3-19

The Descendants of Charles Daniel Bohnstedt
in Oklahoma and Iowa


by Thomas Allen Bohnstedt, California USA
     (the text of this page is my intellectual property. Please do not copy and repost without my written permission)

      



Dewayne Bohnstedt, 1956, Omaha Nebraska.  This is believed to be Dewayne Bohnstedt's first race car

I wish to mention a couple of things before we begin.  First I want to thank everybody who put up with my constant questioning about the family, and about racing; including (but not necessarily limited to): Wilma (Gritz) Bohnstedt and husband Rick Bohnstedt, Debbie (Bohnstedt) Gaither, Lori (Kerr) Bohnstedt and Dewayne Alan Bohnstedt, Randy Bohnstedt, James Bohnstedt, David Bohnstedt, Hannah Bohnstedt, Lorraine Goettsch, Katie (Meek) Willis, and Susan (Pauly) Bohnstedt and husband Dwight Bohnstedt.  Second, thanks very much to Wilma Bohnstedt for sharing her huge family photo archive with me.  Most of the pictures which appear in this page I got from her.

I also want to explain why I used the above photo to introduce this section, because it might seem unusual to some. I did so because, although Dewayne's parents, Obaed Daniel Bohnstedt and Edna Idessa (Hobbs) were the Bohnstedt ancestors of this large family group, so much of this story revolves around their son, Obaed Dewayne Bohnstedt, and his love of racing from an early age, and the way it permeated his entire family and the families of his brothers and shaped their lives. Like this picture, Dewayne was a simple man, honest, hardworking, and usually with a tool in one hand and a coffee cup (or beer) in the other (when he wasn't driving one of his race cars).  Even the picture itself appears to have spent some time in Dewayne's tool box.

     

Obaed Daniel Bohnstedt's Descendants in Nebraska

For whatever reason, Charles Daniel Bohnstedt's third son, Obaed Daniel Bohnstedt, left Missouri and went to Nebraska. That must have been some time in the mid-1920's, about the same time that his uncles; Verner, Vaden and Guy Bohnstedt, were leaving Missouri with their families and heading west.  Obaed went to work for the Armour Meat Packing Company in Omaha and made his home there.


1. Obaed Daniel Bohnstedt, probably early 1920's.  This could have been taken before he was married.
2. Omaha Nebraska in the 1920s
3. Historic photo of the huge Armour meat packing plant in Omaha.

He met Edna Idessa Hobbs and married her in 1928 in Papillion, Nebraska, which is now a suburb of greater Omaha.   In 1930 their first child was born in Omaha, Betty Jean Bohnstedt.  Four more children were born in Omaha; Ernest Daniel in 1932, Obaed Dewayne in 1934, Richard James in 1936, and Ronald Leroy in 1940.  Although they were born in Omaha Nebraska, these children were the nucleus of what would become a large family group of Bohnstedts in Oklahoma, and a smaller branch in Iowa.


1. Obaed Daniel Bohnstedt and Edna Idessa (Hobbs) Bohnstedt
2. Obaed and Edna Idessa (Hobbs) Bohnstedt, with their granddaughter, Sharon Kay Bohnstedt

3. Obaed Daniel and Edna Idessa's daughter and first child, Betty Jean Bohnstedt
4. Betty Jean Bohnstedt's daughter, Sharon Kay Bohnstedt

When Ernie, Dewayne and Jim were young men they all went to the military recruiting station together and enlisted in the Marine Corps. Their youngest brother, Ronnie wasn't with them, he being only twelve years old at the time. As it turned out, the Marine Corps discharged Jim shortly after he enlisted because he was also too young, being only sixteen years old.  Ernie was discharged during basic training because it was found that he had a health issue with asthma. Dewayne, however, was sent to Korea to serve with the Marine 1st Infantry Division. Jim later re-applied, and was accepted by the Marine Corps.

Click to EnlargeClick to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
1.
   Ernest "Ernie" Daniel Bohnstedt, U.S. Marine Corps
2-3.
Obaed Dewayne Bohnstedt, served with the U.S. Marine Corps
       in the Marine 1st Infantry Division in Korea
4.
   Richard James "Jim" Bohnstedt, U.S. Marine Corps

These five children of Obaed and Edna all started their families in Nebraska.  In 1953 Ernest Daniel "Ernie" married Jo Ann Honeywell.  In 1954 Richard James "Jim" Bohnstedt married Frances Taylor, and in 1955 Obaed Dewayne Bohnstedt married Katherine "Kate" Fipps. Although Ronald Leroy "Ronnie" Bohnstedt married a girl in Iowa (Anna Sorenson) in 1959, their first three children were born in Nebraska.  In fact, between the five children of Obaed Daniel and Edna Idessa Bohnstedt, fifteen more Bohnstedts were born in Omaha during the period 1953 - 1964.  But, if so many Bohnstedts were born in Nebraska, what happened to them?  Why aren't there any Bohnstedts in Nebraska now?


1. Richard James "Jim" Bohnstedt, his wife Frances,
    and their first child, Richard Eugene "Rick" Bohnstedt, circa 1955-1956

2. Obaed Dewayne Bohnstedt and his wife, Kate.  This was taken in 1955-1956,
    probably even the same day that the photo was taken of Jim, Frances and Rick.

3. Kate Bohnstedt, 1955

        

      

The Family Moves to Oklahoma

Although fifteen Bohnstedt children were born in Omaha Nebraska, three more were born in Enid, Oklahoma, and one was born in Davenport, Iowa; one child for each of the four brothers. What happened is that the brothers all started moving out of Nebraska, south through Kansas and into Oklahoma.  Ernie, Jim and Obaed each had one child born in Enid Oklahoma and Ronnie's last was born in Davenport, Iowa.  I asked Randy Bohnstedt if he knew why the migration started.  He wasn't sure, but both of us believed it may have been due largely to the booming oil industry in Oklahoma, and the growth of other industries, jobs and businesses that developed because of oil.

