ARMIN HENRY DURTSCHI
Given by Lawrence Armin Durtschi Jr.
at Armin's funeral
Copyright 2001 by Garren Durtschi
Armin Henry Durtschi was born February 28, 1915 in Driggs Idaho to Edward and Elizabeth Muetzenberg Durtschi. Armin was the fourth child, following Bertha, Flora, and Hilda. Arthur Edward and LaVerne followed. Arthur survived only a few weeks. Each of the children were delivered by their father. Grandad loved being with his father. He must have known he would not have much time on this earth to be with him. On cold winter days, Grandad always wanted to go with his dad out to do the chores. His mother would say it was way too cold for him to be out. Grandad would throw a fit, and soon his dad would bundle him up in all the warm clothing they could find, so he could go out with his dad. This is probably when he gained his great love for animals. Grandad was only seven when his father passed away in 1922. He died of influenza, after taking care of the family who had been sick also. He said many times how much he missed his dad.
Grandad was proud of his heritage. His parents had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Switzerland and immigrated to America. Despite challenges, his parents worked hard, and desired to make a better life for their children. It was his motivation to work hard also and make life better for his own children. After his fatherís death, his mother bore much responsibility running the farms and household. She cooked on a wood stove, got water from the creek, and did laundry on a washboard. Grandad always spoke with admiration and love of his motherís strength, determination, and the sacrifices she made for her children. Grandad followed her example and became a hard worker, providing for his family. If there was ever a family need, he would go. Grandpa would do anything for his kids and grand kids. He often encouraged them with the statement, "You can do anything!"
Grandad attended schools at Pratt elementary and Teton High. He loved the Teton Basin. His family settled there because the Tetons reminded them of the Swiss Alps. He always considered that area as home and continued to take the Teton Valley News for many years after he'd moved from the area. He often went back to Uncle Alfred for fatherly advice.
After high school at 18, he worked for the CCCís, the Civilian Conservation Corp. It was during the depression. He was paid $30 per month. He spent $5 on his needs, and sent the rest home to help his family. Also for a short time, he worked for the WPA, the Works Progress Administration.
In October 1934, Grandad was called to serve in the Swiss-German Mission for 3 years. He felt privileged to serve his mission in his parentís homeland. He often said German phrases to his kids and grand kids.
When he got home from his mission, he had trouble finding work. His brother-in-law, Knowlin Hansen, asked him if he wanted to work on the railroad. Knowlin took Grandad in for the interview. After the interview, the man informed him that there weren't any jobs available. Knowlin went in and talked to the man. When they came out of the office, the man told Grandad he could start work. Grandad always appreciated Knowlin helping him get hired on. He worked in the era of steam engines and saw many advances in the railroad industry, as well as changes in the world. His kids remember stories of the Yellowstone earthquake, when he walked the track ahead of the train, from Yellowstone to Ashton, to check for damage. He was always adamant about train safety, because of the many train accidents Aston witnessed. Early in his railroad career, some of the Ďperksí of the job were pheasants and asparagus. One of his coworkers started shooting pheasants from the caboose. As first, he just retrieved other menís birds, but just as he advanced from brakeman to conductor, he advanced from bird dog to trigger man. Just as some fishermen have their holes, he had his asparagus patches. He knew every spot to stop the train for asparagus. He had a close association with his railroad coworkers. These friendships meant a lot to him through the years. If you were he friend, it was a friendship for life. He worked hard to do a good job. Pleasing the shippers was important to him. He had to be told not to come to work on his 70th birthday, after 47 years of service.
In the spring of 1940, Granddadís friend, Charlie Christensen, was shipping his sheep to market in Omaha and Chicago, he walked down the street and saw a sign that read "Live Music by Lawrence Welk." He went in, ate dinner, and met Lawrence Welk. He shook his hand and told him he enjoyed his music, especially the accordion music. It was a firm tradition to watch the Lawrence Welk show throughout his life. Grandad had a love of music, especially Swiss music, big band, and church hymns. The Christmas of 1949, Grandpa went down to Hammon Music Co. and bought a piano and a radio/recorder combination and had it delivered on Christmas Eve. Several evenings when the family was together, the time was spent listening and dancing to his favorite records.
At the time he met Lawrence Welk in Chicago, Grandad bought a new Chevrolet and drove it home. It was his first car and he had a love for cars from that time on. He regularly had a new one in the garage that was saved for going to church, Sunday drives, and special occasions, but he had a farm car and a work car also.
