The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Meet Your Neighbor

by Christy Kienast-The Quill

Meet your neighbor, Martin Lebeck of La Harpe.

Martin was born to Victor and Gertrude (Veff) Lebeck , a half mile north of Squirrel Ridge.

He was raised 4 miles west of the old Bedford Church on an 87 acre farm, which was kept in the family for 76 years.

His father, Victor was 100% Swedish and his mother was Irish and German. They married on June 10, 1930 and had their first child at the age of 32.

Victor died in an accident in 1969 and Gertrude passed away in 1981.

Martin is the youngest of four children. Two brothers are deceased and one sister lives in Sedalia, Missouri.

He attended Henderson Grade School for 8 years and in 1951 became a freshman at Terre Haute High School.

This was the first year for buses and a hot meal was 30¢, he remembers. He graduated in 1955 and attended college for one year in 1956 at Continental Ins and from 1957 and '58 at Conrad Hilton.

He was married in 1959 and later divorced in 1985. To this union three sons were born. Carl and his wife Cheryl live in What Cheer, Iowa; Wayne and his wife Stacy live in Dallas City, and Ray lives in La Harpe. Martin has 3 grandsons and 3 granddaughters.

Martin's parents bought a house in Terre Haute in 1965 where they lived their entire lives. Martin bought the house in the estate sale and sold it to his niece three years later. He lived in Biggsville for a short time, moving into La Harpe in 1992.

For 15 years, he worked at the La Harpe Elementary School, retiring on June 30, 2011. He then started to work for the La Harpe City Department this August.

Martin has also worked for Bob Cratsenberg, going from the sales barns back and forth to the store, and AJ Smith in Stronghurst cutting posts and building fences.

He also was a helping hand for Gary and Sherry Butler for 17 years.

Martin remembers his father letting him drink coffee at the age of three.

One of his favorite stories is from his mother. Gertrude left La Harpe at age 19 in 1919, from the bus stop that was in front of what is now the Country Cafˇ.

She took the bus to Shenandoah, Iowa to Henry Fields to work at the garden seed factory.

She worked there for 3 years, six days a week, ten hours a day and making a dime an hour. She paid $1 a day for room and board and meals.

Martin collects arrowheads and used to trap. He enjoys shopping and banking in La Harpe and Stronghurst. He likes to go up to Ayerco and drink his coffee.

He has always liked to call La Harpe home and believes the little town has boomed.

Martin jokes that he risked losing his Social Security a month ago when he went back in age.

A missprint in the Quill had him listed as Mason Squier, a youngster in town, when he was asked the Question of the Week!