Aasness, Ebersviller renowned WWII vets [UPDATED]Published 9:13am Tuesday, August 31, 2010 Updated 10:28am Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Ken Aasness, 87, and Bill Ebersviller, 90, two Fergus Falls residents and veterans of World War II, died only five days apart. They were part of what many people refer to as “the greatest generation” of Americans.
Aasness died on Saturday, Aug. 21, and Ebersviller’s passing took place on Thursday, Aug. 26. Services for Aasness were held Aug. 25 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. A memorial service for Ebeersviller will be held Friday, Sept. 3, at First Lutheran Church.
In 1944 Fergus Falls natives Aasness and LeRoy Quernemoen joined the Army the same day. In the final months of World War II they found themselves together in Okinawa and Seoul, Korea.
The time that Quernemoen and Aasness spent in Korea was rekindled when the two men went together, in 2007, on the final WDAY Honor Flight to the nation’s capital to visit the World War II memorial.
“It was a fast two days in Washington,” said Aasness three years ago, “but highly memorable days at that. The day we arrived back in Fargo was the 61st wedding anniversary for me and my wife, Frances. It was wonderful to have our four children and grandchildren also meet us at the airport.”
Quernemoen, a milman, and Aasness remained friends throughout their lives.
“We all came quietly home after the war and just went about the business of raising our families, and working hard to make a living,” said Aasness, who was employed as a mechanic, heavy equipment operator and road builder.
Aasness was noted for his woodworking and volunteer work with the Lake Region Pioneer Threshermen’s Association. He was very active in Swan lake Lutheran Church.
Ebersviller, during World War II, served in the U.S. Army Air Force as a 1st Lieutenant Bombardier in a lead B-24, bombing strategic targets in Germany. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and various other service medals. After the war, he completed business college and returned to work in the family business.
He later joined The Fergus Falls Daily Journal, working in their advertising department until his retirement in 1985.
Two of Ebersviller’s fellow ad department colleagues, Glenn Olson and Charles Malmstrom, were two World War II veterans who preceded Ebersviller in death.
“The Greatest Generation” is a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the generationwho grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II, as well as those whose productivity within the war’s home front made a decisive material contribution to the war effort. The generation is sometimes referred to as the G.I. Generation.