By Sherry Vogel
Grandpa “Fritz” Goerndt enjoyed his favorite color, purple while celebrating his 90th birthday with family and friends at Thee Garage Showroom on Saturday afternoon, March 25.
Over the course of Fritz’s life he has survived a number of catastrophes ranging from a flood, to a car wreck, a shop fire, a home fire and the total demolition of his home to a tornado.
Frederick “Fritz” was born on March 30, 1927 to Walter and Emma (Schar) Goerndt in Hettinger, N.D. He was the fourth of five children: Irene, Helen, Bill, Fritz and Jim. The family was raised in Strool, ND where young Fritz enjoyed hunting and fishing. He also was quite good at water skiing. Over the years he became adept at working on old cars. He always enjoyed sharing this skill with young and old alike, often times giving others his advice and help to repair their cars.
Fritz attended high school in Sorum, S.D. briefly before its closure. He then enlisted in the US Navy, three days before his 18th birthday, on March 27, 1945. Goerndt served as a welder repairing ships in the Philippine Islands.
After being honorably discharged he worked at a variety of different jobs. Fritz married Ruby (Peterson) on Sept. 2, 1952 in Lemmon, S.D. Goerndt began working in the oil fields while his family was young. The family moved often, pulling a 36’ trailer with their Studebaker, to follow the drilling activity. Between 1952-1959 they resided in Sidney, Baker, Bowman, Buffalo, Casper, Terry, Glendive and Roundup. During this time they began their large family: daughter Carlynette 1953- d. 1969, Walter (Butch) 1954- d. 1971, Paul Allen 1956- d. 1957 and Wade 1958.
In 1960 they moved to Baker to make their permanent family home. Fritz continued to travel in the oil industry.
The family added three more children: Kelly 1960, Claire 1962 and Doug 1964.
In 1988 Fritz retired from the oil field due to an injury.
He enjoyed working as a volunteer driving the VA van to Fort Meade for ten years.
Congratulations and Happy Birthday Fritz!