Before our first visit, we want you to know that success wasn't handed to us. Mark Bertrang grandparents' purpose was to make their children's lives better. His parents' purpose was to make Mark and his siblings' lives better. That was accomplished through the gift of character, sincerity and values; not money. This is how our story was written. Our gift is to help you to write your family's story of values.
Taken a few years before Mark Bertrang was born, this picture shows Mark's father reaching for the telephone while sitting around a table with his work-buddies at the Green Giant Company where he was employed for 35 years. It wasn't unusual for Mark's father to clock-in over a hundred hours a week during the summer and early fall of pea and sweet corn harvests.
Mark Bertrang's Grandmother on his father's side is shown here, standing to the far right. She worked many 8-to-10 hour days, plucking chickens by hand. Later on, she worked in the candling and egg breaking rooms of the same factory. During his youth, Mark remembers his grandmother still working 12-hour shifts during summer months at a local vegetable-canning factory to make extra money during her retirement years.
A French Canadian, Mark Bertrang's Great Grandfather Moison farmed 80 acres after he came to the United States. Mark's father enjoys telling the story of getting into trouble with Grandma Moison when he was a young boy, because he used the wrong toilet paper. His grandparents didn't have indoor plumbing, instead they only had an outhouse. Mark's father would tell how his grandmother would carefully save the soft tissue paper when unwrapping individual peaches from grocery store wooden crates. The soft paper was to be used only by "company" while the family, on the other hand was supposed to use the single pages of paper torn from a SEARS catalog, which was left for them in the outhouse.
Mark Bertrang's Grandpa Kuntz was five years old when he arrived in the United States. He only attended five years of school because he was needed at home. In 1942, he and Mark's Grandmother took over a bakery business in northern Minnesota. They were so poor on their first day of business, that they only had $3.00 in the store cash register, by which to make change. They ran the bakery together until Grandpa retired at the age of 67. See the 11-year old girl? That's Mark's mother. As an adult, she worked for 20 years at a health clinic
Grandpa Kuntz's ancestors were German, but left Germany for Russia with the promise of free land. Things weren't as they had been promised though; so in time, they left. Mark's Grandfather and his parents left Russia with only a very few possessions to begin their new life in America.
Mark Bertrang's Grandpa and Grandma Schela, his mother's grandparents ran a little general store for many years. The store was in the front, while they lived in the rear. They worked into their eighties -- saving for retirement! The story goes, that they probably gave away more items than they actually sold, since many folks had little means in which to pay. Their daughter, Mark's Grandmother Kuntz is shown standing to the left.