Families gather at Douglas church

Over 50 members of the Witten-Mittelstaedt families and friends gather for worship at St. Paul’s Church in Douglas. (Empire Press photo/Suzanne Robinson)


By Suzanne Robinson
Empire Press Correspondent

Pastor James Robinson takes the offering with the original offering basket. (Empire Press photo/Suzanne Robinson)

Over 50 members of the Witten and Mittelstaedt families gathered at the Douglas Lutheran Church May 13 for a time of worship, sharing and potluck lunch. The two families have been a part of the Douglas County wheat farming community for generations and are interconnected through marriage.

Many of the family members have strong ties to the Douglas church, which makes it a perfect place for the reunion. The worship service was led by Pastor James Robinson of Waterville and included communion assisted by Miles Mittelstaedt, a Waterville High School student.

The church was dedicated in 1915 as St. Paul?s Lutheran Church and served the Douglas community for some 53 years.

Kelsey Nunn, Audrey Multer, Eva Williams and Marie Nunn all got together to make this reunion happen. It seemed to these ladies that there should be a better reason to get together rather than just for funerals.

Minna Mittelstaedt played the antique pump organ for the service and also shared how much she enjoys being a part of the family and thanked another family member for introducing her to Arlen Mittelstaedt, her husband of many years.

Bob and Marcia Lortie at the reunion event. Marcia is a decedent of the Witten family. (Empire Press photo/Suzanne Robinson)

Bob Lortie of East Wenatchee, who married into the family, shared how his life was saved last year. As he was driving his truck across the Odabashian Bridge, a blood clot went to his heart causing him to go into cardiac arrest. A trucker from Billings, Mont., was crossing the bridge at the same time and was able to stop the truck Lortie was driving and pull him out of the rig. Then he administered CPR. About four other people also stopped to help.

Lortie said he was very thankful to be able to attend this reunion and will always be thankful for the help and kindness shown to him. David Webb,?the driver from Billings,?was honored by the Wenatchee Police Department for his role in saving a life and for getting the rig under control to prevent any other tragedies.

An offering was taken with the original offering basket used during the early years at the Douglas church.

The reunion continued throughout the day with many hugs and promises to get together again soon.


Audrey Multer and Kelsey Nunn help serve food at the reunion potluck. (Empire Press photo/Suzanne Robinson)