Reichenbachs Chosen As Fairview Festival Honorees
July 12, 2023 | View PDF
Gerhard (Gerry) and Beverly Reichenbach will be honored for their dedication to the community during this year’s Summer Festival and Old Timers’ Reunion, July 14-16, Fairview.
Bev (Biehl) is a Fairview native who graduated from Fairview High School in 1959. At the urging of her father to see more of the world, she moved to St. Paul, MN, where she worked at Montgomery Wards and at First National Bank, but soon returned to Fairview where she worked at the bank and met the handsome Gerry, marrying him in 1964.
Gerry immigrated from Germany with his parents, two brothers and two sisters in 1951, spending one and a half years in Oklahoma to satisfy the sponsorship debt by Church World Service before moving to Fairview. Another sister was born three months after the arrival in the U.S. He said the Oklahoma experience was good but the weather was just too hot for German immigrants so his father advertised wanting a place where his children could work. It was answered by Carl Langwald, Sr. and the family went to work in the beet fields. Gerry got in on the last few years of topping the beets by hand, hard dangerous work, as well as everything else involved on the farm. Two years after arriving, his dad bought his first farm, the Deming place, now owned by Ken Schlothauer, and soon rented additional land. Gerry worked with his dad and, at the age of 17, hired out to neighbors. Mike Flynn was his steady employer for seven years.
Gerry, along with his mom and dad and brother Walt, became U.S. citizens in 1957 at a ceremony in Minot.
The boxing club headed by Bud Starr was in its heyday back then with National Golden Gloves Champs Boom Boom and Pel Mel Miller and many other talented boxers. Gerry boxed for three years with the club and took the North Dakota Golden Gloves Heavyweight Championship in 1963.
Bev and Gerry bought their current place in 1966 where they raised crops and sheep. They were blessed with five children; Bret, Lori, Lynda, Lisa and Brenda. In 1977, Lisa was born but didn’t come home. They suffered heartbreaking loss when their daughter Lori passed away from cancer in 1983. Community support, emotional and financial, was tremendous and a Fairview High School scholarship was established which continues to this day.
Both Reichenbachs were very active in Jaycees and won lots of awards. Gerry was named Key Man in 1974-75 and received the Distinguished Service Award in 1976. Bev was named Outstanding Jayceen in 1972. Their children were involved in 4-H and Bev was a leader for 13 years, with Gerry a county director and helping with the sheep projects. Gerry also served on the East Fairview School Board for 12 years and received the honor of School Board Member First Class. Bev worked at the Fairview School and Sidney libraries with the “Green Thumb” program when she got old enough.
Bev and Gerry were charter members of the MonDak Sheep Association which created marketing opportunities for producers, hosted the annual lamb feed for many years, and hosted the “Make It With Wool Contest” which their youngest girls participated in. He was named North Dakota Master Commercial Sheep Producer in 1982. Both were very involved in the annual Feeder’s Tour in the late ‘70s. Gerry was also a member of the National Targhee Association and served on the ASCS county committee.
Church has always been an important part of the Reichenbachs’ lives. Gerry started at St. John Lutheran, Fairview, but became a member of Bev’s home church, Zion Lutheran, when they were married. He consistently served as usher until just recently when his health would no longer allow it and also served on the council. They both helped serve communion on a regular basis. Bev was a member of the Altar Guild and the Sewing Guild, and was nominated by Zion for the Bethel Lutheran Foundation Salute for Moms award, which she won in 1998. She also sang in the choir along with Lynda.
After they quit farming, both Gerry and Bev worked harvest at the Fairview sugar beet pile grounds, with Bev in the scale house for 18½ years and Gerry at the pilers for 21. They both really enjoyed the work and all the interesting people they met there.
Reichenbachs have ten grandchildren and have spent the last many years traveling to North Dakota to attend sporting events and many other activities.
A real highlight in Gerry’s life was a trip to Washington, DC about 15 years ago with his son Bret. He loved the history of the district and took in as many sights as possible. Bev also made it to DC for a Lutheran Church convention and enjoyed her stay as well. Bret took both parents to San Francisco, another trip they thoroughly relished. This trip was made so Bev could see the ocean, she giggled when she got to walk in the incoming waves!
All the kids and grandkids plan to be at the festival to celebrate Bev and Gerry. Watch for them in the parade which starts at noon on Saturday. And be sure to take in the program afterwards where this kind, generous, hard-working couple will be honored further.