Daughter of Salomon & Maria Mueller


                                          HELMA F. MUELLER


Ossie was born on 8-6-1910 at Bromhead, Sask.               Died 5-18-1969

Helma was born on 1-08-1915                                             Died 5-29- 1979                                                                             Helma was born on the family farm 13 miles northeast of Fredonia to Salomon & Maria Mueller.  Her parents were farming since they married on 6-6-1908, but moved to Gackle N, D. on 2-08-1915.  Salomon had taken a job working for the dray-line, for Henry Jenner. In 1916 Salomon bought the dray-line.  A few years later he was appointed city marshal.  

    Ossie and Helma married on 11-16-1936 at Ryder, ND. They had two children.

                    Myron {duke}              &                Cheryl   


    Ossie worked for Campbell road Construction Company based out of New Rockford, N.D.   I'm not sure when he started working for them, and not sure when Ossie and Helma met. I see by pictures and telegrams that they traveled in the summer all over North & South Dakota to the job site. I have many telegrams to Ossie telling them about family emergencies like deaths and grave sickness.  My first memories of them were at their home in New Rockford, N.D. in the late 1950's.  I remember my Dad taking me to the building in downtown New Rockford in the late 50's or early 60's. In the front of the building was an office with a shop out back.  Ossie was in an office wearing a white dress shirt, someone that worked with him had a pickup with a load of groceries on the back of the pickup, it was piled so high it was taller than the cab.  We went outside with Ossie while he checked the load.  Apparently they were paving in the New Rockford area.  The company provided on site meals for the crew.  The building was still standing when I was through there last year.  I knew Ossie was their bookkeeper, Dad told me that, but apparently he was also purchasing agent and all around business and office manager.  It was a few years later that I also became aware of the fact that he also painted the road signs that construction companies use to tell motorists about the road construction they are about to endure. “Your tax dollars at work, next 10 miles prepare for delays, etc”.

     I remember when Ossie started working out of his garage, kind of a second job. He worked on the road sign here for Campbell Construction.  He had extended the single garage back 30 or so feet.  I was in it and it was full of these road signs. I also remember that he smoked cigarettes, one after another.  I think this may have caused his health problem that led to his early death. He was 59 when he died. It was on this visit that I realized that he not only painted these signs by hand, but also did the woodworking aspect of the signs.  Ossie was an accomplished wood craftsman, making the entire family wooden wall ornaments.  His signature piece was a full winding staircase, with landings, fitted with a banister, with a half moon behind it, and a star behind that.  It was finished with a clear varnish, and was very impressive.  He used an old jigsaw to cut all the tiny pieces.  It must have been Ossie that inspired my Dad to buy a jigsaw and do some woodwork.   All of the Muellers got one of Ossie's masterpieces for their walls.  Lester's home, which used to be his parents', Hulda and Martin Ehmann's home [Helma's sister], still has one hanging on the wall.  I know I have also seen this hanging on the wall in a few old pictures.

    The thing that always impressed me about Ossie was the type of man he was.  His devotion to his daughter Cheryl was the most impressive thing I have ever witnessed in a father.  Cheryl was born with spina bifeda and was paralyzed from her waist on down. She wore leg braces and used crutches.  It seemed to me that her Father did his part in the raising of this child.  He was there for her, he carried her around so she would be included in every aspect of their lives.  If there were something going on outside, he would explain it to her only briefly while he was walking toward her asking if she wanted to see.  She would reach out to him and he would pick her up and carry her to the window while having a conversation with her and everyone else in the room.  He did this constantly, all day long, always with excitement and a small smile on his face.  He involved her with her friends, made the transportation possible.  She attended regular school in New Rockford.  It seemed to me that when Ossie was there if Cheryl needed to be carried anywhere Ossie did it.  

    I think you could sum up his life like this.  Ossie was able to parcel out life like a woodworker builds a gigantic spiral staircase with a very exacting and magnificent banister.  First you get exact measurement and calculate how many pieces you need.  Ossie knew how to parcel out life's battles so every aspect could be reckoned with to achieve a masterpiece in the end.  Ossie was an extraordinary person when it came to maintaining emotional control, building memories, and creating a positive environment to live and raise his family in.  As they say he knew how to stop and smell the roses.

                             HELMA MUELLER HOFSTAD

    Helma was a full time Mom, Cheryl was a special child, and Helma devoted her life to her daughter.  Hilma was very active with the North Dakota Easter Seal Society, even after Cheryl's death.  In 1958 Cheryl was chosen to be the '1958 Easter Seal Child”.  This involved some travel, and I can't remember Ossie ever being with them on these trips.  They also attended Camp Grassic, on Lake Isabel south of Dawson for many summers.  Helma would go along, staying there for extended periods. She was involved somehow but I can't remember.  I remember them having a small cabin to themselves.  My sister Lucy worked at this camp for a few summers and I visited everyone one summer.  The camp is set up for individuals with handicapped children to spend time so they could attend workshops and  education classes on their disability and how to better deal with it.  It still exists today.  You can see the camp from Highway # 3 on the south side of the lake.

    Helma also did crafts, as I remember it, things like crocheted doilies,  pot holders, table runners, and couch pillows.  Her mother Maria was constantly making this type of handwork along with hand made quilts.  My grandmother taught her daughter-in-law, my mother this quilt craft.  My mother taught my wife, she makes a quilt every year; hundreds of hours of hand quilting, on the same frames my Grandmother used.

    I also remember Helma's house; it had many of her crafts in use like couch pillows, dresser doilies and the like.  She also had a lot of collectibles, like glass candleholders, porcelain dogs, thousands of things like this.  When I was young I described Helma's home as full of dust collectors.  I just looked around my home, glass dishes, plates, coffee cups that all belonged to my dead ancestors, covering all of the shelves with extra shelves up high on the walls.  It must run in the family, just look around in your home.