That Bohnstedt Roll call of the children born in Omaha must have looked like this:

By Date:

- 1953, Jun 27: Sharon Kay Bohnstedt (born to Betty Jean Bohnstedt)
- 1954, Nov 22: Daniel Lee Bohnstedt (born to Ernie and JoAnn Bohnstedt)
- 1955, May 5: Richard Eugene Bohnstedt (born to Jim and Frances Bohnstedt)
- 1957, Jan 18: Diane Lynn Bohnstedt (born to Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt)
- 1957, Sep 21: Idessa Mae Bohnstedt (born to Jim and Frances Bohnstedt)
- 1958, Sep 10: Dennis Lynn Bohnstedt (born to Ernie and JoAnn Bohnstedt)
- 1958, Sep 23: Logan Daniel Bohnstedt (born to Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt)
- 1958, Dec 4: Harvey Leroy Bohnstedt (born to Jim and Frances Bohnstedt)
- 1959, Aug 12: Debra Ann Bohnstedt (born to Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt)
- 1959, Dec 26: Rhonda Lou Bohnstedt (born to Ernie and JoAnn Bohnstedt)
- 1960, May 29: Carl Dean Bohnstedt (born to Jim and Frances Bohnstedt)
- 1960, Nov 29: Rolawnda Marie Bohnstedt (born to Ronnie and Anna Bohnstedt)
- 1962, Apr 23: Joe Gordon Bohnstedt (born to Jim and Frances Bohnstedt in Enid, OK)
- 1963, Jun 25: Ronald Lee Bohnstedt (born to Ronnie and Anna Bohnstedt)
- 1964, Dec 14: Roxanna Linn Bohnstedt (born to Ronnie and Anna Bohnstedt)
- 1964, Dec 29: Dewayne Alan Bohnstedt (born to Jim and Frances Bohnstedt)

Note that I included Joe Gordon in this list because, although he was born in Enid Oklahoma, his family moved back to Omaha for a few more years before returning to Oklahoma.

It was towards the end of that string of Bohnstedt births in Omaha Nebraska that records begin to show children being born outside of Nebraska.

- 1962, Sep 26: Dwight Leroy Bohnstedt (born to Ernie and JoAnn Bohnstedt in Enid, Oklahoma)
- 1965, Jul 9: Wyona Rae Bohnstedt (born to Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt in Enid, Oklahoma)
- 1968, Dec 31: Randall Leroy Bohnstedt (born to Ronnie and Anna Bohnstedt in Davenport, Iowa)

I contacted Wilma Gritz Bohnstedt, the longtime Family Historian and Keeper of Records and Photos for the Bohnstedt clan in Oklahoma, who it was who first relocated to Oklahoma.  She then asked her husband Rick, the oldest son of Richard James "Jim" Bohnstedt.  According to Wilma, Rick was confident that it was his Uncle Dewayne and Aunt Kate who first left Omaha and moved to Oklahoma.  This was confirmed by Debra (Bohnstedt) Gaither, Dewayne and Kate's daughter.


Grave of Obaed Daniel Bohnstedt and Edna Idessa (Hobbs) Bohnstedt,
Hillcrest Memorial Park, Omaha, Nebraska

According to Rick, his parents (Jim and Frances) had indeed moved to Oklahoma and settled there, which is why Joe Gordon was born in 1962 in Enid.  Rick's grandparents, Obaed Daniel and Edna Idessa Bohnstedt lived in Bellevue Nebraska (which is now a suburb of greater Omaha) at the time.  Edna became ill with cancer and Jim and Frances and their family moved back to Nebraska to take care of her.  After they had returned to Omaha, Jim and Frances' last child - Dewayne Alan Bohnstedt - was born in Omaha in 1964.  When Edna passed away in 1965 they took care of Obaed Daniel until he passed away in 1967.  It was after that time that they returned to Oklahoma to be near the rest of the clan.

As the Bohnstedts emptied out of Omaha Nebraska, only a handful remained.  Obaed Daniel and Edna Idessa's daughter, Betty jean remained in Omaha for the rest of her life and passed away there.  Ernie and JoAnn's daughter was raised in Oklahoma, and went to High School in Perry, Oklahoma.  But later on, for reasons unknown, she returned to Omaha as an adult where she made a living as a waitress.  Rhonda passed away in 2014 at the age of 55 years.  She was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery, Omaha Nebraska.

      


     

The Bohnstedt Families in Oklahoma

 
When I began contacting Bohnstedts in Oklahoma one of the very first families I came in contact with was Rick and Wilma Bohnstedt.  Wilma had hardly begun sharing information with me before she added "oh, and the Bohnstedts here all race". 

They sure did and still do.

What follows is a discussion of each of the Bohnstedt families - three of them - who settled in Oklahoma and took root there.  Then we will go into the fourth branch of this family, from Ronald Leroy Bohnstedt, who started his family in Iowa. They are presented in order of which family relocated to Oklahoma first, beginning with Obaed Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt.  You will notice a common theme running through all of these families - Stock Car Racing.

It was Dewayne who was the first in the family to get involved in racing, and was then picked up by his wife Kate.  Love of racing was passed down to his son, Logan, his son-in-law Gary Macy, and grandsons, his nephews, and their own sons, and daughters, and eventually their own grandchildren.  Over the generations racing has become such a pervasive part of this family group that the topic is no longer separable from the family.  There is no way to tell the story of this family without discussing auto racing.  Nearly everyone in this family drives in races, or builds their own cars (or both), or helps in the pits at races, and if they are not doing any of the above, they are in the stands watching a Bohnstedt relative (or more than one) on the track.  It's what they do.