His job with the railroad took him to Lima Montana. When he was there on Sunday, waiting for the next train to take back to Idaho Falls, he would attend church. It was there that he met Glora Dean Lowder. He married Grammie on March 21st 1941 in the Salt Lake Temple. The next 20 years would bring seven children; Larry, Lorraine and Loretta, Janaye, Ronna, Gaylene, and Garren. Grandad has 44 grand children and 63 great-grand children. He was always tickled when someone would say, "Look what you started!"
Grandad showed love to his children and grandchildren by working hard and providing for them. He had many favorite phrases such as, "A personís word is their bond." He once sold a cow and went back two weeks later to make sure it was giving enough milk, and that they still felt like it was a fair price and that he hadn't cheated them. He also said, "When you're average, you are just as close to the top as you are to the bottom. Always do your best." "You've got to have your ducks all in a row." "Thereís no gray area." "Itís poor stock that can't improve." He wanted his children to be better than him and to believe that they could always improve. "What did you do today with your good name?" "You can do anything! can't the best!"
Grandad worked on the railroad to support his farming habit. He had the first hay baler in Teton Valley. He did custom baling for farmers around the valley. He loved being outdoors and being around the animals. He took good care of his animals and never liked to see them hurt or suffering. He especially had a great love of horses, which started in his early life. He had many horses throughout his life. At 79 years of age, he made an impression with his grandson, Kurt Pack, when the horse got away and ran down the field toward an open gate next to the road. Grandpa ran down the field and caught him before he went through the gate. Kurt couldn't believe his grandpa could run that fast at that age. There were always plenty of chickens and cats on the farm. The grand daughters especially liked to go to the haystack or loft where they could always find a cat or baby kittens. There was also always at least on mean rooster on the farm. The first time his grandson, Philip Pack, gathered eggs in the chicken coop, he met such a rooster. He was almost finished gathering the eggs from the nests, when the rooster came in and chased him around the chicken coop, pecking at him. Grandad came in just in time to save him. The grand kids and great-grand kids have many, many memories of the farm.
Grandad enjoyed visiting with family in Freedom, Driggs, Pocatello, and Declo. The children have many pleasant memories of visiting aunts, uncles, and cousins on these Sunday visits, such as Aunt Berthaís garden, homemade root beer and raspberry shortcake with real whipping cream at Aunt Hildaís, rolling the dough balls and making the Bratzlies with the original Swiss iron at Aunt LaVerneís, and roller skating and playing pool at the old Swiss cheese factory when visiting Brogís. Grandad also enjoyed attending family reunions.
Surrounded by good cooks all his life, he developed some favorites. He loved Huckleberry Cobbler. He got his Cobbler recipe from a tourist on a passenger train. One day Grandma wasn't going to be home to fix supper. Grandad, after working in the fields, came home at suppertime and said, "What are we going to fix you kids for dinner?" He mixed up a Huckleberry Cobbler in a frying pan, put it in the oven, and got ready for work as it baked. He put it in the middle of the table, with ice cream on top. Everyone took a spoon and ate out of the frying pan. As he walked out the door, to go to work on the train, he said, "Don't you ever tell your mother what I fed you for supper." He also loved Swiss Bratzlies, peanut brittle, Swiss cheese, Postum with milk, and his favorite dessert, apple pie al amode. Many grand children have good memories of getting caramels from grandpa.
Grandad has a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and especially felt strongly about missionary work. His parents were converts to the church and were always very grateful for the missionaries that had changed their lives. This influenced Grandad to want to help in the missionary effort as much as possible. He was always helping missionaries, both in and out of the family. He often told the grand kids what a great experience missionary work is.
As a boy, his mother had him memorize the poem, "Little Boy Blue." As an adult he still remembered it and at bedtime, helped his own children learn it, line by line.
Little Boy Blue The little toy dog is covered with dust, But sturdy and stanch he stands; And the little toy soldier is red with rust, And the musket moulds in his hands. Time was when the little toy dog was new, And the soldier was passing fair; And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue Kissed them and put them there. "Now, don't you go till I come," he said, "And don't you make any noise!" So, toddling off to his trundle-bed, He dreamt of the pretty toys; And, as he was dreaming, an angel song Awakened our Little Boy Blue- Oh! The years are many, the years are long, But the little toy friends are true! Faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand, Each in the same old place- Awaiting the touch of a little hand, The smile of a little face; And they wonder, as waiting the long years through In the dust of that little chair, What has become of our Little Boy Blue, Since he kissed them and put them there.
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Page Updated: 14 Oct 01