    When Cheryl died my family went to New Rockford for the funeral.  Helma was really taking it hard.  At the church during the service her loss really hit her, she became semi unconscious and couldn't contain her grief.  If I remember right, after the service Ossie who also called a doctor to give her a sedative sent her to bed.

     When Ossie died my parents were away on a business trip. I was in college in Fargo.  I told my parents that I would go to the funeral. I drove to Jamestown where I went with my Uncle Martin & Aunt Hulda Ehmann, along with their son Lester and his wife Margaret to New Rockford.  This time Helma was very much in control.  I think now that Ossie wasn't there she had to take over. She related to me a story about Ossie's death, how in the hospital in his last hour, he told her he heard music and was seeing  angels, there waiting for him.


    Helma lived for 12 years after Ossie's death in 1967.  She decided in 1971 to move to Fargo to some kind of retirement hi-rise complex, where she could be close to Duke's children, Paula & Kevin.  They both tell me that they loved and cherished her.  Paula remembers staying over night in the high rise apartment and spending much time with her.  By this time her grand kids were older and have many fond memories of her.

    In 1976 Helma moved to Lodi, Cal.  I'm not sure why.  I know in her last year she lived with her brother Alvin for a while and then was in some kind of home and in the hospital due to complications with her sugar diabetes. She had a foot or leg amputation and eventually succumbed to this disease.  Alvin assisted her in her final years with her personal needs and saw to it that her body was brought back to North Dakota to be buried along side her husband and daughter.


                         SON OF OSSIE & HELMA HOFSTAD

                               MYRON {DUKE} HOFSTAD               

Duke was born on April 7, 1937

    I remember Duke as a bright young man, he seemed to be very observant, and possessed some of Ossie's perception on what was going on around him. He had the neatest bedroom.  It was in the basement.  There was also a bathroom in the basement. The room had knotty pine walls, and there was a picture of him on a pony hanging on the wall. On one trip to visit them he took me out to a place he worked at.   I think he was in high school by this time.  It was just outside of town, southwest about one mile.  We went into this huge chicken coop.  Apparently they were raising chickens for some kind of food producer.  His job was to feed the chickens and clean the coop.

     The next time I remember him was when he drove alone down to Napoleon with his own car, to have my Dad take him pheasant hunting. He was probably only about 16.  We went on Saturday over to the Missouri River area, some 40 to 50 miles away.  He got his only bird by making a mad dash out of the car, down the ditch and under the fence, then running over the hill in pursuit of the pheasant cock that had disappeared over the hill.  In a few minutes he came running back with his bird.  He was so excited, my Dad was amazed, he never thought Duke could outrun and shoot the pheasant, but he did and he was ready to go home.  He didn't even want to clean it, just get home to New Rockford with the bird.  I think he had reserved the cleaning process to share with his father.  I can just picture it, Ossie and Duke in the garage plucking feathers. Ossie talking a mile a minute with lots of excitement, but in a subdued way with little body language, asking Duke to tell him again how he bagged this pheasant for the third time, and hanging on Duke's every word.  Then going on about how they were going to cook it with exact detail and how good it would be.

     Ossie was also a sportsman.  I see many pictures of him fishing, hunting geese, and my brother Dan has one of his trophy buck horns hanging in his store in Deadwood, S. D.

    Duke attended Valley City Teachers College.  I lost track of him until I met him in Fargo when I was attending college.  He was working at the Nester Bar and I saw him one day outside the place.  We visited a few times and he invited me over for supper one night.  This is where I first met his wife Rosie and their two children, Paula and Kevin.

    Duke and Rosie were divorced in the early 70's




She was born on March 11, 1949 at Devils Lake, ND.

She died on 3-21-1964 at New Rockford, ND.

    Cheryl always seemed to be mature for her age, she was always wide eyed when you spoke to her, absorbing the information with surprise and delight in her face.  I have one picture that shows her with this expression.  She was always full of life, excited about the little things in life, like when Ossie would pick her up and take her to the picture window to show her Mr. Squirrel outside on the front lawn.

    She was born with spina bifida, and was paralyzed from her waist on down.  She wore leg braces and used crutches to walk.  She attended regular school in New Rockford.

     In 1958 she was North Dakota's Easter seal Child.  She appeared on television explaining what people could do to help crippled children.  She turned 9 years old that year, but represented herself like a 20-year-old.  As the Easter Seal child she was a spokesperson explaining the services provided by the society.  But mainly she provided inspiration to families and children with a disability.

    In 1960 she was March of Dimes Poster Girl.


    She taught herself how to walk when she was 6 years old, first using a table to steady herself, then a walker, then on to parallel bars and finally to crutches.  It was quite an achievement; most gave up and lived in a wheel chair.  This achievement made her more mobile and gave her more independence.  She did use a wheelchair to go downtown and to school.  I remember her in her home always on the floor, sitting there, then the next minute crawling across the room to get something then crawling back again.  In her home this mode of travel was much easier than trying to walk.  She was a very popular child, Helma always had her all dressed up and she always looked very pretty.  But her personality was her major asset.  My sister Lucy spent time with her in the summer, & they had a ball, Ossie saw to that.  Pictures show friends over playing cards together, giggling and laughing.  Lucy told me way back then that they were very busy playing and having fun, going to the Dairy Queen only one block away.  She had to come home to rest up.       

    Cheryl died March 21, 1964 when she was 15.  She died as a result of her disability.

    She was just a little girl, she was here only a few short years, and she had a great impact on her parents, brother, extended family and friends.