According to Wilma Bohnstedt there have been so many Bohnstedts from this family involved in racing in this part of Oklahoma that when someone in town overhears the name "Bohnstedt" they often turn around and ask: "oh, are you related to (    add name here    ) Bohnstedt?"  If you're a Bohnstedt and were to travel to this part of Oklahoma, and went into the store or diner, and paid with your credit card, there's very good chance that someone would come up to you and ask you if you are related to someone from this racing family.  Of course you are, even if you don't know who these people are just yet.

Racing Legacy:

Two of the things that will keep coming up in this page are the driver’s racing numbers, and the color schemes on their cars. It took me a little while to figure out how this worked (with the help of some family members), but here’s the short version: the color schemes and numbers are very often legacy from mentors who helped the driver get his start in racing, either building or driving cars, or both. Think of it like names. A last name can help someone easily identify which family or clan you are from, but first names and middle names are more specific; they sometimes point to a person’s specific parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt. Likewise, racing numbers and paint colors are often used in honor of a mentor or relative and become legacy.

          

     

The Family of Obaed Dewayne Bohnstedt

     


1. Obaed Dewayne Bohnstedt, in his early days
2. Obaed Dewayne Bohnstedt and Kate.  This was taken in 1955-1956
3. Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt wedding, from a newspaper announcement in 1955

It was probably after his service with the Marine Corps in Korea that Dewayne got his first job; working at an auto salvage yard.  It was very likely this first exposure to the mechanical world of motor vehicles that Dewayne became adept at car repair, and then car rebuilding.  He also began developing his interest in stock car racing.  This interest would be passed on to his own children and grandchildren, his nephews and nieces, and their own children and grandchildren.  Essentially, Dewayne was in the first stages of defining culture for an entire family clan.  It was about this time that Dewayne married Kathleen "Kate" Bertha Fipps in Nebraska.


1. Diane Lynn Bohnstedt, High school senior picture
2. Gary Glen Macy, the man Diane later married (1995 photo)
3. Dewayne and Kate's only son, Logan Daniel Bohnstedt
4. Debra Ann Bohnstedt, High school senior picture

When they were living in Nebraska Dewayne and Kate had their first three children, all born in Omaha; Diane Lynn in 1957, Logan Daniel in 1958, and Debra Ann, born in 1959.  When I asked family members in Oklahoma who it was that first moved from Omaha Nebraska to Oklahoma, there was some uncertainty, although most seemed to think it was probably Dewayne and Kate. Some discussion with Bohnstedt family historian in Oklahoma, Wilma Bohnstedt (and her husband Rick) revealed that it was indeed Dewayne and Kate who first made the move with their three children; Diane Lynn, Logan Daniel and Debra Ann.  According to Debra Ann "Debbie" Gaither, her parents moved to Enid Oklahoma when she was about six months old.  That would place the time of the move to about February 1960.  After the family had resettled in Enid Oklahoma Dewayne and Kate's fourth child was born in 1965; Wyona Rae Bohnstedt.


1. Randolph Street, Enid Oklahoma, 1960's.  Enid looked much like this when
    Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt moved there with their first three children;
    Diane, Logan, and Debra

2. Wyona Rae Bohnstedt was born in Enid Oklahoma (School picture from Hennessey High school)
3. Dennis Wymore, Wyona's future husband (school picture from Hennessey High school)

After a time Dewayne and Kate relocated to Hennessey, Oklahoma where their children attended and graduated high school.  Their oldest daughter, Diane, married Gary Glen Macy in 1976 in Hennessey.  At about that same time Dewayne's older nephews from his brother Jim, especially Rick, were getting interested in racing, and Gary Macy, Rick Bohnstedt, and some of Rick's younger brothers, began spending more time with Dewayne, and his son Logan, in their garage, learning to repair, and eventually build their own race cars.


1. Two generations of Racing Bohnstedts in Oklahoma; Dewayne Bohnstedt (left),
    with nephews Harvey Bohnstedt (striped shirt), Rick Bohnstedt (looking down). 
    According to the caption under the newspaper photo Dewayne is looking on while
    his son Logan and his son-in-law Gary Macy (Diane's husband) are (out of view)
    working on part of the suspension.  Looking on are nephews Harvey Bohnstedt
    (looking towards the camera) and Rick Bohnstedt (looking down).
2. L-R:  Gary Macy (Diane Bohnstedt's husband), Logan Daniel Bohnstedt (Gary Macy's
    brother-in-law and Dewayne's son), and Logan's cousin, Rick Bohnstedt

3. Dewayne Bohnstedt's wife, Kate, also got involved in auto racing, and was a skilled, successful driver

Dewayne's younger brother, Jim, died in 1973 in a work accident.  He was only thirty seven years old.  The oldest of Jim's children, Rick and Idessa, did what they could to help the family, while their mother, Frances, had to work two jobs to keep the family fed.  The next child, Harvey Leroy, was fifteen, Carl Dean was about thirteen, Joe Gordon was about eleven, and the youngest of Jim and Frances's children, Dewayne Alan, was only nine years old when Jim was killed.  At that time Dewayne and Kate lived across the road from Jim and Frances. 


1.  Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt. Information given
     to me is that this picture was taken about 1980
2. Dewayne Bohnstedt, 1987

The boys began spending even more time in Uncle Dewayne's garage, learning the art, craft and science of stock car racing, and Dewayne became like a surrogate father to the boys.  Not only were Dewayne's grandsons and nephews spending a lot of time in Uncle Dewayne's garage, many of the friends of the boys began spending their time there as well.  As Dewayne once remarked to his wife Kate; "well, there are worse things those kids could be doing". Dewayne's influence on his grandsons and nephews, and their sons is still visible to this day because all of the boys and their sons, as well as Michael Meek (Idessa Mae's son) continued to race, and many of them are still doing so.


