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1926 Alice 2020

Alice Draht

February 5, 1926 — June 30, 2020

Alice Draht February 5, 1926 – June 30, 2020 Alice Draht, a long-time resident of Bovina, Arriba and Flagler, moved to Peoria, AZ, at the end of 2013. She died of COVID-19 on June 30, 2020, in Goodyear, AZ. Alice was born Alize (All-eats-ah) Grunert on February 5, 1926 to Adolf and Martha Mantei Grunert in Justinow, Germany, renamed Stanislowo-Duzy, Poland after WWII. Her brother, Artur, was four years older. She was engaged to Albert Draht in December, 1944 and married on May 25, 1946 in the small village of Krilow, west of Berlin. They settled near Hannover. Son, Erich, was born in March, 1947 and daughter, Erika Ingeborg, in November, 1948. The young family immigrated to southwestern Kansas in May, 1952. They moved to Bovina in May, 1954, where Albert was employed by O.F. Parker Farms. January 15, 1959, the Draht family became naturalized United States citizens. A second daughter, Ruth Ann, was born in June, 1960. The Draht’s made their home at Bovina for 35 years, moving to Arriba prior to Albert’s death in 1992. They were married 46 years. Over the years, Alice was a homemaker; part-time lunchroom assistant at Arriba Schools; a personal care aide to elderly women in the community; and polling place election judge for state and national elections. Albert was a private pilot. They flew their Cessna to many events associated with Colorado Flying Farmers and International Flying Farmers. Alice was involved with the women’s chapters participating in fund-raisers and activities. She was reigning CFF Queen 1983-84, traveling to many states, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. She also traveled extensively from her forties through seventies, taking cross-country trips by car, rail, private and commercial aircraft, visiting at least half of the continental United States, and returning to Germany several times. Among her interests, cooking was her passion. Alice read cookbooks as though they were novels. That’s how she taught herself English. Chocolate chip cookies were a huge hit with her three kids and ranger cookies with her son-in-law, Bernie. Her apple pies were legendary. Whenever there was a local event, everyone wanted a slice. She loved vegetable gardening at Bovina and later tending her bulb flowers in the backyard at Arriba. Alice wrote poetry, knitted, crocheted, was on the Snell Grain bowling team, walked every morning, enjoyed water aerobics, and her friendships and activities with Red Hats. As a child, she taught herself to play harmonica. She entertained at the Flagler Senior Center, as well as for the residents in the memory care facility where she lived in Arizona. She was a member of the First Baptist Church in Limon and moved her affiliation and membership to the Congregational Churches in Arriba and then Flagler where she also sang alto in all of the choirs. Here is an excerpt about her early life: Justinow (Use-tin-off), a small village of peasant farmers, had a main road lined with homesteads on both sides. Farmland fanned out around the town in a large clearing, ringed by dense forest… Alice’s parents were well-to-do, and built a modest dwelling and a large long barn to shelter their livestock at night. In addition to the land, they owned two draft horses, a riding horse, five milk cows, two sheep for wool, a pen of hogs for sale and slaughter, many chickens and honey bee hives… As the Russian army was advancing their front, livestock, food and personal possessions of the villagers were confiscated, including Alice’s guitar. Villagers had only a couple of hours to pack a wagon and flee. For more of the story, visit www.lovefuneralhomes.com Check later in July when additional photos will be posted. Preceding her in death were her parents, brother Artur and wife Lea, brother-in-law Rudolf Draht, sister-in-law Elizabeth Draht Jabs and husband Hermann, nephew Helmut Draht and niece Edeltraud Jabs and husband Klaus Peter Kasten. She is survived by her son, Erich and wife Gloria of Greeley, two daughters Erika Ingeborg and husband Charles Olson of Glendale, AZ, and Ruthanne and husband Bernard Koch of Arriba. Online condolences may be made at www.lovefuneral homes.com and contributions honoring Alice Draht may be made to: Lincoln Community Hospital and Nursing Home, P.O. Box 248, Hugo, CO 80821 Alice Draht February 5, 1926 – June 30, 2020 Da mals… (Back then…) Alice’s parents , Adolf Grunert and Martha Mantei, were born around the turn of the twentieth century (1901 and 1896 respectively). Justinow (Use-tin-off) was a German settlement in an area of East Germany (now Poland) where country borders and rulers had continually changed over the centuries because of land disputes, royal marriages and wars. Adolf was the youngest sibling in a family of five brothers and two sisters. Martha’s mother died when she was an infant. Her father married two more times (widows with children), so there were about a dozen siblings in the blended family. Martha was the oldest girl tasked with raising all of the younger kids. When she was about eighteen, a sister of her mother’s adopted her just to get her away from a brutal stepmother. Her aunt helped Martha secure a position as a nanny to a doctor with five children. The doctor’s family moved to Russia before World War I began and returned when Martha was a twenty-seven-year-old spinster. Adolf was twenty when they married. It was just after WWI. Justinow, a small village of peasant farmers, had a main road lined with homesteads on both sides. Farmland fanned out around the town in a large clearing, ringed by dense forest… Alice’s parents were well-to-do, and built a modest dwelling and a large long barn to shelter their livestock at night. In addition to the land, they