Did you know: the Blank family

By Richard Karns

Special to the Herald Review

My name is Richard Karns and I am the president of The Old Rugged Cross Historical Society Museum.

Our museum has been a part of Reed City since 1968 when it was housed at the community building and we have been in our present location since 1990. As with any organization that is alive and growing, we are running out of space. If you have been to this museum, you know how crowded it is, making it difficult to appreciate all that is there.

We have received permission from the City of Reed City, after going through the proper steps, to build a new addition to the museum. It is our hope that when the city approves the final bid and construction begins, the community will support this effort.

The Old Rugged Cross Historical Society Museum and the Gerontology Group want you to know that we are not only dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Rev. George Bennard, but that of Reed City and its residents as well. If these facts are not preserved, then history and the existence of those individuals that did so much for the growth of Reed City will be lost.

Reed City's skyline has changed so much since I was boy; it would be a shame not to preserve and remember all the faces of Reed City.

In the following months, I will be writing about some of these changes and the people that influenced Reed City titled "Did you know." Reed City has a lot of transformations and they are worth remembering.

The Blank Family

After being discharged from the Prussian Army, Karl Blank wanted to come to America, but would need a sponsor. Karl's brother, William, and his family lived in America since 1868 and in the Reed City area since 1875. William sponsored Karl, which made his immigration possible.

William, along with his wife and son, Billy, assisted Karl with getting settled in Lincoln Township. Once settled, Karl started farming and was married.

Alma Gruett came with her father to Reed City in 1914, where he was to be the principal and teacher at Trinity Lutheran School. Karl's son, Albert, met Alma and they were married in 1920. Albert managed the Parkhurst Ranch, where all of their children were born and where Ben Pekule lived. The family lived there until 1927 when he bought the farm on Patterson Road owned by the Parkhurst family.

Albert was an astute farmer and visionary, purchasing land around the farm when the opportunity came along. The vision and being willing to take the risk of purchasing more land not only benefited him and his family, but Reed City and its citizens as well. Albert farmed the land until he retired, after which his son-in-law, Carl Ahlich did the farming.

In the late 1960s, the Blank family, Reed City Council and the Reed City Hospital Administrator, J., Henry Irwin, reached an agreement for the purchase of part of the farm land for a new state-of-the-art hospital. The new Reed City Hospital opened its doors for business on April 1, 1971. The land purchase was large enough to accommodate several additions to the hospital since then.

Carl Ahlich, along with several others, donated their time, supplies and finances to build the concession stand at Westerburg Park on Roth Street. Giving back was a lesson passed down to their children, Bruce and Deb. The contribution Deb Ahlich-Remus has made to this community goes without saying.

In talking with Dorothy Blank-Alhick, she told me that her mother and father always taught them that being involved and having a sense of giving back to the community was part of being a good citizen.

Dorothy Blank-Alhick has given back to the community in her own right. She told me not to make this about her, and the three people I’ve interviewed so far have all had the same feeling. In respect to their feelings, it wouldn’t be fair not to mention what they have contributed.

Dorothy started working for Reed City High School as their secretary even before she graduated. In 1942, while Dorothy was in her senior year, superintendent Louis Rdemepski asked her to work as the school secretary, which she did. She told me that going to classes and doing secretary work wasn’t very easy. She also volunteered as secretary of the Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce for 14 years, giving tirelessly to that and many other causes.