In Memoriam

I’ve received word of the passing of two more seagoing cowboys and share memories of another:

Julius H. Hornberger left this world February 8, 2015, just two-and-a-half months shy of his 100th birthday. Julius was on the SS Rock Springs Victory when it made its delivery of Heifer Project cattle to Ethiopia in the spring of 1947. We’ll hear more about this crew on Easter Sunday. Here is Julius exploring Djibouti, where the ship docked. Rest in peace, Julius.


Julius Hornberger in Djibouti, 1947

Julius Hornberger stands to the right of the camel in this photo taken in Djibouti, Africa, spring 1947. Photo by Howard Lord

Donald L. Klippenstein passed away February 18, 2015, at age 90. Don was part of the SS Clarksville Victory crew that delivered horses to Poland in December 1945. His crew had a number of reunions through the years. I was fortunate to join them at Camp Mack in 2005 and hear their stories first-hand. Being on one of the first UNRRA livestock deliveries to Poland after World War II, this crew saw some war atrocity remnants that later crews weren’t able to see. Watch for future posts about this Clarksville Victory trip. Don is the one standing on the right in the picture below. Rest in peace, Don.

Don Klippenstein at Clarksville Victory reunion, 2005

Don Klippenstein, top right, met with some of his Clarksville Victory crewmates at their 2005 reunion. Photo courtesy of J. Olin Yoder


This year’s frigid temperatures have reminded me that it’s been a year now since we lost seagoing cowboy Cletus Schrock on February 3, 2014, in a very cold and snowy week in northern Indiana. But I have warm memories of my interview with Cletus at his son’s house several years ago and the lovely meal my husband and I had with that part of his family. Cletus was an Amish farmer at the time of his trip to Poland aboard the SS Carroll Victory and has an interesting story that I will relate in a future post. Rest in peace, Cletus.

Cletus Schrock and some of his Carroll Victory crewmates, spring 1946

Cletus Schrock poses third from the right with some of his crewmates on the Carroll Victory, spring 1946, en route to Poland. Photo courtesy of Cletus Schrock

Peggy Reiff Miller interviews Cletus Schrock

Cletus shares his seagoing cowboy experience with Peggy Reiff Miller. Photo by Rex Miller

4 thoughts on “In Memoriam

  1. Thank you, Peggy, for keeping us posted on the history of the Seagoing Cowboys.  Our present world has many refugees and people who live in dire conditions and need help from others; also, there are many agencies/people that offer help through organizations like Heifer international, MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Association), MCC, World Hope, Samaritan’s Purse, etc. May Our Heavenly Father continue to prompt us to meet the needs around us.  Arlene Voorhis


  2. Hello Peggy–

    Thank you so much for keeping the Cowboys’ stories alive for everyone! I’ll let my dad (Howard Lord) know about Julius Hornberger’s passing–he and Dad kept in close touch throughout the years.

    I recognized Dad’s hand in the caption on the photo, but I haven’t seen this photo in our collection. Would it be possible to get a copy of the photo? I’d like to add it to a presentation that Dad gives to about the Rock Springs Victory.

    We also found a CD of a 2006 StoryCorps interview featuring Bill Applegate, Howard Lord, Richard Reiste, and John Brockschink sharing about Heifer and their cowboy experiences. If you’d be interested, I’d be happy to share it with you.

    I hope you are well and pleasantly busy. Keep up the great work!

    Laura Oliver


    • Hello, Laura! Great to hear from you. Yes, I’ll be happy to email you a copy of the photo. It was in your dad’s batch of pictures that I scanned when I interviewed him. Your dad has already sent me a copy of the StoryCorps CD, plus an extra copy for Heifer International that I will take with me when I go down there in March. “Pleasantly busy” — I love that way of putting it, and yes, I am. Hope you all are well, too. It was great having your family at the Beyond Hunger Northern Indiana event in September.


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