June 15, 2016 ~ Year 8, No. 43

100th Birthday Week Dedicated to a Special Woman of Faith


Well-deserved family and community events surrounded “an event of the century” as Brigitta Dobmeier celebrated her 100th birthday this week. Smiling with joy for having her family with her, she said: “I’m not much one for fuss, but everything was just right as I got to be with so many of my family.” Family has always been the most important thing in Brigitta’s life, and her 12 children, their spouses, more than 30 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and even a few great-great-grandchildren were present.

Brigitta Hochstein lived in Nebraska, was a 1934 graduate of Mount Marty High School, and a 1937 graduate of Sacred Heart School of Nursing. When she came to Castro County in 1937, she worked with Dr. Miller, a great family doctor, who took his nurse, Brigitta, on house calls via horse and buggy to check on pregnant women. Besides helping to delivery many babies in the county, Brigitta recalls one eventful time, when Dr. Miller told her that Sister Caritas of Nazareth was dying. He had a vial of a new medicine that was sent to him — something that was supposed to be a “miracle drug” — and that she should administer this medicine and stay with Sister through the night. By the next day, the Sister was feeling better, and she ended up recovering completely. That miracle drug was penicillin, the first dose administered in Castro County. In December 1938, she married Leo Dobmeier, and they had 13 children, one was stillborn. In 1965, her oldest son, Ronald, was killed in a car accident. Her husband, Leo, was killed in a car accident two years later. At the time, Brigitta had six children still living at home. Those were difficult years, she says, but she guided her family through as best she could. “You do what you have to do,” Brigitta opined and says that is why she has lived so long.

Kyler Clark Memorial Meal and Fundraiser Held



A community of love and support gathered at the Nazareth Cafeteria Sunday, June 5, to offer their support in remembrance of the life of Kyler Clark, freshman in Nazareth. His classmates organized and put on this memorial meal with brisket sandwiches, salads, and dessert. All proceeds will be used for a Memorial tribute in Kyler’s name. Thank you to all who came to support the class and their thoughtful efforts.



Haley Birkenfeld, daughter of Keith & Kim Birkenfeld, who graduated from Nazareth High School in 2013, earned a college degree after three years in College Station.

Haley graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Education from Texas A&M University. She now continues her studies at Texas Tech University in Lubbock to receive a Masters degree in Speech & Language Pathology.

Congratulations to Haley and family for this accomplishment and great step forward!



One hundred and five children (plus nursery little-ones) were guided by 60 adults and youth in the great Cave Quest VBS at Holy Family Church Sunday through Tuesday evening. Lynsey Fuller, Cassy Birkenfeld, and Lori Johnson coordinated the dozens of parents and volunteers, with the behind-scenes assistance of Gladys Fortenberry (DRE), in this newly-designed evening format of faith learning and sharing using teaching, song, skits, and action-involvements around the theme of “faith-spelunking” in Jesus love. Enthusiasm was greatly evident in the final presentation by all the students as their parents and families happily recorded it with cameras. More story and many words of thanks will appear next week in Swift Kicks also.



I believe it is appropriate to simply launch into an expression of our gratitude for all of those who helped us to reach this day. Thank you first to our parents. These are the people who have had a first row seat as we grew from babies in their arms to seniors clad in blue gowns. They witnessed us at our lowest point, our worst behavior. And still they loved us, motivated us, and helped shape us into people we could be proud to be. Thank you to our teachers. No, we were not the easiest class, but most of you stuck it out.

Everyone says the benefit of a small school is the personal relationships that are built between student and teacher. This could not be more correct. Our teachers looked for talents and passions in us and made it a point to help us expand these things and set goals for ourselves. I believe when I look back on these years, I will, of course, remember Mrs. Huseman threatening to make us come to school in the summer and finish the yearbook and Mr. Heck constantly reminding me not to be so stressed. But I will remember more the support and care we were all shown as students in this school by teachers who knew we could more than we ever imagine.

Lastly, thank you to our friends. I cannot begin to describe the love I have for these people to my left. Starting school in Nazareth my fifth grade year was initially the most terrifying thing I could imagine, but the remarkable welcome my family and I received from this class and community was something I will never forget. We have been through thick and thin together, and it has not necessarily been an easy journey. But here in this small town with this small class, I have discovered a loyalty and support system rarely found in our world today. We have witnessed each other’s tears and hardships but also each other’s laughs and achievements. And so I hope I speak for all of us when I say how incredibly grateful I am to have been put here in this life with these unceasingly amazing people.


Home Mercantile Board of Directors Back row (l-r) Mac Annen, Ann Nelson, Lesly Annen, Hugh Wilhelm, and Harold Venhaus Front row (l-r) Kay Venhaus, Mary Verkamp, and Glen Waldo

Not pictured here: Kyle & Kate Birkenfeld, Toni Waldo, Brady Nelson and Appie Van Dijk )

Gifted Year Planned for Home Mercantile

Home Mercantile Board of Directors in April held its semi-annual Business Meeting, welcoming new board members and new ideas. Joining the Home Mercantile as new Board Members are Brady & Ann Nelson, Mac and Lesley Annen, Appie Van Dijk, and Hugh Wilhelm. Stepping off the Board, Darryl Birkenfeld, with charter membership since 1998, shared Home Mercantile’s history as a nonprofit outreach here in Nazareth.

Additionally in the meeting, members selected responsibilities that best fit their abilities. Kay Venhaus volunteered for rentals of the Home Merc. The following activities were planned for 2016: German Fest evening meal and movie for kids, continued cooking classes, a wine tasting night for couples, Painting with a Twist night, NISD student Art Show and Sale, and a November/December Melodrama on years with no Nazareth Christmas Pageant. Furthermore, the Board continues the annual Benefit Gala and St. Paddy’s Celebration.

In preserving the historical Home Mercantile building, the Board took note of the successfulrefurbishing of the wooden floor, while making plans for repairing roof parapets and constructing a sidewalk along the north wall as protection of the building’s foundation.

Karen Setlowe, a playwright based in South Carolina with Nazareth connections through the late Ernie, Florine and Richard Brockman, is making her third visit to Nazareth in the past two years, researching her new play “Gift of the Panhandle”, with special emphasis on Nazareth. On July 7-16 at the Yellow Rose Inn, she is seeking people, teenagers and older, who would enjoy participating in an informal, private, Nazareth-gathering to read parts of the script-in-progress. Included will be discussion from both a historical and personal perspective. For more information or to express your interest, contact Karen at (864) 650-6818.

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