1.  Logan Bohnstedt, driving under his father's # 3.  Dewayne is on the
     other side of the car, looking inside.  Logan's close friend, Benny Walls,
     is at the driver's side door

2.  Logan's life was cut short in 1978 in a non-racing vehicle accident, and
     was buried in Hennessey Cemetery, Hennessey, Oklahoma
3.  Logan was only days away from marrying his sweetheart Starla Cosper

Dewayne and Kate's son, Logan, became involved in auto racing (like his parents) probably as soon as he was tall enough to reach the gas pedal, and by the time he was twenty he was already an accomplished race car driver. It was a bitter irony that he lost his life at the age of twenty in a vehicle crash that had nothing to do with racing. It was at a railroad crossing, but unfortunately the crossing had no gate arms, no stop signs, no flashing lights or bells, and the grass and brush had grown very tall around the area making visibility nearly impossible.  As Logan was crossing the tracks in a truck he was hit by a train, causing fatal injuries.   What made the situation all the more tragic was that he was only ten days away from being married. He is buried in Hennessey Cemetery, Hennessey, Oklahoma.


1. Logan Macy and his wife, Melissa (Dierking) Macy. 
    Logan Glen Macy was named after his father (Gary Glen Macy) and his cousin Logan Bohnstedt,
    who lost his life a few months before Logan Macy was born.

2. Dewayne's grandson, Logan Macy (Diane's son) driving one of his father's (Gary Macy) cars. 
    Logan followed his grandfather's passion for racing, and still drives under # 3, used by his father,
    Gary Macy and his grandfather, Dewayne Bohnstedt
3. In addition to being an oilfield worker and a skilled race driver, Logan is also a volunteer firefighter

Gary Glen Macy and Diane (Bohnstedt) Macy had their first child, David, in 1976.  In September 1979, about fifteen months after Logan Bohnstedt was killed, Diane and Gary had their second child, whom they named Logan Glen Macy - Logan, after his uncle Logan Bohnstedt, and Glen, after his father's middle name.  Logan Macy had a close relationship with his grandfather as he was growing up and became one of Dewayne's most enthusiastic racing apprentices, and in time became one of the best race drivers in the area, racking up numerous victories.

Dewayne wasn't just a driver and a competitor, he was the "wise old man" at the race tracks; in fact many referred to him as "The Old Man", or "The Ol' Man".  When Dewayne wasn't driving he would hang around in the pits and dispense free advice on driving and race car engineering, not just for his own relatives, but other drivers as well.  According to Wilma Bohnstedt, in later years, when Dewayne stopped hanging around in the pits and started sitting in the grandstands, sometimes one of the pit crew mechanics from one of the teams would walk over to the stands to get advice from Dewayne, and explain the problem they were having with the car, and Dewayne would tell him how to sort it out.  Sometimes Dewayne could already tell, just from sitting that far back, what was going on with the car, and before the mechanic even got to him, Dewayne would shout out what the problem was and what to do about it!


1-2.  Wyona and Dennis Wymore's son, Daniel Wymore, 2016

In 1981 Debra Ann, Dewayne and Kate's third child was married for a second time, this time to Clyde Emmet Gaither in Cooke County Texas. Debra had no children from her first marriage, but she and Clyde have three children; Ashli, Jodi, and Thomas.  In 1985 Debra's younger sister, Wyona Rae, married in Hennessey to Dennis Wayne Wymore.  They had three children.  The first was either stillborn or died in infancy, but they also had a daughter, Kati, and a son, Daniel, who remains involved with the Bohnstedt Family racing tradition.


1.  "D&K (Dewayne and Kate) Trucking"
2.   A # 3 owned by Dewayne Bohnstedt and co-owner Russ Meloy, and driven by Dewayne's son-in-law Gary Macy.
      This must have been taken during the time when Dewayne and Kate lived in Mannford, Oklahoma

Dewayne and Kate did a lot of work for a company called Cumming's Construction, first as direct employees, and then later, when he and Kate had begin their own company, "D & K Trucking", hauling gravel, asphalt and other road construction materials.  In 1995 Dewayne and Kate were both working on a road project for Cummings when Kate was killed in an accident.  She was fifty-seven years old at the time.

Kate Bohnstedt could be a tough cookie when she needed to be, or wanted to be. That’s probably one of the things that made her a good match for Dewayne, her ability to match his strong personality, or even square off with it occasionally when needed. One of the things which endeared Kate Bohnstedt to the larger community was her involvement in racing, first by supporting her husband, and then by driving in races herself, and winning trophies. The other thing was that she was like a mother to so many kids. She was fiercely protective of her own four children, but she and Dewayne also fostered several other children. Not only that, but a number of nieces and nephews of Dewayne and Kate stayed with them at times when they needed someplace, and they called Dewayne and Kate’s home their own. Kate was well-known for helping people.  She could be firm and strict, but she was always ready when someone needed her help.


1.  Kate lost her life in 1995 in a highway construction accident, and a
     Memorial Lap was performed for her at the local speedway as had
     been done for her son, Logan  
2.  Grave marker of Kate Bohnstedt in Hennessey Cemetery, Hennessey Oklahoma
3.  Article from a local newspaper honoring Kate's life, one year and three
     months after Kate's death; "Every kid was Kate's kid - every race her own"

Even in the larger community Kate was involved with young people. Besides waitressing at local restaurants she was also a cook for Hennessey High School where she advised, and sometimes even chastised, the students. According to her daughter, Debbie (Bohnstedt) Gaither, Kate didn’t stand for cruelty and she had a strong sense of right and wrong. She attended most of the local races because someone in her family was always driving – her husband, her son, or son-in-law, a brother-in-law, or a nephew – but when someone crashed (even if the driver wasn’t family to her) and if some of the spectators were laughing and cheering, Kate would go over and chew them out, explaining that the driver could be seriously injured, and what if that was their own dad, or uncle, or brother or cousin? Uncle Dewayne and Aunt Kate were also “Uncle Dewayne” and “Aunt Kate” to the larger community in and around Hennessey. It was out of this respect and endearment that when Kate lost her life in 1995 the racing community did a “Memorial Lap” for her at the local speedway.


