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 Anton Peter “Tony” Bertsch

Anton Peter “Tony” Bertsch

Birth
Wells County, North Dakota, USA
Death 12 May 1993 (aged 71)
Sacramento, Sacramento County, California, USA
Burial Santa Nella, Merced County, California, USA
Plot 12, 0, 1435
Memorial ID 362781 · View Source
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Tony was born in Wells County, North Dakota on Sept. 09, 1921 and passed away in Sacramento, California on May 12, 1993 in the U.C. Davis Hospital. He was being treated for heart disease and had recently undergone surgery prior to passing away where a heart defiblerator was transplanted to control his irregular heartbeat; unfortunately the procedure did not work.

He was buried May 17, 1993 at the San Joaguin Veterans Cemetery by Santa Nella, California near Gustine, California. The local Veteran's Volunteer Group was waiting for us and they performed a 21-Gun Salute at his burial. The flower arrangements at his funeral from his brothers Uncle Mike and Aunt Jo Bertsch and Uncle Joe and Aunt Regina Bertsch were very nice and much appreciated by his family.

Tony picked this cemetery to be buried in when he was ill because he like the rolling cow pasture land that had been donated to be used as a Veternan's Cemetery. He said it was only fitting that he be buried there after spending so much time as a kid in North Dakota looking for the family cows in the same type of terrain; he is buried on the top row and would have liked the view.

This is info, stories and memories I have of my dad Tony:

Anton Peter Bertsch was known as Tony his entire life; he only used Anton on his taxes or anything related to the government. Tony was born Sept. 09, 1921 at home on the family farm in rural Wells County, North Dakota; so were his older brothers and sisters all born on the family farm. His younger sisters were born in the hospital in Harvey, N.D. My dad Tony liked to say he was born in the middle of No Where North Dakota. Tony's parents are Martin and Katherine (Becker) Bertsch, my dad was their 6th child of 9 children born in their family. Anton was nicknamed Tony because he was named after his Uncle Anton Goldade, his Aunt Alice (Bertsch) Goldade's husband and they didn't want to call both of them Anton.

Tony's earliest memories were of working in the family garden for his mother, they grew a large garden that supported his family, they also had chickens, pigs, horses, and cows. He really did not like the cows because they would go off and hide in the hilly terrain with small ditches and he and his brothers would have to ride their horses up, down and around the hilly area until the cows were found, sometimes it would take hours to find them and they couldn't go in until all were found; he said he disliked doing that the most. They were farmers and grew large fields of corn and other crops. He said when he was to little to work the fields his older brothers and the other men would walk behind the harvester and at lunch time it was his job to help take them lunch and help pick the ticks from the corn field off their backs.

George and Joe were the oldest boys and did most of the work on the farm with their dad Martin until Mike and Tony were old enough to work. He used to laugh a lot when telling me that if he or Mike messed up that it was George and Joe who would give them hell for it. I asked, "What about your Dad", he would always laugh and say not him it was always George and Joe who keep everyone in line, we didn't want to make them mad. One time when he was around 12 yrs old he got caught out in a bad rainstorm with lightning, he was on his horse and hid under a huge old weeping willow tree which was large enough to stay sitting on his horse. He said he had lightning all around him and thought he was safe until he got home and George and Joe were furious that he could have died under that tree being the highest point in the grassy field. He said he was lucky to be alive and George and Joe didn't let him forget that for a really long time, all this was said while he kept laughing about it.

My dad said they did ok during the Depression and grew enough food and raised their own animals so they had enough to eat but not all their neighbors were as lucky. When he was 12 or 13 yrs old one Sunday after church his mother Katherine told him and Mike to butcher one of the pigs and give some to their neighbors who had not had any meat in quite awhile. He remembered doing that for his mother, she was very religious and well liked in the community. When he was 13 and Mike was 15, Mike figured out how to wire the house with electricity. His brother Mike put batteries in the barn loft and wired them to the house and they had electricity for the first time ever; my dad said it was a very big deal back then. They had an outhouse instead of a bathroom and the only indoor plumbing was the small farm pump handle at the kitchen sink. They would pump the handle to get the water out of the well. I asked him if it was like Little House on the Prarie and he said NO and stopped telling me stories about the farm, I was 13, oops.

