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Front Page » July 15, 2004 » Carbon Senior Scene » Price International Days' Grand Marshals
Published 4,063 days ago

Price International Days' Grand Marshals

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Francis Carlyle Bakken

Francis Carlyle Bakken was born in Platte, S.D. on the 14th day of January in the year 1913. He is the youngest of three sons. His father, Hans, was nine months old when he arrived in Platte from Norway in the 1880. Francis would help his father in his clothing store after school as he was growing up.

He played football, basketball and track while in school. He also played American Legion baseball. Francis graduated from Platte High School in 1931. After high school, he would work odd jobs.

In 1934, Francis began his business classes at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa where he studied for the next couple of years.

Eventually, Francis moved to Los Angeles, Calif. in 1936 and worked for the Bank of America Clearing House. While working there, he saw that railroad workers were making very good wages. He joined up with the Union Pacific in 1937 and was transferred to the Las Vegas, Nev. terminal in the same year.

In 1943, Francis was drafted into the Army. He was assigned to the 725th Railroad Operating Battalion which was stationed in India. In 1946, Francis was discharged from the Army. He moved back to Las Vegas and married Helen Dawdy, a registered nurse, in June of 1947. Later they adopted two young boys.

Francis is a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason with the Valley of Las Vegas Orient of Nevada and the Carbon Lodge No. 16 Masonic Lodge. He is also a Shriner.

Francis retired from the railroad as a conductor in 1977. He gave 40 years of service to the Union Pacific Railroad.

His wife, Helen, passed away in July of 1991 from a massive stroke. She was suffering from smaller strokes years prior and he was always there tending to her until her death.

Francis decided to move to Price in July of 1998 to be closer to his granddaughter, Geniva, and her family. Elizabeth, Caroline and Elliott Brooks of Price are his great-grandchildren.

Francis enjoys the Price area and the people. He attends the Price Methodist Church where he is their greeter on Sunday mornings.

He was playing golf until the last couple of years. He has also been around the world twice in his lifetime.

Francis is honored to be invited as one of the Grand Marshals for the 2004 Price International Days Parade.

Lyle J. Nelson

Lyle J. Nelson

Lyle J. Nelson was born in Ferron Feb. 27, 1913. He is the son of Christian and Caroline Olson Nelson. He had six brothers and four sisters.

Lyle was drafted into the U.S. Army Sept. 3, 1942. He served over three years during World War II with time in North Africa and Italy. He was in the 12th Medical Depot Company. Lyle is very proud of having served his country. One of his uniforms is framed and hangs on his wall at Turnquist Retreat in Elmo along with many photos and other memorabilia of that time in his life.

Lyle kept extensive records of his time in the Army. He shared his diary of his life in the service with his stepdaughters, Susan Wilstead and Gail Pagano. He proudly showed them a three-page typed list of the officers and enlisted men in his outfit. He kept in touch with his Commanding Officer, Col. George P. Wilson from Columbus, Ohio until his death several years ago.

He kept daily records from Sept. 3 , 1942 when he was inducted into the Army, with dates he received medals, advancements and other important events, along with every place he traveled.

He was appointed Pfc. at Fort Sam Houston, Texas on Dec. 25,1942; received rating as Cpt. T/5 in Italy, Feb. 5, 1944; received ribbon of African Campaign Feb. 19, 1944; received star of Italian Campaign March 10, 1944; received ribbon for good conduct Nov. 1, 1944; received star for battle between Rome and Arno, Nov. 15, 1944; received rating of T/4 Sgt. Italy May 8, 1945; received star for Po Valley May 15, 1945; and was given a company citation patch Sept. 3, 1945 for three years of service and lash marks were issued.

He talks with pride about each medal, star and stripe as he points them out on his Army uniform displayed on the wall.

In his diary he states on Dec. 12, 1945, "Finished up with the Army and was discharged today. Was set free eight minutes after four o'clock. Went to Salt Lake and caught a train for home. The End."

Lyle married Gladys Irene Stevenson in Tazewell, Va. on Jan. 16, 1946. They have three sons, Robert (Beverly) Price, Randy (Tonya) of Elmo and Steven (Candy) of West Valley City.

Gladys died June 6, 1982 and Lyle married Nola Christensen. She died July 2, 2001. His step-children are Joyce (Ken) Anderson, Richland, Wash., Gloria (Floyd) Seal, Spring Glen, Carol (Bruce) Worthen, Wellton, Ariz., Gail (Richard) Pagano, Price, Susan (Jim) Wilstead, Price, and Perry (Ginger) Christensen, Logan.

Lyle worked 12 years as a farmer. In 1935 he was in the CCCs, working at the defense plant in Ogden. He worked for 30 years in the coal mine at Hiawatha. He was both secretary and treasurer for the union local for 14 years.

He now resides at Turnquist Retreat in Elmo and enjoys his family and friends who come to see him. He loves to visit and talk about his life and family.

Serfino Nick

Serfino Nick

Serfino Nick was born Nov. 19, 1914, in Hiawatha. Raised in Carbon County, Serf was the fifth of 10 children born to Italian immigrants.

Serf attended Notre Dame and graduated from Carbon High School in 1934. Shortly after high school, he became acquainted with a pilot from Green River who flew into Carbon County long before there was an established airport. Serf trained and earned his private pilot's license setting down the plane in any field or strip of land that appeared safe. He remembers charging 50 cents for a joy ride above Carbon County.

In December 1941, one week after Pearl Harbor, Serf volunteered for the service. He enlisted in the Air Force at Fort Douglas. Serfino served in the Air Force from December 1941 to December 1945 as a Tech (Technical) Sergeant. His position as Flight Engineer allowed him to test the bombers shipped from the factory. He test hopped and inspected the B-17, B-24, B-26 and the PBYA (naval plane).

As a Flight Engineer, Serf's duties were to check all flight equipment, examine the planes inside and out, and inspect the mechanics of the bombers before releasing them to the war zone. Most of the bombers were used over seas in WWII.

After the Air Force, Serf lived in California and was engaged in private flying. He owned and operated Merced Flying Service as a flight instructor, FAA examiner and charter pilot. Serf flew many celebrities in his day, including: James Arness of Gunsmoke, The Lennon Sisters, CBS executives and many politicians. He possesses a wealth of knowledgeable about aviation history.

Serfino and his wife Delma lived in Merced, Calif. from 1945 until he retired and moved back to Price in November 1996. Serfino and Delma restored the Nick family home and returned to be close to family and friends in Carbon County. He is one of Carbon County's oldest yet sharpest Veterans still living in the area.

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