|PETER COLEBANK, father of
JAMES COALBANK, father of
JAMES D COLEBANK:, father of
L S COLEBANK, father of
JOHN COLEBANK, father of
LAURENCE STANLEY COLEBANK
Laurence Stanley Colebank was born
June 16, 1916 to parents John M and
Clara Nasman Colebank in Riverdale
Township 7 miles west of Madelia,
Minnesota. Laurence grew up on his
parents dairy, crop and livestock farm in
Woodside Township in Polk County, 9
miles from Mentor in northern
Minnesota. He attended rural District 87
Hillside grade school. In his 9th and
10th grades Laurence went to high
school in Fertile, Minnesota. In his 11th
year he lived with his uncle Ray Roof at
Garden City, Minnesota, then returned to
Fertile for his 12th year and graduation.
Laurence joined the Army in November,
1940. His recruit training was at Fort
Brady, Michigan, his military police
training at Camp Grant in Rockford,
Illinois, and his Army Air Force training at
Mobile, Alabama. He was then sent to
New Zealand, Australia and the
Philippines. He was discharged as a
corporal in 1945 after nearly 5 years of service.
Laurence met Edna Linze while stationed at Rockford, Illinois. He met her at an
old time dance while on MP duty. Edna was born January 29, 1917 in Pinckney-
ville, Illinois to Emma Linze. They kept in touch and when Laurence returned from
the Army, Edna came to Woodside to join him. They were married in the Lutheran
parsonage at Maple Bay, Minnesota (a community near Mentor on Maple Lake).
Their attendants were Laurence's brother John and sister Ann Colebank.
Their first home was in Jamestown, North Dakota where Laurence took
telegrapher-agent training sponsored by the Northern Pacific Railroad. He worked
as a relief agent until he got his own station at Cannonball, North Dakota in 1946.
His next station was in Beulah, North Dakota in 1947. In 1951 he was assigned to
the station at Burt, North Dakota. Edna became ill with cancer of the liver on
Easter Sunday in 1952. She died the following August 13th in the hospital in
Bismarck, North Dakota. She was buried in Pinckneyville, Illinois, the town where
she was born.
Marlene and Larry were 5 and 3 when their mom died and Esther Ruff came to
care for them and keep house for Laurence. A romance developed and Laurence
and Esther were married December 5, 1952 in the rural Ebenezer Baptist Church
near Burt and Leipzig, North Dakota. Esther was born June 17, 1933 to Christ and
Mathilda Kallis Ruff in Hettinger County near Burt, North Dakota. Esther attended
the rural grade school near Burt from which she graduated in 1951.
Laurence and Esther lived in Burt until 1955 when they bought a home in
Goodrich, North Dakota. All 4 children got their schooling in Goodrich where
Marlene and Larry graduated from high school. (Warren Colebank remembers
visiting the family in 1964 and being impressed at what a good mother Esther
was to her step children as well as her own.) Burton was a sophomore and
Phyllis a 4th grader when they were killed in a tragic accident near Finley, North
Dakota on August 31, 1969. The family car was struck from the side by an auto
that had gone through a stop sign.
Esther worked part time in the hardware store in Goodrich and later as a grocery
store clerk. In 1973 they moved to Mandan, North Dakota where Laurence worked
until retirement. Esther worked at Melroe Equipment for 5 years and then took up
part-time custom house cleaning.
Laurence served as city auditor and was Mayor of Goodrich for 13 years, American
Legion Commander one year and secretary of the fire department one year.
Esther was president of the American Legion Auxiliary and belonged to the
Esther was raised a Baptist and Laurence a Lutheran. At Goodrich the family
attended the United Methodist Church where Laurence and Esther were
members. Esther maintained her membership at the Bismarck Methodist Church
where she served in many positions on the church council.
The above information was copied from "From Whence Came the Colebanks"
by Warren Colebank, copyright 1989, p.204.
The following information was copied from page 334 of "William Cunningham -
Pioneer, Patriarch, Preacher" by June Colebank Blanshan, Laurence's cousin.
Laurence was one of our family historians because he could remember a lot of
things from the past. We regretted his passing on June 15, 1999, one day before
his 83rd birthday.
He collected antique radios and telephones and sold them at flea markets. He
traveled to Oronoco, Minnesota every year for the flea market there. Some of the
relatives would try to go over there and see him. Ham radio was another one of
Here is an excerpt from a letter he wrote in our Round Robin letter in which he
relates some of his experiences as a young fellow. It was written February 29,
"I quit the CCC in April of '35 when Maynard was so sick. I couldn't believe it but Pa
let me take the car and take Ma and Aunt Linda to Crookston as we were to give
blood to him. He had turned to the better so we were never called to give blood.
