She Loved To Serve

Week 19: #52 Ancestors – Service

By Eilene Lyon

I have a soft spot for relatives who, by choice or chance, left no descendants to carry on their legacy and their stories. Sometimes nieces and nephews step in to fill the void, as with this case, about my dad’s aunt Inez.

Jack and Inez0003
Inez Lucinda Halse. (Courtesy of P. Neal)

Inez Lucinda Halse was the fifth of eleven children born to Guy and Mabel (Cutting) Halse; her closest siblings were Lloyd and Myron. Her birthday was September 10, but the year is muddled. Her birth certificate wasn’t issued until 1943 and gives a birth year of 1904, which is found on numerous records, including her gravestone.1

However, the South Dakota state census records suggest otherwise. She was not enumerated with the family in 1905, which anyone born in 1904 should have been. In 1915 she appears as a 10-year-old which, depending on when the census taker came around, could indicate a birth in either 1904 or 1905.2 Unfortunately, the census cards are undated.

She grew up on the Guy Halse farm in northern Dexter township and attended local schools up to the 8th grade. At age 20, she worked in Watertown as a domestic servant and worshipped at the Methodist Church.3

Inez remained steadfast to the Christian faith her entire life, eventually joining the Lutheran Church. This may have been partly a result of her marriage, February 6, 1926, to Carl Ingvald Hvidhyld, the Iowa-born son of Norwegian immigrants.4 Carl’s brother, Herman Hvidhyld, is also in my family tree, because he married Alma Cora Springer in 1928. Alma’s parents were from the Springer and Gusso families.

Not much is known about Inez’s first marriage. She and Carl are not listed in the 1930 census, perhaps because they were on the move. They eventually settled somewhere in Oregon, but the marriage ended in divorce on October 11, 1938 in the Circuit Court in Corvallis.5

Jack and Inez0008
Inez and Jack Wiesner. (Courtesy of P. Neal)

How and when Inez met Darwin Stanley Wiesner, known as “Jack,” is lost to the sands of time. They married in Reno, Nevada, on April 24, 1939.6 Jack, born in 1912, was the fourth of seven children of George and Amelia (Olson) Wiesner of Wisconsin.7 George worked as a farm employee, eventually owning his own dairy in Door County. Jack’s mother, Amelia, had immigrated from Norway.

Jack lived in Tracy, San Joaquin County, California, and Inez joined him there for several years. They settled into the restaurant careers that would carry them through to retirement in 1977: he as a cook, she as a waitress. According to a niece, Inez loved waitressing so much that if she had her life to do over, she’d become a waitress again.

IMG_1619
Inez Wiesner, probably in Williamsburg in 1945. (Courtesy of S. Halse)

Then World War II called Jack into service. He enlisted on August 5, 1943, serving first in the SeaBees, then in the regular Navy. He and Inez were stationed out of Williamsburg, Virginia, during his time in the service. He left the Navy on December 4, 1945.8 After the war, the Wiesners moved to Astoria, Oregon, to continue life in the restaurant business. They worked in a variety of establishments over the years, not always in the same one together.

In the summer of 1963, Inez and Jack decided to move closer to family. They headed to White Salmon, Washington, a tiny community just across the Columbia River from Hood River. They took over the Town and Country Restaurant in the plaza of the same name. The plaza grand opening had taken place a year earlier, so it was a fairly new establishment.9 The Town and Country Restaurant served typical diner fare, including delicious hamburgers. The Wiesners operated it seven days a week, serving three meals a day.

19641224Mt Adams Sun Page 5
From the Mt. Adams Sun, December 24, 1964, p. 5.

Other businesses in the plaza included Salmon Bowl, a beauty parlor, a barber shop, and Wang’s bookkeeping and tax service.10 The Wiesners soon bought a house next door to Inez’s brother, Myron Halse. Inez’s sister and brother-in-law, Hazel and Gottlieb Sturm, also lived in White Salmon.

Inez and Jack celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in April 1964 with a fine reception in White Salmon, hosted by one of Inez’s nieces.11 Apparently it was a dry spring that year and two months later, grass fires became a daily occurrence. On June 22, the Town and Country Restaurant almost became victim to one such blaze burning on the south side of the building.12

Jack and Inez0007
Jack and Inez Wiesner (left) with Myron and Gladys Halse. (Courtesy of P. Neal)

Inez had an outgoing, cheerful personality, and loved a good joke – ideal traits for a waitress. She delighted in playing cards (5-card pinochle) and bowling regularly in league play. She also did service work on behalf of the American Legion Auxiliary, even serving as the Auxiliary president.13 Jack was a quieter sort, enjoying a card game, a beer, and an annual trip to Reno. Both liked spending time with children, though they had none of their own. In addition to being aunt and uncle to many, they also served as godparents.

Jack passed away from cancer at age 69 in December 1981. He was laid to rest with military honors in the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.14 Inez spent the next 12 years continuing to live in White Salmon, minus the presence of her beloved husband of 42 years. In February 1994 she was laid to rest beside him for eternity.15

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Inez and Jack Wiesner. (Courtesy of S. Halse)

Feature image: Jack and Inez Wiesner in the Town and Country Restaurant in White Salmon, Washington (Courtesy of P. Neal)

Inez Lucinda Halse on Ancestry.com.


  1. South Dakota Department of Health; Pierre, South Dakota; South Dakota, Birth Index, 1856-1917. Ancestry.com. South Dakota, Birth Index, 1856-1917 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2003. 
  2. Inez Halse. Ancestry.com. South Dakota, State Census, 1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. 
  3. Inez L. Halse. Ancestry.com. South Dakota, State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. 
  4. Carl Ingvald Hvidhyld and Inez Lucinda Halse. Certificate No. 110798. Ancestry.com. South Dakota, Marriages, 1905-2017 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. 
  5. “Five cases dismissed from Circuit Court” Corvallis Gazette-Times, October 12, 1938, p. 8 – via Newspapers.com. 
  6. “Reception for Jack Wiesners” Mt. Adams Sun, April 30, 1964, p. 5. http://mas.stparchive.com/search.php?newspaperCode=MAS 
  7. George Weisner family. Year: 1920; Census Place: Nasewaupee, Door, Wisconsin; Roll: T625_1983; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 66 – via Ancestry.com. 
  8. “Wiesners take over café and purchase home” Mt. Adams Sun, August 22, 1963, p. 1. AND Darwin Wiesner. Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. 
  9. Ibid. AND “Grand opening winners named” Mt. Adams Sun, October 11, 1962. 
  10. Ibid. 
  11. See Note 6. 
  12. “Grass fires ‘One A Day’” Mt. Adams Sun, June 25, 1964. 
  13. Many personal details about Inez and Jack come from Inez’s niece, phone interview January 19, 2020. AND various news clippings from the Mt. Adams Sun. 
  14. Darwin Stanley Wiesner. Willamette National Cemetery. National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2019 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. 
  15. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/1320678 

28 thoughts on “She Loved To Serve

Add yours

  1. From your title I expected something about the military, but I think I like this better. People who have the heart of a servant fascinate me, as it’s so contrary to my own personality!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t imagine anyone loving waitressing that much, but I guess maybe customer service is different for extroverts. As an introvert, I loathe any form of customer service, but I can’t seem to get a job that doesn’t involve it in some way!
    My grandmother loved playing pinochle too, and would have a pinochle party just about every week with her friends, so I have a soft spot for pinochle players, though I’ve never learned how to play myself (my grandma did try to teach me once, but it seemed really complicated and I lost interest).

    Liked by 1 person

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