We have lost a special friend and colleague.....Alice
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 individual research.
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 research.
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 us all.
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 secretary.
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 Stammbaum.
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."
Alice EssigFrom 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.