Unforgettable Birthdays

Jokes are often made about husbands and wives who may forget each other’s birthdays.  Today’s story tells about a couple that never had that problem.  That is because they had the same birthday, September 11th.   One of them was George Fleiss who was born on that day in 1889, and the other was Lena Angerman who was born one year later.

Let’s start with Lena.  She was born as Lena Sarah Felicitas Angerman.  Her parents were Johann Michael and Emma (Kurre) Angerman of Perryville.  Lena was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville.  She was also the granddaughter of Felicitas Angerman who was a main character in a previous story titled, Felicitas?.  Lena’s middle name must have been after her grandmother.  Lena’s father died in 1893 when she was just three years old.  Her mother moved her family to St. Louis because in the 1900 census, we find them living there.  In the 1910 census, Lena is a 19 year old still living with her mother.  She was working in a laboratory and shown as a “Mfg. chemist”.

Lena Angerman 1910 census St. Louis, MO
1910 census – St. Louis, MO

Meanwhile, George Albert Fleiss was born in Chicago, Illinois.  His parents were Edward and Henrietta (Schwichtenberg) Fleiss.  Just a side note:  I taught a bunch of Schwichtenbergs when I was living in Morristown, Minnesota.  That name was common in that area of South Central Minnesota.  We see George in a 1900 census as a 10 year old.  His father was a veneer cutter.

George Fleiss 1900 census Chicago, IL
1900 census – Chicago, IL

George’s father had died, and George was no longer living with his mother in 1910.  It is only my guess, but I think he may have already been attending Concordia Seminary in St. Louis by then.  I am also guessing that Lena and George may have met each other in St. Louis and had gotten married there.

Rev. George Fleiss became the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas in 1914.  He remained there until 1921.  Pastor Fleiss came to Zion right after Rev. Ernst Bultmann, who was the main character in the story, From Tragedy to Ministry.  Here is a photo of Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.

zion lutheran church
Zion Lutheran Church – Pocahontas, MO

We find the Fleiss family in the 1920 census living in Pocahontas.  Lena’s widow mother was living with them at the time.  Len and George had two children by this time also.

George Fleiss 1920 census Pocahontas MO
1920 census – Pocahontas, MO

Here is a photo of Rev. Fleiss.

Rev. George Albert Fleiss
Rev. George Fleiss

By the time of the 1930 census, Pastor Fleiss was living in Saline Township in Cooper County, Missouri.  My best guess is that he was serving Immanuel Lutheran Church in Boonville, Missouri.

In 1934, at the early age of 44 years, Rev. Fleiss died.  Here is his death certificate.

George Fleiss death certificate
Rev. George Fleiss death certificate

After her husband’s death, Lena moved her family to St. Louis.  The 1940 census not only shows them living there, but had been already living there in 1935.

Lena Fleiss 1940 census St. Louis, MO
1940 census – St. Louis, MO

We have this smiling photo of Lena Fleiss which was taken later in her life.

Lena Angermann Fleiss
Lena (Angerman) Fleiss

George and Lena had four children who lived into adulthood.  Here are photos of them.

Left to right:  Thelma, Edward, Norman, and Doris.

Lena would die in St. Louis in 1963.  Her body was taken to be buried with her husband in the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Boonville, Missouri.  Here are their gravestones.

I have to imagine that when September 11th rolled around, either Lena or George would ask the other, “Isn’t it somebody’s birthday today?”  The other might have responded, “It’s about time you noticed.”  Then later in life, it must have been bittersweet for Lena to celebrate her  birthday, only to remember that it was her departed spouse’s birthday too.


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