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Lake County Past: May 28

Pfc. William Dennis Hanssen. News-Chronicle archives

May 23, 1968

War now home to Lake County

The struggle in Vietnam came into full focus in Lake County this week with two deaths: those of Pfc. William Dennis Hanssen, 25, a grandson of county residents, and Lt. Steven Glenn Abbott, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Abbott, who reside on the Stanley Road north of Two Harbors.

Both were reported killed in action in South Vietnam. They were the first fatalities of the war directly connected with Lake County, though several from the county had been reported wounded.

Funeral services for both were pending in Two Harbors and in both cases military rites were indicated. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Lt. Abbott was born April 17, 1946 in Creston Iowa and was graduated from Two Harbors High School and confirmed in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church here.

Besides his parents he is survived by two brothers, Dennis of Sioux City, Iowa, and Larry of St. Paul; and a sister, Sherrie, at home; his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Ned Reed of Cumberland, Wis., and his paternal grandmother, Mrs. Mama Abbott of Afton, Iowa.

Pfc. Hanssen is the son of the late Bert Hanssen, who died in Lake View Memorial Hospital as the result of an auto accident near the Stewart River a few years ago. He was a native of Duluth and was graduated Central High School there in the class of 1960.

Like his late father, he a was a musician and had sung with "The Accidentals" orchestra in Two Harbors on a dance engagement less than six weeks ago. He had been in Vietnam only three weeks before his death.

Mr. Hanssen is survived by two daughters, Wendy, 3, and Debby, 4, of Crystal, Minn.; a brother, Richard, and a sister, Patti, both of Duluth; his paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Bjorne K. Hanssen, and his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Victor R. Starlof, all of Two Harbors.

No details of their deaths had been released this week by the Department of Defense.

May 30, 1968

Local man reported lost in war

Lt. Michael A. Smoger of Lake County was reported by local officials of the Red Cross to have been killed in action in Vietnam. The telegram was received here Tuesday and no details were available.

He is the son of Capt. and Mrs. Arthur F. Smoger and his wife, Kathy, child, and his parents live on the West Star Route of Two Harbors.

A short time ago, he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge mark of distinction for the fighting soldier. The award was presented at Viem Tay, Vietnam.

His father is skipper of a Great Lakes vessel.

Lt. Smoger entered active service in December 1965, completed basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., and was stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C., prior to his transfer to Vietnam.