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May 31, 2023 Updated Jun 7, 2023 (0)
By LuAnn Schindler
Summerland Advocate Messenger
A longtime Ewing businessman and a couple known for service to the community were recognized Sunday as the 2023 class in the Ewing Hall of Fame.
Don Ruroede and Yvonne and the late Clete Thramer were presented with the honor by village chairman James Ramold, during Ewing's FunFest parade.
Ruroede, a 1952 graduate of Ewing Public School, said he was “surprised and honored” to be a recipient.
“It's a nice honor,” he said.
Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served for two years during the Korean War and was stationed at Kimpo Air Base in South Korea.
While at Kimpo, a North Korean pilot defected with a Russian Mig 15 jet. According to Ruroede, the US government offered a bounty on the aircraft so military officials “could see the Russian technology.”
Ruroede said the pilot took off from North Korea on a 17-minute flight, reaching speeds of 620 miles per hour, and landed the wrong way on the Kimpo airstrip. Then he exited the plane and surrendered.
The pilot received $100,000 for the plane and immigrated to the United States, eventually becoming an aeronautical engineer.
After being discharged from the Army, Ruroede returned to Ewing and became an active member of the Sanders American Legion Post 214. He has been a member for 68 consecutive years.
In 1965, Ruroede and his father Art, at the family's turkey and feed business.
Don started his own feed business on the end of Ewing's main street, where he installed the first scale in Ewing and offered grind and mixed feed for the first time in town.
Ruroede saw the need for expansion.
He constructed a warehouse along the railroad tracks by the Ewing sale barn. This allowed him to sell feed on sale days.
In 1976, Ruroede sold his feed business, working for several years on the railroad and bridge crews or driving truck.
In 1986, Don and Lou Frasch opened the car wash, laundromat and truck wash, adding The Washout fuel stop station two years later. The washout was in operation until 2018, when it closed. The car wash and laundromat are still in operation.
Ruroede noted several changes have occurred in the Holt County village over the years.
"All the green lawns are a big change. There never used to be lawns in town," he said.
Oiled streets are another change.
"They don't drive the cows out through town to pasture anymore," he said.
Ruroede is a staple at village board meetings, where he champions himself as a watchdog of the community.
Ruroede has five children: Patti, Dennis, Tammy, Jeanie and Makala.
Yvonne Thramer said she was "very, very surprised" when she learned of the hall of fame nomination.
"I was honored," she said.
Yvonne and Clete Thramer were raised in the Ewing area. Clete graduated from Clearwater High School in 1952 and Yvonne from Ewing High School in 1953.
Yvonne attended Wayne State College, earning a teaching degree and taught country school for two years.
Following graduation, Clete bailed and hauled hay and farmed with his older sibling, Mark.
The Thramers were married Nov. 15, 1955, at St. John's Catholic Church and resided n the Thramer farm, south of Ewing, with Clete's dad, Joe.
The couple moved to Ewing in 1960. They purchased the Allis-Chalmers Implement business in Clarwater and transplanted it to Ewing, in a building behind the bank. Eventually the business relocated to O'Neill.
The couple dedicated themselves to serving the Ewing community.
"That's what it takes to keep a community going," she said.
They became active members at St. Peter's Catholic Church, where they sang in the choir, served in the eucharist ministry, took part in Christian Mothers and served on the parish council.
Clete served as a village trustee for eight years and sat on the Ewing school board for a dozen years.
When the Summerland Golf Course was being considered, Clete took an active role and served on its board of directors.
According to Yvonne, seeing the course come to fruition was special for all communities involved.
"For about a month to six weeks, you'd hardly see the guys. They'd be out there on their hands and knees, the pasture land was such a mess," she said. "Now it's so beautiful. It's one of the favorites, they tell me."
He also was an original member of CORE, which serves Ewing and surrounding communities.
Thramer organized a main street cleanup annually. The couple's family has expanded the concept. For eight years, they have taken part in the Adopt a Highway program, maintaining two miles of Highway 275 by Ewing.
Thramer, along with brother Alex, built Two Rivers Steakhouse. The popular establishment drew large crowds, filling the dining room with hungry guests. Each weekend, live music was offered, drawing crowds from all corners of northeast and north central Nebraska.
Eventually, Mark and Clete added the Ewing Motel to Ewing's list of businesses.
In 1974, the Thramers built a house west of Ewing on a sandhill they dubbed "Thramer Rolling Hills."
The entrepreneurial spirit and sense of community continue with the couple's children. It's evident in Ewing Family Foods, where family members reopened the grocery store nine years ago.
Clete and Yvonne are the parents of six children, 19 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Clete died in February 2014. Yvonne still resides at the couple's home west of Ewing.
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