Wednesday, December 31, 2008


(click on image to enlarge)

In 2003, Brendan Patrick Fecht, great, great grandson of Margaret (Bost) and Jacob Fecht, visited the land of our ancestors. He was invited to Europe by a friend who works for the new European Union. The capital of modern Europe is in the ancient city of Strasbourg Alsace, France. It was from Strasbourg that the emperor Charlemagne ruled. His sons established the modern nations of Europe.
Brendan had the wonderful opportunity to visit La Fecht. Here he stands on the bridge leading into the modern city of Colmar, within a short distance from the camp of Julius Caesar.
The great cathedral of Strasbourg, one of the most beautiful in Europe, was once a place of excited debates on religion. Aristocrats had some choice in their religious preferences, but peasants were alloted to Catholics and Lutherans, based on the choice of their "masters." A Lutheran theologian named Fecht, published a thesis at the cathedral of Strasbourg in the late 1500s.
There is a Rue de La Fecht in Strasbourg today. Brendan says that Alsace has incredible food!


River La Fecht near Colmar, France - 1968
Jerry fills a wine bottle with Fecht River water.

In the summer of 1968, my wife Janne accompanied me on my first trip to Europe. We traveled with another young couple Stan, and his then wife Roberta Cerveny. We spent three incredible months following the advice of a popular travel book entitled Europe on $5 a Day. Our frugal friend Stan kept us to the budget... to the lira. Because we were traveling behind "the Iron Curtain", I kept only a sparce journal in the hope that it might be overlooked should we be disrupted by communist border guards. Here's a small excerpt from a small journal.
"As we crossed the border (from Switzerland) into the Alsace of France, everything was dead-quiet. We soon realized that the day was Assumption Day and a legal holiday in Catholic France. (The Assumption celebrates the Virgin Mary's lifting into heaven.)
The Alsace was superbly beautiful, rolling hills filled with grape vines and flat lands with tobacco and wheat. When we arrived in Colmar, there was a great wine festival in progress and it looked like we would have little chance to find a place to stay. But, we tried a motel anyway (to no avail)
Just about the time we were to leave, I wrote my name on a piece of paper and asked (the clerk) if he knew where the rive was? He said "of course" and pointed north, and said about "three kilometers ist der Fay-scht".
(note: This was the first time that I knew that our family had not botched the pronunciation of Fecht. It was not Fekt as the Germans say it, but a soft French way of saying our name as :Fay-t)
I became very exited. He couldn't understand what so special about the little river. I explained that it was my name, and he too became excited.
We drove off the main road, and down a little road, and there was a sign "La Fecht". It was a little thing, about the size of the Nodaway River in Iowa.
Bert (Roberta Cerveny - in 2009 our family dentist) caught her finger in the door just as we were about to go down to the water, but it was more of a cut than crushed was ok after a brief time. We posed for pictures and filled a wine bottle with water. We saw a bunny in a filed and looked for four-leaf clovers."
Long before that driving adventure in Europe, I discovered the name Fecht in my high school Latin book. I was reading Caesar's Gallic Chronicles at the time. Julius Caesar had ordered his men to build a camp near the source of the clear waters of the Fecht. Roman artifacts are still found in the fields of the Alsace to this day.
My father Bill Fecht was a splendid story teller. He loved to relate adventures of our ancestors who lived at the edge of a deep dark forest. He once told me that our "landsmen" had captured Caesar himself and taken him off into the deep woods. Many years later, I read an account in Plutarch's Lives, how Julius Caesar had indeed been captured by Helvetian Germans and taken into the forests at the based of the great Vosges Mountains. The Fecht River's source is high in the Vosges. Today a small cheese-making town called Munster graces the Fecht. I had a heck of an adventure looking for Fecht graves there, that I will save for another day. There is a recently discovered Solar Temple above Munster.
Caesar was disarmed by the Helvetii-Germans, a huge disgrace since Roman weapons were blessed and dedicated to their Gods. His soldiers finally rescued the famous despot, but his "gladdus" or short sword had been taken into the Vosges to a temple of the Sun God.
An old Alsatian story has it that Caesar's short sword is still kept by guardians in that part of Europe. The German word for a short sword is Fecht. Fecht schools in Germany or places where students learn to fence.