L-R; Grave markers of Diane Lynn (Bohnstedt) Macy and
Wyona Rae (Bohnstedt) Wymore in Hennessey Cemetery, Hennessey Oklahoma

Diane Lynn (Bohnstedt) Macy passed away in 2010 from cancer at the young age of 53 years.  She passed away in Rochester, Olmsted County, Minnesota where she was undergoing treatment at the time, but was buried in Hennessey Cemetery, at Hennessey Oklahoma.  Her younger sister, Wyona, had some serious health issues, and passed away in 2013 when she was only forty-eight years old.  Like her sister and brother, she was laid to rest in Hennessey Cemetery.

Racing Legacy:

Several in this family drove under #3, usually with their cars painted purple.  This started with Dewayne Bohnstedt who liked to paint his cars "Plum Crazy" Purple. ("Plum Crazy" Purple was introduced by Plymouth in 1970 along with other "Hi-Impact" colors; "Top Banana" Yellow, "Vitamin C" Orange, and "Sublime" Green for their line of muscle cars).  When Dewayne's son, Logan Daniel Bohnstedt and son-in-law Gary Glen Macy, began driving his cars they were driving under his #3.  Today Gary's son, Logan Glen Macy, drives a purple car under #3 in honor of his father, his uncle Logan (who died the year before his was born) and his grandfather Dewayne, with whom Logan Macy was close.

As for the #3; amateur race drivers usually have their favorite professional race drivers and Dewayne was no different in that respect. I learned from Rick and Wilma Bohnstedt that Dale Earnhardt Sr. was always Dewayne's favorite NASCAR race driver going back decades.


1-2.  NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. (Dewayne's favorite race driver)
drove under #3 for nearly twenty years.  However, Dewayne had begun
using #3 well before Dale Earnhardt did.

At first I thought maybe that was how Dewayne had come to favor the use of #3 when he was driving.  But then I realized that couldn't be it because, if I had figured it out correctly Dewayne had actually been using #3 well before Mr. Earnhardt was.  So again, I went to Rick and Wilma for insight.  I was told that a very long time ago Dewayne had bought an old white sedan car that was built in the 1930's but had been used as a race car.  It already had #3 painted on the side, so when Dewayne bought it he just kept using #3.  The fact that Dale Earnhardt, Dewayne's favorite driver, started driving under #3 when he began driving for Richard Childress Racing in 1984 was just happy coincidence.


1-2.  One of Dewayne Bohnstedt's early purple #3 cars .... over the rail.  Dewayne
        once told a local newspaper reporter "I've had to go to the hospital to
be
        checked out after a few crashes, but I've never had to stay there
." 
        These two pictures were taken in the early 70's, showing that Dewayne was
        using #3 before Earnhardt

3.     THIS is the source of Dewayne's use of #3; one of Dewayne's early cars
        that he bought already had #3 painted on the side, so he just kept using it.

 

     

The Family of Richard James "Jim" Bohnstedt

Jim and Frances' first four children were all born in Omaha Nebraska, the fourth, Carl Dean Bohnstedt, being born in 1960.  It was in February that year that Dewayne and Kate moved from Omaha to Enid Oklahoma.  I'm not sure who moved out of Omaha next; Jim and Frances Bohnstedt or Ernie and JoAnn Bohnstedt.  But we do know that Jim and Frances had moved before late April, 1962 because that's when their fifth child, Joe Gordon Bohnstedt was born in Enid.


1-2. Richard James "Jim" Bohnstedt and Frances Dale (Taylor) Bohnstedt

Records show that Jim and Frances's sixth (and last) child, Dewayne Alan Bohnstedt was born in Omaha.  This caused some confusion, and I contacted Joe Gordon Bohnstedt's son, Randy if he had any insight.  He thought maybe they were visiting when Frances went into labor with Joe, but after the baby was born, went back home to Nebraska.  But that's not how it happened.  I asked Wilma (Gritz) Bohnstedt about it, who asked her husband Rick.  As I mentioned previously, Jim and Frances did move to Oklahoma, which is why Joe Gordon was born in 1962 in Enid.  According to Rick, Jim's parents, Obaed Daniel and Edna Idessa Bohnstedt lived in Bellevue Nebraska at the time.  Edna became ill with cancer and Jim and Frances and family moved back to Nebraska to take care of her.  After they had returned to Omaha, Jim and Frances' last child - Dewayne Alan Bohnstedt - was born in Omaha in 1964.  When Edna passed away in 1965 they took care of Obaed Daniel until he passed away in 1967.  It was after that time that they returned to Oklahoma.


1-2. Richard James "Jim" Bohnstedt and Frances Dale (Taylor) Bohnstedt

When Jim and Frances returned to Oklahoma they must have driven straight through Enid on their way to Hennessey - except maybe to fill up with gas - because there are plenty of public records which indicate that Jim and Frances lived in Hennessey.  And there are also Hennessey High School Yearbooks which show all of Jim and Frances' children, but no records for residence in Enid during that time.


Graves of Richard James "Jim" Bohnstedt (left) and Frances Dale Bohnstedt (right) in Hennessey Cemetery, Hennessey, Oklahoma

Jim died in 1973 when he was only thirty-seven years old.  He made his living as a truck driver, and according to family members he was checking his load on a flatbed when some tie-downs failed and he was fatally struck in the head.  This was on September 21, his daughter Idessa's birthday.  She was the last to talk to him as he had just called to wish her a happy 16th birthday.  According to Rick Bohnstedt's wife, Wilma, it was very hard on Rick, who was in his senior year in high school.  Wilma told me he and Idessa took on a lot of extra responsibility to help their mother, Frances, with the rest of the younger siblings, the youngest of whom (Dewayne Alan) was nine years old. In a way it was fortunate that Uncle Dewayne and Aunt Kate just lived across the highway, and were able to help Frances, Rick and Idessa manage things.  According to Wilma, to this day Rick makes it a point to call Idessa on her birthday since her daddy couldn't do it anymore.


