This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My dad, Mike

Dad was 68 67 when he died in 1981 1980.  He'd served in WWII, and one of his wartime buddies, Eugene Popp,  was at the funeral.  He was talking with my sister and she mentioned dads' box of souvenirs and how he'd never talked about what he did in the war.  Did they see a lot of combat?  Had they been 'front lines'?

Dad's papers say he took part in battles and campaigns in "Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes & Central Europe".  So yes, a lot of combat, including the Normandy Invasion--but how did they survive such awful conditions?  Eugene said they were not front line soldiers...they were second wave landing at Normandy on day 6.  He said the front lines were made up of city boys and glory seekers...but that the farm boys who came later had upper body strength and ingenuity, and they lasted in a fight.
Dad and Eugene survived and came home.  They married and raised families and tried to forget about the war.  I suspect Eugene never talked about his own part in WWII, but he was willing to speak of dads.  We just never realized dad would have done the same.


  1. I thought he was 67 when he died in March, 1980. He was born in 1913, right? And he died just before I finished in Montana which was in 1980. Oh, if only there was a historian in the family to chenck on this...

  2. Um, just seeing if you were paying attention...
    Thanks ☺

  3. What was the cause of his death...?

  4. I was there when the docs came out of the OR after his first exploratory surgery. They said he had a cancer of the kidney. They said his kidney was the size of a football and that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes extensively. This was in early Jan. 1980 I believe. They told us there was really no treatment for this kind of cancer. Lois