Published On: Wed, Jul 27th, 2011

Fair draws former resident back

John Levorson, who now lives in California, returned to Hartington this month to attend the annual Cedar County Fair.

HARTINGTON —  John Levorson hasn’t lived in Hartington for over 50 years, but he still feels connected to the area.
He has been back to Hartington to visit a few times and he reads the Cedar County News every week.
“I still like to keep up with the news here,” Levorson said.
Levorson’s family moved to Hartington when he was just two years old.
His father, Pastor O.L. Levorson, and his wife, Agnes, had been called to Trinity Lutheran Church in 1940.
They ended up staying at the church in Hartington for 21 years.

“It was a wonderful place to grow up,” Levorson said. “Back then the church couldn’t afford to pay a large salary, but the people were so good.”
Levorson still remembers the farewell party held at Felber Park for his parents right before they left in 1961.
“The church gave them a new car — a Ford Falcon — when they left Hartington,” Levorson said.
Levorson has happy memories of growing up in Hartington and the school he attended.
Levorson, who graduated in 1956, played football and was out for track at Hartington Public School.
The mile relay team Levorson was on was recognized as one of the better relay teams in the state and received some awards.
Levorson remembers his hometown as a place where “everyone knew everyone.”
Over the years, a lot of visitors, which included church members as well as other Hartington residents, stopped in at his mother’s kitchen for a cup of coffee and a chat.
“We had a lot of callers at our house. The cookie jar was always full,” Levorson said.
His family became good friends with the neighbors who lived across the street from the church – the Uhings, the Scovilles and Hartington High School Supt. Chet Carkoski and his family.
“Our family did a lot of things with the Carkoskis.”
According to Levorson, his dad liked to go to the stock car races and he would take him along.
“It was really fun,” Levorson said. “The drivers were local guys. Back then they would borrow the football helmets from the school to wear when they were racing. I remember Jack Samelson’s car – the Blue Lady.”
Levorson’s dad was an avid hunter and taught him how to hunt pheasants.
“We would go hunting in our 1942 Studebaker. We listened to the Cornhuskers play football while we were hunting,” Levorson said. “We had a little dog, Shep, who would go along. She was little but she could go after those pheasants.”
Levorson loved hunting and he loved living in Nebraska during the fall.
“The fall weather was wonderful. We would have ‘Indian summers’ when it wasn’t too hot or too cold,” he said.
After graduating from high school, Levorson attended Luther College at Decorah, Iowa, and then entered the Army.
When he came home from the service he went to a Mortuary Science College in Chicago.
After working for the same company in LaMesa, Calif., for 45 years he has now retired.
“Even though I am retired, they still call me to help out. I do grief therapy with people, which is something I like to do,” Levorson said.
Levorson lives in the San Diego area and has family close by – a son is a two-hour drive away and his daughter lives one mile from his home.
He has two grandchildren who are in college.
Levorson lost his wife after she had a stroke.
Levorson enjoyed visiting with some old friends from Trinity Lutheran Church during the week he stayed in Hartington. He also stopped at the Senior Citizen Center and took in the Cedar County Fair.

Levorson’s brother, Dave, happened to be in Hartington over the weekend to take in the Invitational Golf Tournament.
“Dave was born and raised here and he also came back and taught at the school here for a few years,” Levorson said. “He comes back almost every year for the Golf Tournament.”
Levorson was headed to Crete after Fair to visit his brother Dave. His sister, Ann, who is in the process of moving to Atlanta, was also expected to be there for a few days.

Levorson will soon be back at his home in California where he has found something that makes him think about the small town in Nebraska where he grew up.
He attends Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church which is a little smaller than a lot of the other churches in the area.
“I love the church I belong to now. The people are good and we all know one another,” Levorson said. “It is surprising how many of them are from the Midwest.”
It reminds me a little of Trinity Lutheran Church here in Hartington he said.