The Hills Crescent lost their biggest supporter and champion last week when former owner and columnist Luella Schlueter passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Schlueter began writing for the Crescent in the mid 1950s after marrying her husband, George. He owned the paper and she saw an opportunity to write a column by visiting with business owners about the local news.
She also made other people’s business her business. Her weekly column told the story of the families living in Hills.
Her daughter Bonnie Olson said, “I think of her columns as a type of pencil and paper Facebook.”
Like Facebook, the column informed readers of what people were doing on a daily basis — who came over for dinner and where people were traveling.
She continued writing for the paper well into her nineties.
Read her full obituary on page two of this week’s Hills Crescent.
The following excerpt was published July 23, 2009, in the Hills Crescent. It was the final column that ran with Luella Schlueter’s byline. She wrote six paragraphs with her news items about people socializing and traveling in Hills. The back half of the story was more personal and marked her last “official” words as a columnist for the Hills Crescent.
She continued to submit news items but never again wanted credit for them.
Her last official column follows:
“Can you stand a bit more of the history of the early years in Hills?
Well, my husband, George, was acquainted with the printing business as he had worked in shops in Canistota and Lennox S.D., for Beach Printing and had set type at the Argus Leader.
It was John Elbers who was picking up the cream from the Schlueter farm at Canistota and he insisted that George come and look over the place. So George left for Hills but missed the turn at Rowena and found himself in Larchwood, Iowa. Concerned that he wouldn’t have enough gas (because of rationing) to travel around the country looking for Hills, he decided to go back to Sioux Falls, but he tried it another time.
The town looked good to him. It had two stores, Fikse Produce, a drug store, Haak Locker, two cafes, a hardware store, a lumber yard and so on. The next effort was when Roy Hanson, part owner of the Crescent, had a leave from the Navy. He joined Roy and Sophie Hanson, the mother, and agreed to a lease with an option to buy. A deal was completed.
Dana Fleming, the school superintendent and English teacher, volunteered to proofread at the paper. Teddy Snodgrass, a schoolgirl, was hired to set type and Dana would come at night to do the editing.
George met the football coach, Mike Goodmanson, and he was invited to go with him to various football games, which he was refereeing and George was to be the lineman or the so-called “chain gang bunch!” There was Art Rortvet, who worked at the bank and another friend was Ray Nelson. A younger boy, Keith Hellie, was hired to throw in the “dead metal” who all helped out.
But there was a problem. Teddy, the typesetter, was to be a senior. Her mother Lucille Snodgrass, a teacher at Hills, had resigned and took a job teaching in South Dakota. This made Teddy and George unhappy. But a deal was made. Teddy was to remain in Hills, finish her senior year, live with the Schlueters and continue to set type at the Crescent. I might mention in those “hard times” living quarters were hard to find as no houses (or apartments) were to be obtained, so families shared their living quarters.
In the house where the Reids live now, the Albert Nuffers lived in the lower level while Fritz and Mildred Nuffer occupied the upper level. In the Goehle home, the upstairs was occupied by Casey and Carol Lommen and in the Schlueter residence, Irv and “Shorty” Johnson had the upper rooms. Shorty was the former Marie Skattum. Everyone made do until things got better.
And now after many years of being with the Crescent, a new reporter will gather the Hills local news. It is Julie Hyink, so call her at 962-3481 with news-related information. Thanks so very much to all who have supported me all these years, so au revoir and adios.”