Tony graduated 8th Grade at the Wells County School, he said the older boys would go early and ride their horses to school to build a fire in the wood stove so when the teacher and younger students arrived the school room would be warm and ready for school. He said it was a one room school house with a pot belly wood stove in the middle to keep the room warm. There was no High School back then unless you paid to stay in the town of Harvey to attend High School there, most families could not afford that. After graduating from the 8th grade he and his friend from school worked on one of the Depression Work Projects with a road crew, he said it was hard work and they paid the 2 boys together the salary of one man and they split it. When he was 14 years old Tony moved to his Uncle Rocky and Aunt Helen (Becker) Leier's farm to work for them because their oldest son James Leier age 7 was not yet old enough to do the farm work. My Dad said Uncle Rocky was very smart and knew baseball statistic and could figure out which teams would win based on the players scores and stats. While working for them they would sometimes drive into the town of Wells, (sometimes called Wellsburg) and go to the bar to listen to the radio and hear the baseball games and scores. There was no television back then only the radio and newspapers.

When Tony was 16 years old he joined the North Dakota Conservation Corp to make money for his family and sent it home to his parents to help his family. He said the reason he lived and worked at the Leier's farm and then joined the North Dakota Conservation Corp was because his older brothers, George, Joe and Mike were home working the family farm with his dad Martin and he was younger and not really needed; he said George and Joe did a really good job running the family farm. When World War 2 started that changed everything and Joe and Mike enlisted ( I'm not sure about George) and my Dad was the only one on the farm that could drive the harvester and run the equipment, his younger brother Steve could not yet do the work and his dad Martin was too old to do that hard of work. When everyone was enlisting he was told to stay home by his dad, Martin and let his older brothers enlist first. My Dad said if he had left to go there wouldn't have been anyone to harvest the crops and his family would have been bankrupt loosing their crops. Tony drove the harvester from sun up to sun down only stopping to eat and sleep, his Dad brought lunch out to the fields for him so he could keep working during the day; at dark he went in to eat and his dad and Steve took care of the equipment, servicing it and fueling it for the next day, and his mom had his dinner on the table then he went to bed. He got up in the morning and his breakfast was on the table and his dad and brother Steve had the harvester warmed up and ready for him and it was that way everyday until he finally finished harvesting, it was grueling for him to be the only one harvesting. After he told me that he also said that's why he didn't like farming anymore, that and the cows, (always the cows). It's funny because his brother Steve used to work in a Dairy in Washington State, Uncle Steve must have liked the cows.

My dad said that his father Martin wasn't exactly book smart having been born in Southern Russia (now known as Ukraine) and immigrating with his family in 1899 to America when he was about 8 yrs old, so he had to learn a new language. But my dad, Tony said that his dad, Martin was very smart and worked on their farm equipment and kept everything running and taught his five sons how to also. Tony said the reason they were able to harvest so well and so fast sometimes was because his dad, Martin bought a brand new harvester and parked it in the barn and didn't use it for harvesting. He said everyone gave his dad a bad time about it and the teasing was unrelenting until harvest time and their harvester broke down and his dad went to the barn and took the new part off the new machine and put it on their old harvester and they were back to harvesting right away. When that happened everyone stopped laughing about Martin keeping a new harvester and not using it. My dad said, "Whose laughing now", which he said meant Martin was the one laughing. Back then in the 1920's, 1930's, and early 1940's it could take 2-3 weeks to get a part shipped from Chicago if they couldn't find one in town and sometimes parts that were in high demand were held on to by the shop owner for their family or friends and if you made them mad it might take 2 months for your part to finally come in. His dad, Martin got fed up with the politics of it and bought a brand new harvester and parked it in the barn, my dad said again that his dad, Martin was really smart about how he ran the family farm.

I also noticed on his cousin Ferdinand 'Fred' Goldade's memorial page FaG #69005260 that he too delayed registering for World War 2, they both signed up the same week within days of each other. My dad Tony joined on Oct 27, 1942 and cousin Fred Goldade joined on Oct 21, 1942. I am just guessing but he probably had to stay home until the harvest was done too.

After he finished the harvest Tony enlisted in the U.S. Army, he was a marksman and a machine gunner. Tony was injured two different times and received 2 Purple Hearts ( 1- Purple Heart with Oak leaf clusters) and the Bronze Star. He was a Staff Sargent of a machine gunner squad during the 'Battle of the Bulge' and received the Bronze Star for heroic bravery in saving a platoon that had been cut-off behind enemy lines. When I was reading about the 'Battle of the Bulge' I was surprised to see the location is Alsace, near the border of France and Germany. In researching our family history we found out many of our Dad's ancestors lived in the Alsace region before migrating to the area near Odessa, Russia which is now known as the country Ukraine; but back then it was Russia. While my Dad



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  • Maintained by: ginb
  • Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Office
  • Added: 25 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 362781
  • cmbwills
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Anton Peter “Tony” Bertsch (9 Sep 1921–12 May 1993), Find A Grave Memorial no. 362781, citing San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Santa Nella, Merced County, California, USA ; Maintained by ginb (contributor 48948481) .