We didn’t know what to expect when we started.

We just knew Ames people had interesting stories that we needed to capture before they vanished forever.

The Ames Historical Society’s oral history project was launched in 2010 by Rollie and Willie Struss and a grant from Wells Fargo Bank. It has been carried on by Teresa Larson, greatly aided by a donation from the Becker Family Foundation.

Little did we know just how amazing these shared stories would be.

Retired ISU professor Harry Weiss fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II with the storied 100th Infantry Division, and like the movie’s Private Ryan, was sent home when he became the sole surviving son in his family.

Liese Jacobson escaped Hitler’s Germany at age 11 when she, with her brother and mother, crossed the border as if they were “going for a walk and didn’t realize where they were” — thereby surviving with just the clothes on their backs.

Canadian Joy Munn came to Iowa State in 1950. One of her most charming instructors was sculptor Christian Petersen.

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