The Frau Erica Project
Muellers in America:
The first 155 years


Emanuel Lutheran Church, Freedom Township, Janesville, Minnesota, photographed June 7, 2007, by Joel Nickel

Kurt Walther Johannes Mueller: Sarge

Kurt’s service in the Army may have marked the first time a Mueller returned to Germany, although several of his cousins served in other theaters during the war. Because of his pharmacy training and fluent German, he served in the Medical Corps and often worked in field hospitals where, according to his sister Adelheid, he was ordered to gather battlefield intelligence by listening to conversations of German prisoners. He was also commended by a passing general who was reviewing the troops — George Patton, Adelheid thought — for having developed a cough syrup highly prized by U.S. soldiers.

Uncle Kurt — Unksie (sp?) to his neices and nephews, Coos/Kuse to his siblings — may have been the most enigmatic of the Mueller uncles. He seemed a bit shy, a little nervous and jumpy, but he was also pleasant and quietly sociable. That perception was at odds with how his sister Adelheid described him in the earlier years — cheerful, funny, witty, outgoing, interested in lots of things, involved in projects. The war had changed him, we were told, but no one ever explained why and how, and Unksie never talked about it.

He seemed at times almost incidental. The Waseca Herald, for example, carried a lengthy account of Kurt and Lorraine’s wedding, held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, August 25, 1949. It described in detail what everyone wore, what the soloists sang, who played what music, who the guests were — even to the children (“Jerry, Jimmie and Marki of Oak Park, Ill., ... Pauli and Bethy of Brookfield, Ill.”). What was remarkable was the omission. The entire account had only a single, terse, irrelevant sentence about Kurt: “The groom at one time was employed at a drug store in Janesville.”

Obituary from the Mankato Free Press

MANKATO — Mankato resident Kurt W.J. Mueller, 85, died Tuesday, Jan. 7, 1997 at Immanuel-St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Services are 2 p.m. Friday at Woodland Hills Funeral Home, the Rev. Donald Moldstad officiating. Burial will be in Woodland Hills Memorial Park.

Visitation is one hour before the services at the funeral home. Memorials may be given to Mt. Olive Lutheran Church or donor’s choice.

Mr. Mueller was born Oct. 3, 1911, to Ernest and Helen (Hedder) Mueller in Janesville. He attended Freedom Township Lutheran Grade School south of Janesville and graduated from Waldorf High School and the University of Minnesota Pharmacy School. He served in the Army from 1942 to 1945 in the European theater, including the Battle of the Bulge.

He married Lorraine Pautsch in 1949, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Good Thunder. He worked as a pharmacist in Amboy, later owning and operating Grove City Pharmacy. He also worked in Waseca for 11 years and in Anoka for 20 years before retiring in 1987. He was a member of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and enjoyed woodcrafting.

He is survived by his wife; one sister, Adelheid Nickel of Stayton, Ore.; three sisters-in-law, Charlotte Mueller of Eagle Lake, Ruth Mueller of Hoagland, Ind., and Viola Pautsch of Good Thunder; two brothers-in-law, Armin Grams of South Burlington, Vermont, and William Pautsch and his wife, Lydia, of Good Thunder; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by three sisters and four brothers.