My 1945 Michigan Train Crash Story by Idella Singer, Fort Benton, MT

What a memory!  I have always wondered if we would come across other survivors.  I'd love to attend the memorial in July.  It would be a long shot for me.  I'm not young.  I'll be 90 on July 31st.  Staff Sergeant Elwood J. Lien, who perished in the wreck, was my brother. There were five boys and one girl in the Lien family.  All six of us served in the military (Army or Navy). My brother Merle and I are the only two still living.

I was in the military at the time of the train wreck.   In 1944, I had finally finished nurses training in Great Falls, MT. I got accepted to the Army Nurse Corp. in May 1945. I was home on leave for a few days in July 1945.  I'm not sure why I had a break so early in my career.  I had just gotten back to my base when the news about the wreck came to me.  So, therefore I just turned around to go home again to attend my brother Elwood's funeral. 

Our younger brother, Duane, was in the Navy at the time and he had a problem getting home.  I don't know if he had asked for Red Cross assistance or not, but I think he hitch hiked part of the way home.  The sad result of that was he was walking up the street in Scobey, MT just minutes after the funeral was over. He had missed it.  Duane died in 1991 due to melanoma.  He left a wife and three children behind in Idaho.

Another brother, Ben, passed away in 1996 from complications of a brain aneurysm.

Delbert, the youngest of the family, passed away in the 70's. 

Brother Merle was a Lieutenant.  He was stationed in Germany.  He and Delbert were still in high school at the time of the wreck.

Merle lives in British Columbia in the winters and the US in the summers.  He has been undergoing cancer treatments for the past two years.

Idella Singer
Fort Benton, MT
Age 89