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Friday, Sep. 19, 2014

David and Ida, You Did Well

Posted Monday, June 9, 2008, at 9:34 PM

David and Ida met at a small college and fell in love. After a year or so they felt their love was more important than a college education so they left school and married.

They received a 160 acre farm and $2,000 as wedding gifts but he was not cut out to be a farmer. Soon he lost the farm and used his remaining money to open a store. That did not work out either. He went to Texas to work on the railroad where he was joined by his wife and two sons and soon they added a third. Unfortunately that did not work out so they returned to the small town where they began. He got a job in a creamery where he worked for many years. His disappointment showed but he was diligent, hard working and committed to his family.

David and Ida had six boys grow to adulthood. They lived in a house of no more than 1,000 square feet on three acres with a grandfather and a dog named Flip. They raised chickens, cows and a very large garden. There was no electricity or running water in the house for many years. Ida lived in that house until 1946. The sons learned about working hard to reach goals. They learned about commitment, fairness, thrift, self-discipline and a strong religious tradition. They played sports in high school and were a strong family.

Milt graduated from Kansas State College and became a college professor. Later he became advisor and consultant to three presidents and a foreign diplomat. He was also president of three universities among which were Johns Hopkins and Penn State.

Ed graduated from the University of Michigan and its law school. He practiced law in Tacoma, Wash., and became quite wealthy and a prominent member of the community.

Art graduated from college and became chairman of the Commerce Trust Company Bank of Kansas City. His work in grain and banking made him wealthy. He was on the board of directors of three companies.

Roy graduated from college and became a successful pharmacist. Tragically he died in his mid to late 20s.

Earl went to college and became the editor of the Springfield, Ill., newspaper and managed other papers.

Dave, third in line, became the most prominent. He worked a year out of high school to help a brother in college. He then was given an appointment to West Point. After graduation he worked his way up through the ranks to become general. Fifty nine members of his class made general. At a most crucial point in history he was named Supreme Allied Commander of all armed forces in Europe and successfully concluded WW II in Europe. He was president of Columbia U. and then in 1952 was elected president of the U.S.

I encourage you to take the exit ramp from I-70 at Abilene, Kan., journey two miles and browse through the boyhood home, museum and library of the most famous brother, Dwight David Eisenhower, a true American Hero.

David and Ida, you can be justifiably proud of how your boys turned out.

Larry Vandeventer grew up north of Calvertville, graduated from Worthington High School and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168 or by phone at (317) 839-7656. He has written five books about his experiences.


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Very nice article. I've never read where anyone referred to Ike as "Dave". Although he was born David Dwight and later reversed the names himself, his mother, Ida, had always called him David. Because of her background and religion, she was truly disappointed when he chose to go to West Point. But she was a very proud Mother of all of her boys.

A couple of good books pertaining to this bit of history that I'd recommend are "Faith of Our Mothers" by Harold I. Gullan and "First Mothers" by Bonnie Angelo.

Ike's father, David, was a bitter, abusive individual who never displayed any affection at all for any of his sons.

The West Point Class of 1915 was dubbed "the class the stars fell on" and had two 5-Star Generals, Eisenhower and Bradley, as well as two 4-Star Generals, Van Fleet and McNarney, out of 164 graduates.

I heartily agree about the visit to Abilene. Also, teachers can get a wealth of information from this website: http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/

Jerry Hahin and I were once stuck in Salina, Kansas during an ice storm and when we called back into work, our boss, Bill Chancellor, USMA Class of 1973, suggested we drive down to Abilene to visit the museum. I remember laughing and telling Bill, we'd sure like to but I-70 has an inch of ice on it and it is closed. Not only that, we couldn't even get my truck out of the motel parking lot.

-- Posted by simmons on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 12:49 AM


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