Great Great Uncle Reed Schwendiman

Welcome and thanks for joining me on another Grace family history recording. I’m Michael Grace and in this recording, I had the privilege of meeting my great great uncle Reed Schwendiman for the very first time on December 31, 2016. Great great uncle Reed is my mom’s dad’s dad’s brother.

Our visit with Reed Schwendiman

So To give you a bit of context on Reed’s early life… He was born in 1915 making him 101 and the time of this recording, and he is turning 102 in 3 months. 12 years before he was born, the Wright brothers made their first controlled, sustained flight in heavier-than-air aircraft at Kitty Hawk. 1 year before he was born, World War 1 conflict broke out in 1914. {us population year of birth}. When Reed was 3 what is now known as BYU Idaho went through a name change and was named Ricks college. They also phased out high-school level courses at the same time. When Reed was 14 The US stock market crash precipitated the Great Depression.

Some of the things we talked about include:

  • how they made sure they had enough food growing up
  • eating the best Idaho potato in a fancy New York restaurant
  • how Reed decided in high school that he didn’t want to farm for a living
  • working for uncle Godfrey for a summer herding cattle to earn money for college tuition
  • reed working in the registrar’s offices of Ricks College
  • reed recruited by a Mr. Monson to help with the
  • institutes a by mile reimbursement program in the government
  • working at Utah state registrars office
  • working for the office of naval intelligence
  • while getting security clearance he found out his birth certificate was wrong
  • remembering some of the messages he sent and received in the naval intelligence right before pearl harbor
  • how the US civil service commission blessed their lives when looking for work
  • Working with Eleanor Roosevelt
  • transferring money from the US treasury

The interview you will hear is edited from its original format. Background noise has been suppressed and pauses in the conversation have been reduced taking the original recording from about 1hr 40 minutes to about 1 hour.


Great great uncle Reed Schwendiman recently passed away. The following is his obituary from Flamm Funeral Home

Reed Allen Schwendiman died Sunday, July 16, 2017 in Silverdale, Washington at the age of 102.

Reed Allen Schwendiman

Reed was born March 14, 1915 in Teton, Idaho to Rudolph and Clara Frances (Hodgson) Schwendiman. His family moved to Newdale, Idaho and he graduated from Sugar-Salem High School. After high school Reed attended Ricks College in Rexburg and eventually earned a Bachelors Degree from Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

Reed married Florence Venna Wilding in the LDS temple in Logan Utah on August 1, 1935, and the couple moved to Berkeley, California where he had been appointed to a position with a federal agency created by President Roosevelt to help farmers from the dust bowl resettle in California.

In 1941, Reed and Florence moved to Washington DC where, during the early part of World War II he worked for the Navy Department, Eleanor Roosevelt and the War Production Board. In 1943, he was drafted into the Navy and served in the “Sea Bees” naval construction battalion building an airfield on Okinawa.

Following World War II, Reed had a long career with the US Veterans Administration providing funds for veterans to attend college. After retiring from the VA, he served four years as Director of Purchasing for the State of Washington.

Reed loved gardening and spent countless happy and contented hours in his gardens in Bellevue, Washington. He was a devoted father and grandfather - so loved by his grandchildren that 3 of his 6 great-grandchildren bear his name.

His wife, Florence, died in 2010 at the age of 94, just three months short of their 75th wedding anniversary. He is survived by his brother, Melvin Schwendiman of Rexburg, Idaho, his son, Donald Schwendiman of Bend, Oregon, his daughter Frances Dishman of Lake Oswego, Oregon, 4 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

A graveside interment service will be held at the Teton-Newdale Cemetery on Friday, July 28, at 10:00 a.m. under the direction of Flamm Funeral Home.

Doing some searching online, I was able to find Reed in a 1934 Ricks College year book that had been digitized.

Reed in Ricks year book

You can find the original by checking out page 7. I’ve saved a local copy of the page as well.