1. Richard Eugene "Rick" Bohnstedt, Jim and Frances Bohnstedt's first child
2. Wilma Gritz, Rick's future wife
3. Rick Bohnstedt's Pro Stock # 5

In 1979 Rick married Wilma Gritz in Hennessey Oklahoma, and worked in the oil fields as an industrial mechanic.  After the late 1980's Rick made his living as an auto parts specialist. Also, Rick and Ryan are both experienced welders and they do extra work putting together metal buildings used for oilfield facilities. Rick also used the skills he learned from his Uncle Dewayne to begin building and driving his own race cars on local tracks.  The tracks that Rick and his brothers and nephews have been driving on for decades are all dirt tracks, and I asked one of them about it once.  I was told that the nearest paved track is several hours drive away, so they simply adapted their driving and technology and developed their expertise on dirt tracks.  Rick and Wilma have one child, Ryan Erick Bohnstedt, who has had a successful career as an amateur race driver.


1.  Second cousins Ryan Bohnstedt (left) and Logan Macy
2.  Rick and Ryan made use of their initials "REB" to create a business name and logo: "REB Racing"

Racing Legacy:  

When Rick began building and driving his own cars he adopted the number 5 because of his birthday; May 5, 1955 (5-5-55).  Later, when his son Ryan began driving he wanted his own number so he added a zero to make #05 his own number.  As for the prevalence of blue in so many of their cars ... they just like the color blue. 


1.  Third Generation Bohnstedt racer, Ryan Erick Bohnstedt, Rick Bohnstedt's son,
     wanted his own number so he took his father's #5, added a zero and made it #05.
     (it was explained to me that in racing, #5 and #05 really are two different things,
     even if they usually aren't in math!)
2.  Rick Bohnstedt's #5 "station wagon" with fake wood panels


At one time Rick did have a car with fake wood grain panels on the side. Someone jokingly told Rick he was getting too old for racing and he should retire and buy a station wagon.  Not only that, he pranked Rick by putting some fake wood grain appliques on the sides to make it look like a station wagon.  Rick thought it was funny and just left them on.


1.  Ryan Bohnstedt up on the wall.  This is why drivers wear helmets and sit in a roll cage, in a harness.
2.  Rick Bohnstedt's "station wagon" catching fire.  This is why drivers wear Nomex flame retardant suits and gloves.

Idessa married Rodney Dewayne Meek in 1977 in Hennessey, Oklahoma.  They had three children, Heather, Michael and Katie, and from them, several grandchildren.  Rodney died in 2012, and is buried in Jesse Cemetery, in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma.  Idessa and Rodney had three children; Heather (1979), Michael (1982), and Katie (1988).  From Heather and her husband Kelly Campbell Idessa and Rodney have two grandchildren; Ellie Mae and Kage Dale.  From Katie and her first husband Jaymon Dobbs, two more grandchildren; Brystol and Nova.


1. Idessa Mae Bohnstedt, High school picture
2. Rodney Dewayne Meek, Idessa's future husband, high school picture
3. Rodney passed away in 2012 and is buried in Jesse Cemetery, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma

Rodney and Idessa's son, Michael, became part of the racing culture of the area and built and drove his own cars on local tracks.  From Michael and his wife Meghan, two more grandchildren; Lindsey and Taecyn.  (As a small boy Taecyn became very involved in racing with his father, Michael, and his father's cousins.)


1-2. Michael Dewayne Meek, on and off the track
3. Michael's niece, "Nova" in checkered flag motif attests to how deeply
    racing culture runs in this family.  This little girl, "Nova", was named for her
    grandmother Idessa's first car, a Chevy Nova.  Nova's mother, Katie (Meek)
    Willis (Michael's sister) named her first daughter "Brystol" after the Bristol
    Motor Speedway in Tennessee (She changed the "I" to "Y"). She also had a
    voice in naming her cousin Richard's daughter, "Daytona" (after the Daytona
    International Speedway in Florida)

Rick and Idessa's younger brother, Harvey Leroy Bohnstedt was a truck driver like his father, but also made a living as an oilfield worker like so many in that part of the country.  He married Kathy Jane Johnson in 1980 in Hennessey, Oklahoma, and they had one child, Richard Lee Bohnstedt, born in 1985 in Enid Oklahoma.  Harvey and Kathy also had another child, Harvey Dewayne, but he was born and died on the same day on March 31, 1991.


1. Harvey Leroy Bohnstedt, high school senior picture.
2. Kathy Jane Johnson, Harvey's future wife.  High school picture.
3. Family photo, L-R: Richard Lee Bohnstedt, Kathy (Johnson) Bohnstedt, Harvey Leroy Bohnstedt. 
    This photo was taken at Thanksgiving, November 2009, just a few months before Harvey passed away.
4. Harvey Bohnstedt drove under # 62, which was Harvey's football # in High school.

Harvey Leroy was also an amateur race driver, but he often drove his brother's cars instead of building his own.  He had a reputation as a skilled, aggressive and fearless driver, going up on the outside of the turns at high speed, and scraping the wall (and his borrowed car) to get ahead of the pack.  That technique earned him the nickname "Harvey Wallbanger" (after the cocktail).  Harvey died in 2010 at the age of 52 years from cancer.  He was cremated and the ashes were buried in Hennessey Cemetery.  Harvey and Kathy's son Richard Lee has two children; a boy named Dustin Lee, born in 2004, and a daughter named Daytona Gaige, born in 2006.


