My Grandpa

Paul Flaten

by

Erich Schaffhauser

 

6th Grade 1997, Tri-County School, Karlstad,Minnesota

 

My grandpa, Paul Flaten, was born August 19, 1920 in ForkTownship near Stephen, Minnesota. He was the fourth out of eleven childrenraised in their home. He had five brothers and five sisters. They livednear the Red River of the North. They and neighbor kids enjoyed skatingin the winter and fishing in the summer.

They walked three and a half miles to a country schoolalong the Red River. When they got home from school, they had work waitingfor them. The boys had to pitch manure, feed the horses and cows, and milkthe cows. The girls had to wash clothes and dishes, carry water, and cleanthe house.

In spare time, they enjoyed playing tag on top of the RedRiver tress. They also played with neighbors and class mates.

He had a loving Christian family that attended church andSunday School most Sundays.

When Paul was in the eighth grade, he was pulled out ofschool to do work at home. He did farm labor for eight years.

In 1942, the government drafted Paul into the United StatesArmy. He was in training for almost two years and then drove truck forthe construction of the Burma Road in overseas military duty.

After World War II, Paul worked as a gas station attendantin his home town of Stephen, MN. At noon break, Paul would often go tothe restaurant up town to eat his lunch. There he met a lady that workedat the restaurant. Her name was Ellen Westling Olson from North Dakota.

On October 29, 1948, Paul and Ellen were married. In thespring of 1949, they bought a small farm just west of Stephen, MN. Therethey had four children.

In the spring of 1950, there was a big flood that destroyedmuch of their property. Four years later they bought a farm south of Strandquist. He farmed the land and drove a truck for the turkey plant in Thief RiverFalls.

He was active in the American Legion. He led the memorialservices at Strandquist and read the list of veterans that died in thisarea.

He was an active member of the West Valley Township Boardfor 25 years and did his best to make the township a better place to live.

He served on the Strandquist School Board for about twelveyears. He wanted the best for all the students at Strandquist School.

Paul and his family attended church regularly where theywere very active. My mother said, "Every time the lights were on atthe church, he had us there." His faith in God was the most importantthing to him.

In 1987, Paul had a heart attack. It happened right atharvest time. Neighbors and friends joined together and completely finishedhis harvest. He was very grateful for this kindness. His heart attackmade it necessary for him to quit farming and retire.

In 1993, he was diagnosed with cancer. He had surgeryand treatments and seemed to do well for two and a half years. The cancerreoccurred, paralyzing him. He entered the veterans hospital in Fargo June19, 1995. He died there September 4, 1995. Paul's funeral was the firstservice in the new Westaker Lutheran Church in Newfolden, MN. About 500friends and relatives attended. He is buried in the Strandquist Cemetery. He will always be remembered in our lives.


always be remembered in our lives.