for him, and he took thousands of pictures over the years. Not long ago, he sold his last camera, a Nikon.

"Our teachers were Ursuline Sisters, and the priests taught us religion," Ray explained. "Sister Edith was one of the main teachers, and she was a gem. All of the students liked her."

Ray remembers walking into the big livery barn that was a Strasburg landmark for many years. About 20 high school boys were in the barn smoking.

"I asked them if they would quit if they could, and they said they would rather die than quit," Ray recalled. "They were my friends and classmates, and they all died many years ago."

Ray's parents were the late John F. and Ida (Giese) Henn, and he had four sisters and two brothers.

John managed the Security State Bank in Strasburg until it closed during the Depression. The building was used for other purposes until the current bank was built and included the old structure. John later worked for the PCA and then for the State of North Dakota.

After finishing high school, Ray did farm work and helped with the harvest. He and his brother, James, pitched grain out of a horse-drawn header box. "It wasn't easy work," Ray said, "and my brother got tired out, so I pitched for him, too."

One of the farms where he helped in the 1930s was owned by Anton P. Horner. Like his father, Ray pursued a career in banking. He was hired in 1936 by J.D. Meier and Mike Barger to work in the First National Bank in Linton, and he retired after more than 38 years in 1975.

Ray and his wife, Mary, had three daughters and a son. They are Bev O'Brien and Thomas J. Henn, both of Bismarck, Rita Hunting of Norwalk, Conn., and Judy Grune-Felder of Kintyre. Mary died in 2000.

The oldest golfer at the Linton Country Club, Ray likes to play a few holes every day. He is a member of the senior group, and his four-member team frequently has the winning score, which he credits, in part, to their handicaps.

Reprinted by permission of the Emmons County Record

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