Alumni Spotlight: Irma Lamprecht

“The Graduation Party I Never Had”: Irma Harder Lamprecht, Class of 1944

Written by Lynn Lamprecht

Sections contributed by Ann Huddleston

On the evening of June 8th, at the Elkhorn Legion Club, Irma Harder Lamprecht was honored as the oldest living alumnus of Elkhorn High School and the last surviving member of the Elkhorn graduating class of 1944. 

A group of alumni puts together an Alumni Banquet each year honoring Elkhorn High School alumni. This year honored classes in attendance were from graduating years of 1944, 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969 and 1974.

Irma was born at her farm home located just north of 180th and Dodge on December 10, 1926, to Amanda and Max Harder. Irma was their only child.  

Irma attended District 48 Country School which was located 1 ½ miles south of their home on the corner of 180th and Pacific. From the age of five until graduating 8th grade, she walked to and from the country school.  When she was five years old, Dodge Street was under construction. A road worker would meet her every day, before and after school, to carry her across the street safely.

Irma attended Elkhorn High School when she was in 9th grade. In those days, they called daily attendance. She thought it was quite funny when the teacher called daily roll call, they first called Irma’s name and then the name of the next person in the alphabet who was Betty Hell, so it was Harder and Hell together every day.   Also, during winter months, Irma would stay at a family home in Elkhorn and return home on the weekends.

Irma graduated in 1944 with 25 individuals in her class, 13 boys and 12 girls. They did not have a formal graduation because of the war but instead each graduate got their picture taken with cap and gown. Twelve of the boys in her class were drafted into WWII and they left for war shortly after graduation. Happily, all 12 returned to Elkhorn safely when the war was over.

Irma attended one year of business school in Omaha and then worked for Union Pacific Railroad for three years. Her job was to track the car numbers on each train car and their location throughout the U.S.  

Irma married John Lamprecht in March 1947 and lived for two years on a farm located near Waterloo, NE. Later, the family moved to a farm near Gretna, NE where they raised five children.  It was a dairy farm where the cows were milked twice a day. She raised chickens and collected and sold the eggs. She performed all the routine daily activities as a farm wife but was also a leader of a 4-H club, participated in church circle, and other community activities. 

John and Irma moved off the farm in 1983, as the farm was sold to Tim and Jan Vala, who turned the farm into Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. Interestingly, their family home is still standing. Visitors to Vala’s might have already toured the home, remodeled into what is now known as the Vala’s Pumpkin Patch Haunted Farmhouse!

After John passed away in 1995, Irma stayed on their acreage just north of Gretna for several years but later moved to Fremont where she currently lives in an assisted living facility.  

Along with her five children, Irma has 13 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren.  Family members love Irma for who she is but say her greatest asset is her ability to not pass judgment on anyone but rather accept everyone for who they are!  

When Irma was asked about being honored as the oldest Elkhorn alumnus, her response was “When I graduated, World War II was happening, and there was always the thought in the back of my mind of war.  The boys were drafted right away.  People did not think of the celebrations, as it was a serious time. The alumni banquet was the graduation party I never had.”