Saturday Mourning

Gladys Jentz

Gladys Mary Jentz was the seventh of ten children of John Jentz and Caroline Reisig. Gladys was born in Fennimore, Grant County, Wisconsin, on 21 January 1904. Her baptism and birth are recorded at St. Peter’s Church. Gladys was the younger sister of Anna K. Jentz (known as Lula) who was the mother of Sara Elliott Witzel.

Gladys Mary Jentz

Sara kept this portrait of Gladys hanging on her wall even though Gladys died before Sara was born.

In November of 1920, Gladys made the trip from Platteville, WI to Dubuque, IA with her older sister, Ethel Jentz Thompson, her brother-in-law Warren Thompson, and her sister Roxy Jentz. On the return trip, Mr. Thompson made the fatal error of driving in front of an oncoming train while crossing a double railroad track. Gladys was thrown from the car and died from head trauma within minutes of the crash. The other 3 occupants were hospitalized, Mr Thompson with a fractured skull, and Roxy Jentz with a wound to her scalp. Ethel Thompson escaped with a broken collar bone.

Front Page of The Telegraph Herald, Dubuque, IA, Wednesday 17 November 1920

The newspaper noted that Mr. Thompson insisted that the ladies be treated first even though his own injuries were much more severe. It was reported that he had 20 stitches put in his head with no anesthesia due to his low blood pressure. It was also reported that Roxy Jentz was hysterical until she got to her hospital room – she was just 18 years old. Ethel Thompson was reported as stating that Gladys had not wished to go on the trip initially, but was convinced by Ethel to go.

Front Page of The Telegraph Herald, Dubuque, IA, Wednesday 17 November 1920

John and Caroline Jentz were on a train to Dubuque within hours of the accident, the news having traveled quickly. Gladys’ body was accompanied back to Platteville by her parents, her brother, and Warren Thompson’s father two days after the accident. Gladys was buried on 19 November 1920 at 15 years of age in Greenwood Cemetery.

Burial Record from Peace Church, Platteville, WI


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