The end of the year is a perfect time for reflection. 94-years-young, Eugene Pribnow of Amery recently reflected on a life for which he has been very thankful.
Pribnow, a WWII veteran said he joined the Navy on his 18th birthday, February 5, 1945. Pribnow said he wanted to serve and show loyalty to his country. When he joined, he did it without his parent’s permission. “It was the right thing to do. The war was on and you should go in,” he said.
He was able to travel many places throughout the U.S. and in less than a year, the war was over. Pribnow completed Basic Training in Memphis Tennessee. From there he went to Oklahoma for Aviation Mechanic School. Pribnow then went to Great Lakes Naval Base, then Seattle and Bainbridge Island. He also spent time in Montana and Michigan. He spent most of his time being a guard.
“They had the first Atom Bomb test and I was going to sign up for that. My brother and my best buddy said that was not a good idea. My brother was in the submarines of the South Pacific and my buddy had been in the South Pacific too. It was scary when my bother was in that submarine. I remember him telling me once, ‘Gene, I am either coming back home or not all.”
Pribnow and his brother were proud veterans who had grown up in Afton, Minnesota. He shared his sister had left home at 12-years-old a moved to the cities to do housework and attend Harding High School. “She graduated at 16. At 17 she and two other girls left for New York City and formed a singing trio that preformed for the USO and traveled all of the world,” he said.
After his time in the military Pribnow enjoyed his life in Baldwin with his first wife, Lorraine. He ran a milk route before going to work for a fertilizer plant. They purchased a cabin on Cedar Lake. Lorraine passed away in 1980.
He had many great years with his second wife, Marietta in Clayton before she passed in 2009. He worked part-time at the Almena co-op until he was 80. “It gave me something to do, it helped with income and it was fun,” he said.
Pribnow has lived in Amery for eight years. He has eight children. “All of my kids are good. All of my grandchildren are working. Some have had COVID, but have recovered,” he said.
He is missing in-person church services at the Congregational Church in Amery. He has been listening to Jimmy Swaggart at home with his trusty cat Millie by his side.
Pribnow said, “I have got so much to be thankful for. I have gone through so much, but hey-I am up and walking and getting around and still driving and it’s wonderful. What more can you ask for? Life is good when you look at the good side of it.”