Graves of Harvey Dewayne Bohnstedt and his father, Harvey Leroy Bohnstedt in Hennessey Cemetery. Harvey Dewayne died the same day he was born, on March 31, 1991.  When Harvey Sr. passed away he was cremated, and the ashes buried in Hennessey Cemetery, next to Harvey Dewayne.

Carl Dean Bohnstedt, Jim and Frances Bohnstedt's fourth child, was born in 1960 in Omaha.  After graduating from high school he married Sherry Annette Flatt in 1980 in Warr Acres, a suburb of Oklahoma City.  Carl was a Street Department worker for the city of Bethany, Oklahoma, near Warr Acres.  Like his brothers, Carl did some race driving.  His wife, Sherry also came from a racing family as her father, David Flatt, was involved in stock car racing.


1. Carl Dean Bohnstedt, high school picture. 
2. Sherry Annette Flatt, Carl's future wife.  High school picture.

Carl and Sherry had two children in Enid; James Allen (born 1981) and Carl Dean Jr. (born in 1982 in Enid).  Sometime before 1985 Carl moved his family to Oklahoma City, where their third child, David Andrew, was born in 1985.  Carl and Sherry also had a fourth child in 1988 named Elizabeth Ann, but she died two days after she was born. She is buried, according to my information, in Rose Hill Burial Park, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


1. James Allen Bohnstedt with his daughter, Zaylie Nicole
2. L-R: Carl Dean Bohnstedt Sr., Carl Bohnstedt Jr., David Andrew Bohnstedt, and James Allen Bohnstedt

Carl and Sherry's oldest, James Allen Bohnstedt, has worked as a manufacturing technician, as well as a UPS driver.  As a race driver he has driven under # 22, his grandfather, David Flatt's number.  I was also told that he likes to use bright orange paint schemes on his cars in honor of his grandfather David.  James has one daughter, Zaylie, who is one of several "fourth generation" Bohnstedt race drivers.


1. Carl Dean Bohnstedt Jr. and his family, L-R: Carl, Son Tatum, daughter Ann Marie, and wife Amber (Buntin)
2. Carl Bohnstedt Jr.'s sport mod, driving under # 20
3. Carl also does sprint racing (this is a mini-sprint)

Carl and Sherry's second child, Carl Dean Bohnstedt Jr., is an equipment technician for a company called Kimray, who James also worked for.  Carl Jr. drove under # 20, but like his brother, favors bright orange for his cars.  Carl Jr. married Amber Buntin, who is the sister of Jesse Buntin, Mindy Bohnstedt's husband.  Carl and Amber have two children, both born in Moore, Oklahoma; Jacob Lee Bohnstedt (2007), and Ann-Marie Louise Bohnstedt (2010).


1. David Andrew Bohnstedt
2. David's mini-sprint racer
3. David Bohnstedt with his children; Paisley Jo (left) and Tatum Ryan

David Andrew Bohnstedt, Carl and Sherry's third child, is a sales associate, and is a dedicated martial arts practitioner. But, to paraphrase an old saying, "you can take the boy out of the race course, but you cant take racing out of the boy", David is involved in racing, although in a slightly different form, building and driving sprint racers.  David has two children from his first wife, both born in Oklahoma City; Tatum Ryan Bohnstedt, born 2008, and Paisley Jo Bohnstedt, born 2010.

Racing Legacy

According to Carl Dean Bohnstedt Sr's oldest son, orange 22 is legacy from Carl's father-in-law (and James, Carl Jr., and David's maternal grandfather), David Flatt, who always drove bright orange cars under #22.  According to James, when his father, Carl Sr., began driving he also used #22 and favored orange paint schemes because of the help and guidance his father-in-law had given him when he started.


David Flatt's #22.  David was Sherry Flatt's father,
and Carl Dean Bohnstedt's father-in-law


When James Allen Bohnstedt began driving he just sort of adopted and took over #22, and continued the tradition of using bright orange. Carl Sr. continued to use #22, except when he drove in the same as James.  At those times he modified #22 to become #122.  Although Carl Sr.'s second son, Carl Dean Bohnstedt Jr., drove under #20, he also continued the tradition of using bright orange on his cars.


1. Orange 22 is a racing legacy from Carl Dean Bohnstedt's
    father-in-law, David Flatt, who was well-known in the racing community
2. James Allen Bohnstedt's orange 22, legacy which goes back
    to his maternal grandfather, David Flatt


see also: Racing Legacy (Bohnstedts & Buntins)
   

     


1. Joe Gordon Bohnstedt, School picture
2. Robin Lynne Martin (Joe's future wife), school picture
3. Randy Joe Bohnstedt and wife, Mindy (Shoemaker) Bohnstedt

As his father Jim, and his brother, Harvey had done, Joe Gordon Bohnstedt got into truck driving as an occupation.  And like his brothers, Joe got into race driving as personal passion. He married Robin Lynn Martin in 1983 in Hennessey Oklahoma, and they had two boys, both born in Enid, Oklahoma; Randy Joe Bohnstedt, born 1987, and Tommy Joe Bohnstedt, born 1991. 


1. Randy, Mindy and son, Caden Joe Bohnstedt
2. Randy Bohnstedt, race day

Randy is a truck driver (like so many in his family) and also works in the oil fields as a hydro tester.  If that isn't enough, he's a volunteer firefighter for the town of Hennessey, Oklahoma, AND a volunteer firefighter at the Texas Motor Speedway.  And of course,... he's also a race driver, usually driving under #48.  Randy married in 2017 in Hennessey Oklahoma to Mindy Elaine Shoemaker.  The have one son, Caden Joe Bohnstedt.  Randy's brother, Tommy, is a pumping unit repair technician and driver for Weatherford International.  He's also an amateur race driver.  He married Cory Derr in 2016, and they have one daughter, Anastasia.  Cory herself comes from a racing family as her father, Jerry Derr, is also into racing.


