Marie Banek Has Seen Lots of Change

By Dan Bechtold, Editor

Marie Banek has seen a lot of changes in her life. She celebrated her 100th birthday on March 7 at the Winner Regional Long Term Care Center with family and friends.

Banek was born in a sod house in Millboro on March 7, 1918. She was the youngest of six children born to John and Maria Karlin.

Her family were Germans from Russia and her parents had immigrated to the United States. Maria says two of her brothers were born in Russia.

When she was one, her family moved to Mellette County. They live 25 miles from White River, about eight miles from Parmelee.

Banek attended rural schools in Mellette County until the 8th grade. She then helped her parents on the farm until she got married.

In 1939, Marie married William Banek. The Banek family had moved from Carter to Mellette County. Marie said she met her husband through the Lutheran Church. The couple raised three daughters.

Marie worked along side her husband on the farm helping with milking cows and taking care of the chickens plus other chores.

She raised a large garden and was a good cook and did a lot of canning.

The family had a hired man who lived at the farm so Marie did a lot of cooking for him in addition to the rest of the family.

Her daughters explained whenever family visited they always stayed at the Banek home.

Marie talked about some of the winter storms the family endured. The one that sticks in her mind was the storm of 1952.

Marie, her husband and one of their daughters went to Valentine where her husband had a dental appointment. The family stopped and picked up some groceries and did not know the storm was coming.

On the way home between Valentine and Mission the car was stuck on the side of the road. They spent three days and two nights in the car while the stormed raged.

To stay warm, they burned egg cartons inside the car. However, the smoke was too much and Marie said the burning in the car did not last long.

We had to keep awake. We did not dare go to sleep,” she said.

On the third morning the storm subsided and her husband walked three to four miles to a neighbor’s farm. The neighbors came with tractors to dig the car out of the snow bank. However, the car was so full of snow it did not start. Some of the farmers in the area had small airplanes and they flew the family back home. The snow was deep enough that a plane could land on the snow.

Marie recalls the first time the family received electricity, the first telephone and television. At the age of seven she saw her first airplane. She said it looked like a fly in the sky.

She also recalls carry water in buckets until they received electricity. When electricity arrived they were able to have a well.

Prior to rural mail delivery, the family had to go to the Kerry store, about four miles away to get their mail. There was a post office in this store.

Marie’s three daughters are: Diana Zieman, Springfield, Mo.; Bernice Sandal, Lynn Haven, Fla. and Carol Hutchinson, White River. Marie has seven grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Marie noted she was looking forward to her 100th birthday. It was a day she will long remember.

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