Honoree: Ethel Ortenburger
Sponsor: Mark Ortenburger
Ethel Ortenburger, mother of Minneapolis Commodore Mark Ortenburger, always had a song in her heart. She had a particular affinity for any song with a singable melody that stirred the senses. Her musical tastes, while quite broad, were focused on three particular favorites; Folk Music, Broadway, and her beloved Christmas songs. She never forgot the lyrics to any song she knew (alas a skill I didn’t acquire) and always felt free to provide a correction or fill-in when ones memory “misremembered” a key word or phrase. Ultimately, she knew that love and understanding spoke through music.
The earlier Folk Music years (the Kingston Trio, the Weavers, Limelighters, Joan Baez, Pete Seegar, etc.) that she (and my dad as well) cherished became an important part of our early musical heritage. Broadway music (The Music Man, My Fair, Lady, South Pacific, Carousel, and many more), crept into our consciousness as well. Her particular favorite was Brigadoon since it evoked a sense that hope, love, and a little magic could work miracles.
Some of our fondest musical memories came from the 20+ years she flew north (from a much warmer New Mexico) to Minnesota over the Christmas Holiday. We always went to whatever show was playing at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. Needless to say, lots of Christmas carols completed the season.
Everyone in attendance at her memorial service sang the following song to her since it seemed to embody two of her great passions–music and her love for her horses:
Happy trails to you, until we meet again
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather
Happy trails to you
‘Til we meet again