JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Happy Mother’s Day, Mom

My Mom, Phyllis Maxine (Boehmer) Fuglie, was born Oct. 10, 1924, at the farm home of her parents, Peter and Sophia (Aaberg) Boehmer, near Edmore, N.D.

Her family moved to Saskatchewan for a short time during the Great Depression, where my Grandpa Pete took work as a farmhand to support his growing family. But after a few years, they returned to North Dakota, and she graduated from Edmore High School in 1942. Mom received her R.N. degree from Mercy Hospital College of Nursing in Devils Lake in 1945. She did additional nurses training at Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis.

She married my dad, O.J. “Whitey” Fuglie. on Sept. 15, 1946 in Devils Lake, and they moved to Chicago, where she worked as a nurse in Chicago hospitals, supporting Dad while he attended optometry school at Northern Illinois College of Optometry, using his GI Bill of Rights benefits.

They moved to Hettinger, N.D., in 1950, where Dr. Fuglie opened an optometric practice and she resumed her nursing career, which spanned more than 40 years. She took occasional leaves from her nursing career to raise her seven children, but because of the demand for nurses in her small town, she was often called to work night and emergency shifts. Late in her career, she served as director of nursing at Hettinger’s nursing home and as a public health nurse for Adams County.

Dad died on March 16, 1984, and Mom remained in Hettinger until 1992, when she moved to Bismarck to be nearer her children after they were all out of school. She returned to Hettinger in 2005 and resided at Western Horizons Nursing Home, the same facility at which she had been nursing director (and at times thought she still was) until her death.

Mom was a member of Hettinger’s Parent Teacher Association, Eagles Auxiliary, St. Ann’s Group of the Altar Society and the Hettinger American Legion Auxiliary from 1950 until her death. She was active in Scouts, serving as den mother to all her sons’ Cub Scout packs and Campfire group leader to her daughters.

She died Sept. 26, 2009 outliving her sisters Mae, June, Pauline and Laureen; and her brothers Glen, Herbert and Jack. Her brother Leonard, the last surviving member of her family, died in 2011. Of the nine children born to her parents, only the four youngest lived past their 25th birthday, and a 25th birthday became a celebration and memorial day for the family.

All of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren join me in wishing her a Happy Mother’s Day. We loved her dearly and miss her greatly.

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Jim Fuglie

Jim Fuglie is a native of Hettinger, ND, a U.S. Navy veteran (1968-1972) and majored in communications at Dickinson State College (now Dickinson State University) in Dickinson, ND. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, as a speechwriter and communications director for North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Myron Just and as Executive Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. He worked at the Herald from late 1975 to early 1976. In 1985, Jim was appointed North Dakota Tourism Director by Governor George Sinner and served in that post until 1992. He later worked as Development Director for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and as public relations director for Kranzler Kingsley Communications in Bismarck. He retired in 2009, and he and his wife Lillian, the retired Director of Library Services at Dickinson State University, now live in Bismarck and spend much of their time exploring the back roads and trails of the North Dakota Bad Lands.

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