The Cervenys and Jerry approach the Fecht River in Alsace, France.
Gerald Fecht stands beside the sign La Fecht.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Faun Statue in the Gardens of the Tarzana Community Center 2008 - Photo by Gerald Fecht for the Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley (click on image to enlarge)

Just a small holiday note from the family of Janne and Jerry Fecht. It's chilly and rainy here, just about as much winter as we ever have. However, the rains have brought snow to the San Gabriel and Verdugo Mountains - just in time for a backdrop to the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day. (god's Trojans are playing Penn State - ought to one heck of a football game!)
Folks for other parts of our country have a hard time seeing winter, when they come for a visit. But, we see it. Our sister Genevieve sends her Canadian geese to us to hang out until spring. Great wedges of them cross the Valley every morning and evening now. Our noisy parrots have taken off to Baja California and will make it home in time for summer.
And, we are having the second rain in as many weeks - Rain is exciting to us because we haven't had any for about 10 months.
The city is quieter than usual, and poorer. Unemployment is really bad here now, and our Governor has drastically cut the State's budget. Lots and lots of families have lost their homes - we see "owned by bank" signs everywhere.
However, there is a optimism that 2009 will bring a renewed pride in our country and the restoration of prosperity.
As Tiny Tim, said during tougher times, "God Bless Us All!"

Friday, December 19, 2008


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(left to right)
Robert Rebbe, Chris Louis Fecht and Mary Jo Rebbe
Both Bobby Rebbe and Chris Fecht are deceased. This snapshot was provided for our family photo blog by Chris' son Christopher Sean Fecht
Bob Rebbe was the son of Genevieve and Owen Rebbe.
Chris L. Fecht was the son of Janet (Lawrence) and Robert W. Fecht
They are members of William T. and Mildred Fecht's family.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Shilo and Jamie Fecht are the twin daughters of Kim and Ronald Fecht. They are the g-g-g-great granddaughters of Margaret (Bost) and Jacob Fecht. This photograph was taken in 2006 at the time of their home schooling graduation. They are now 20 years of age.
Shilo Fecht (left), maternal grandmother Pam, grandmother Janet (former wife of Robert W. Fecht) and Jaime Fecht.


Nancy C. Fecht

Our kinswoman by marriage, Nancy C. Fecht died on November 15th, 2008 at her home in Cullom, Illinois. She was 69 years old. Nancy was the wife of Wayne Joseph Fecht, the great grandson of Margaret 9Bost) and Jacob Fecht. Wayne is a member of the family of John Christopher Fecht.

Nancy was a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Her funeral service was held at St. John's Catholic Church, Cullom. Her internment was at St. John's Cemetery in that same location.

Nancy was born Dec. 20, 1938, in Pontiac, Illinois. She was the daughter of Raymond T. and Marie Ommen Magee. She graduated from Cullom High School in 1956. Nancy married Wayne Fecht on January 31, 1959, at St. John's Catholic Church in Cullom. He survives.

Also surviving are four daughters, Penny (Randy) Scarpiniti of Lombard, Beth (Chris) King of Cullom, Patty Boomgarden of Gridley, and Amy Fecht of Cullom; one son, Joe (Sandy) Fecht of Ashkum; 10 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; three sisters, Kate Hamilton of Cullom, Jeanette (Everett) Thorndyke of Piper City, and June Redenius of Fayette, Missouri.; one brother, Roger Magee of Washington; and several nieces and nephews.

Nancy Fecht was preceded in death by one brother, Harry Magee and two brother-in-laws, Neal Hamilton and DeVere Redenius. She was a secretary for the Cullom Co-op for several years. She then worked for the Charlotte Farmers Co-op until her retirement. Nancy was an avid reader. She loved to crochet and to do needle-point.