owned two draft horses, a riding horse, five milk cows, two sheep for wool, a pen of hogs for sale and slaughter, many chickens and honey bee hives. From ages 7-13 (1933-1939), Alice’s formal education was just seven years in Polish grammar school. Play was not an option. Play was herding the livestock and wiling away the hours in the pastures by learning to play a small harmonica by ear. Play was raising a pet chicken and then selling the eggs for candy money. Play was work! Then WWII began. Her only sibling, an older brother, was somewhere in combat in the German infantry. In the Fall of 1940, Hitler ordered repatriation of all German settlements in Poland by exchanging like holdings for farmsteads in the Wartegau Region of Germany. Alice’s parents had time to organize the move to their new homestead. When the day came, all of the villagers met at the train depot to be transported to Ruhenwerda. Her father was captured later in the war and spent a couple of years as a prisoner of war in Great Britain, and her mother was ill for several years. Meanwhile, World War II was raging while Alice was a teenager, shouldering tremendous responsibility. Since all of the men and older boys from the village were in the German military, Alice ran the farm, hired and managed a dozen or so day laborers in the fields, mostly Polish women, made weekly payroll, milked the cows, tended the livestock and vegetable garden. Her day began at first light and ended well after dark. She was sixteen when she was baptized in a fountain in a town square during an allied bombing raid. No one traveled. Every day was filled with priorities, tasks necessary for survival. Alice played guitar and harmonica. She loved singing in the church choir and sang folksongs in the fields with the women while they were hoeing rows of sugar beets and potatoes. Whenever the sheep were sheared, the wool was carded, spun into yarn on a spinning wheel and then dyed with tea, beet juice or walnut shells. Alice enjoyed spinning the yarn and knitting intricate patterns into sweaters, dresses, caps, socks, gloves and mittens. The German military supplied women in the village with wool to knit gloves desperately needed by the soldiers. Every week they would stop by to collect the pairs of gloves that were completed. In January, 1945, as the Russian front approached the village, all food, livestock and personal possessions including Alice’s guitar were confiscated. Villagers had only a couple of hours to pack a wagon and flee. It was the dead of winter, so cold that Alice and her mother each wore four or so dresses, one over the other, as they hurriedly prepared food and gathered a few possessions. Nearly all that they owned was left behind. Alice and Martha were treated more leniently because Martha could speak Russian. Alice harnessed the draft horses and tied the young riding horse behind the wagon. The rag-tag caravan trudged through snow, over icy roads for over a month, fleeing ahead of the fighting. Soon after leaving Ruhenwerda, one of the draft horses slipped and fell. It was lame and left by the roadside. The younger horse was harnessed to help pull the wagon. Young teenage girls would sleep in haystacks at night, hiding from soldiers to keep from being rape victims. Along the way they came upon an elderly woman whose oxen had died, so Martha asked Alice to give the remaining draft horse to the woman, leaving them with the young riding horse to pull the wagon. Alice then walked many days leading the horse the rest of the way to the refugee camp west of Potsdam in the Russian Zone. The horse had strained itself so much that it caught pneumonia. Upon arrival at Derwitz, Alice stopped at a farmstead with a barn. She was so distressed over the health of her favorite horse fearing it would die, she pleaded with the farmer to keep the sick horse in his barn. He was able to nurse the horse back to health and Alice gave him the horse out of gratitude. For two years, Alice worked in a dairy and greenhouse, milking cows, feeding young calves and raising vegetables to feed the Russian army. She was nineteen when the war ended in early May, 1945. Alice, (born Alize Grunert , pronounced All-eat-sah), became engaged to Albert Draht at Christmas, 1944, while he was on leave from the Luftwaffe (German Airforce). For almost a year, she did not know if he was still living. They were reunited west of Berlin and married on May 25, 1946. The newlyweds continued west with both of their mothers and Albert’s older sister, making their home near Hannover in West Germany. Erich was born in March, 1947, and Erika Ingeborg was born in November, 1948. Albert was employed with an ironworks company while Alice raised the children. The family transportation was a BMW motorcycle with a sidecar. Alice altered a nice skirt, making a pair of pants so she could drive over the cobblestone streets with the toddlers in the sidecar. They applied for a visa in 1949, immigrating to the United States in 1952. Albert was 27 and Alice was 26 years of age. The family was sponsored by a church organization, and a farmer in Southwestern Kansas provided a job for the first two years. In May of 1954, Albert accepted an offer to work for O.F. Parker Farms, and the family moved to the farmhouse at Bovina before the busy harvest season began. On January 15, 1959, the Draht family became naturalized United States citizens. A second daughter, Ruth Ann, was born in June, 1960. The Draht’s made their home at Bovina for 35 years, moving to Arriba prior to Albert’s death in 1992. They were married 46 years.
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Saturday, July 4, 2020

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Love Funeral Home Chapel

225 F Avenue, Limon, CO 80828

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