(Maynard had a mastoid infection and peritonitis. His parents both gave
blood to him in direct transfusions. He was in the hospital for about a month.
Maynard's sister Ann Colebank Hagen remembers her mom having all the kids
kneel as she prayed for his recovery.)
In 1936 at age 19 I went to Fingal, North Dakota to work for a farmer at $10 per
month, with 14 cows to milk alone because the boss was on jury duty in Fargo.
Barns to clean and a bunch of horses to curry. On pay day I was given a $5 bill. He
couldn't give me all of the $10 so I said "Lincoln abolished slavery in 1860" and I
packed my suitcase and walked about 2 miles, flagged a train down and got on it.
It was a Northern Pacific. To this date I haven't got that $5 either. I see in the Fargo
paper that farmer had a birthday. I sent him a card but got no thank you.
It seemed that I was always alone. Went to Detroit 3 times, then joined the Army.
Came home and Pa said 'you'll be a bum all right." After I got out of the Army Pa
bragged that I went in early because I saw what was coming.
I had Clarence Sexton (a cousin) with me from Camp Grant to the Philippine
Islands. He was in a different outfit. Oh, I got homesick in all these places, even at
Roofs, the CCC and at Fertile School. The best perk-me-up was having a 4-day
visit with Maynard in Brisbane, Australia. Henry Gredvig and Arnold Berg visited a
Thinking back to my first day of school at Hillside #87-- getting out of the eighth
grade and getting hauled to Fertile and dumped off in a room with no radio or any
means of fun. Not a dime to my name for four years. Once in a while I'd have Ma
give me an extra dozen of eggs and I'll sell them to Eides, then I'd have 10 cents
spending money. But I didn't do it very often.
Once Pa hauled me in the Ford truck to Little Norway and I had to walk the rest of
the way -- every Sunday I had to get back to school in Fertile. In a gunny sack I'd
have enough potatoes, eggs, corn flakes and a gallon of milk, sometimes maybe
a chocolate cake and that's what I ate. Fried eggs and potatoes for dinner and
supper, and the corn flakes for breakfast. The milk was kept in a window and in
fall and spring by Thursday the milk was starting to get sour. My best year of high
school was at the Roofs in Garden City when I was a junior.Got better marks as a
result of it too. That's when I first learned to study and take an interest in school.
Then my senior year I was back to Fertile to the same routine I had had the first
two years. One month after graduation I was in the CCCs at Fort Snelling with
wool pants and dungarees along with 10 other guys from Fertile."
Laurence retired after 30 years with the Burlington Northern Railroad. Laurence
died on June 15, 1999 in Bismarck and is buried in the North Dakota Veteran's
Cemetery at Mandan.
The children of Laurence and Edna were:
Donna Marlene Colebank -- born December 4, 1946 in Jamestown, North Dakota.
Donna married Dean Brown in the First Methodist Church in Bismarck, North
Dakota. Dean and Marlene live near Baldwin, North Dakota.
Larry Dennis Colebank - born May 4, 1949 in Beulah, North Dakota. He married
Beatriz (Beth) Landingin on January 30, 1976 in Mandan, North Dakota. Larry is
career Navy and he and Beth have lived in many places both in the U. S. and
The children of Laurence and Esther were:
Burton Dean Colebank -- born August 24, 1954 in Elgin, North Dakota. Burton was
killed in a tragic car accident in September, 1969 near Finley, North Dakota.
Phyllis Dawn Colebank -- born February 4, 1959 in Turtle Lake, North Dakota.
Phyllis was killed in the same car accident as her brother Burton.
Laurence (R), 22 months, and brother
Maynard, 7 months on March 30, 1918
|The house where Laurence was born in Section
24 of Riverdale Township, Watonwan County,
Minnesota. It was known as the Kinsella House.
|Laurence and his 4-H calf
|Laurence with Army buddies
M. Edgington of St. Paul and M.
C. Lind of Duluth
Laurence and Edna's wedding portrait
|Colebank / Linze nuptials
article (click to enlarge)
|Laurence and Edna at
sister Ann's wedding on
June 26, 1946.
|L to R: Esther, Larry, Marlene and Laurence about 1952
|Burton Dean Colebank
|Phyllis Dawn Colebank
death (click to
|Laurence and Esther in December,
|Esther and Laurence on October
|Laurence and Esther on their annual trek to
the giant Oronoco, Minnesota flea market