Vira J Schmierer (1924 - 2001)



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Bowdle, Edmunds County, South Dakota

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1924 - In the year that Vira J Schmierer was born, on January 21st, Vladimir Lenin, a leader of the Russian Revolution and the first leader of the Soviet Union died. He had survived two assassination attempts but had subsequent physical problems, suffering 3 strokes. He was in such great pain, it is said that he asked Stalin to poison him. The circumstances of his death are still disputed. He did oppose Stalin as the next leader - nonetheless, Stalin won a power struggle and ruled as a Soviet dictator until his death in 1953.

1940 - This person was 16 years old when on November 5th, President Franklin Roosevelt was elected to a third term, defeating Wendell Willkie of Indiana (a corporate lawyer). Roosevelt running for a third term was controversial. But the U.S. was emerging from the Great Recession and he promised that he would not involve the country in any foreign war (which of course changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor). Roosevelt defeated Willkie in the popular vote by 54.7 to 44.8% and in the Electoral College 449 to 82.

1957 - This person was 33 years old when on October 4th, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first man made earth-orbiting satellite - and triggered the Space Race. Sputnik I was only 23 inches in diameter and had no tracking equipment, only 4 antennas, but it had a big impact.

1976 - When this person was 52 years old, on August 4th, a mysterious illness struck an American Legion convention in Philadelphia. Within a week, 25 people had died and 130 people had been hospitalized. It was the first known instance of what came to be called "Legionnaires Disease."

1978 - When this person was 54 years old, on November 18th, Jim Jones's Peoples Temple followers committed mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana - where they had moved, from San Francisco, as a group. Jones was the leader of the cult and ordered his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch, which they did. Whole families (women and children included) died - more than 900 people in all.

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Vira J Schmierer passed away on November 22, 2001 at 77 years of age. No cause of death has been entered. Vira was born on June 10, 1924. There is no information about Vira's immediate family. We know that Vira J Schmierer had been residing in Bowdle, Edmunds County, South Dakota.


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