1. Tommy Joe Bohnstedt
2. Tommy's #6 (one of them)
3. Tommy with his daughter, Anastasia
4. Tommy's wife, Cory (Derr) Bohnstedt and Anastasia

Racing Legacy:

The easiest part of this to sort out is Tommy's number; 06. When he was growing up, Tommy's favorite NASCAR driver was Mark Martin, who drove under #6. When Tommy began driving he wanted #6, but he wanted to make it his own, so he started using #06. As for #48, that is a bit of racing legacy that goes back to Eldon Dickson, a family friend, and a mentor to Randy and Tommy when they began driving.


1. When Joe Bohnstedt began driving for Eldon Dickson in the late 1980's he drove under Eldon's #48.
2. The blue paint scheme with pink chassis and engine block began as a prank


When Joe Bohnstedt began driving in the early 80's he was driving under #5. But in 1987 he began driving for Eldon Dickson who used #48. Since his cars already had #48 painted on them Joe simply began using #48.


1.  When Tommy Bohnstedt began driving he owned his own car, but for a while
    adopted Eldon's signature blue/white/pink paint scheme to honor Eldon Dickson, his mentor
2. The blue paint scheme with pink chassis and engine block became a tradition with
    Eldon and his drivers; Joe and Randy Bohnstedt.  While Tommy adopted his own #06
    Randy continued using #48


Eventually Eldon Dickson retired and Randy took over #48 for himself. There is another piece of legacy here; hot pink. Someone might notice the hot pink paint scheme on the door lettering or frames of cars driven by both Randy and Tommy. In fact Randy once had one of his cars painted almost entirely in a hot pink paint scheme. This was also a piece of racing legacy that went back to Eldon. According to Randy Bohnstedt:

"it started as a prank from Eldon to my dad. Eldon ordered a new car (he had someone else build it) and had them paint the Chassis pink. But when they received the car it looked good with the blue body so they left it. After that we painted all the Chassis' pink."


1.  Randy's #48 at the Texas Motor Speedway.  Randy still
     drives under #48, but has abandoned the blue-white paint schemes.
     However, he still uses hot pink paint schemes, or has hot pink
     somewhere on the car.
2.  Likewise, Tommy uses different paint schemes other than the blue/white,
     but still incorporates hot pink somewhere in the paint scheme.

But there was more to this. Randy told me that:

"The pink engine came from a theory Eldon had. If you had a boy and dressed him in all pink through school he would either be fast or tough. Both are good qualities in a race engine."

   

The last of Jim and Frances' children, Dewayne Alan Bohnstedt, was born in 1964 in Omaha, Nebraska.  Dewayne is an oilfield worker, and has also been, at times, an amateur stock car race driver.  He married Lori Ann Kerr in 1989 in Hennessey, Oklahoma, and they had two children; Malinda LaNona "Mindy" Bohnstedt, born in 1989 in Enid, Oklahoma, and Jim Gordon Bohnstedt, born in 1991.  Mindy, a payroll specialist, married Jessie Buntin in 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Jessie Buntin is a brother of Amber Buntin, who married Mindy's cousin, Carl Dean Bohnstedt Jr.)  Mindy and Jessie have two children; EmmaLee Brooke, and Chase Austin.


1. Dewayne Alan Bohnstedt, high school senior picture
2. Lori Ann Kerr, Dewayne Alan's future wife, high school senior picture
3. Dwayne and Lori's daughter, Malinda LaNona "Mindy" (Bohnstedt) Buntin and husband Jessie Buntin. 
   Jessie Buntin is the brother of Amber Buntin, who is married to Mindy's cousin, Carl Dean Bohnstedt Jr.
4. Dewayne Alan and Lori's daughter, Mindy also got involved in racing for a season in 2016, driving mini-sprints.
    This one; #2, was largely funded by Kerr Construction, as were many of the cars that Dewayne Alan,
    Jim, Mindy, and Mindy's husband, Jessie Buntin, drove.  Kerr Construction is a firm owned and operated by
    Lori (Kerr) Bohnstedt's father.  Jessie Buntin is the brother of Amber Buntin, who is married to Mindy's
    cousin, Carl Dean Bohnstedt Jr.

Dewayne and Lori's son, Jim Gordon Bohnstedt married Madylan Kate "Maddie" Lemley in 2019.  Jim graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from East Central University in Oklahoma. Jim is a teacher at Purcell High School in Purcell Oklahoma, and is also the offensive coordinator for Purcell High School's football team.  Maddie earned her Masters degree in elementary education from East Central University, and is an elementary school teacher in Sulphur, Oklahoma.  Jim and Maddie's first child, a little girl named Nora Jane, was born in Norman Oklahoma in September 2021.


1.  Dewayne and Lori's son, Jim Gordon Bohnstedt.  Although Jim's brother-in-law,
     Jessie Buntin, drove under #86, this car was purchased from someone not related
     to the Buntin family.  It was just a weird coincidence.
2.  Jim Gordon Bohnstedt and wife, Madylan Kate "Maddie" (Lemley) Bohnstedt
3.  Jim is the offensive coordinator for Purcell High School's football team, where he teaches


1.  Jim was the driver for this sport mod, owned and funded by
     Dewayne Alan and Lori Bohnstedt, built by Dewayne and his son Jim,
    and piloted by Jim.  Dewayne Alan drove under #05, while Jim alternately
    drove under his father's #05, as well as #4 and #8
2.  Jim also got involved in racing mini-sprints
3.  A 2009 group photo with all six of Jim and Frances Bohnstedts children. 
     This was taken in Autumn 2009 during the Thanksgiving holiday,
     and Harvey Bohnstedt (on the left) was ill with lymphoma and only
     had a few months to live.

Racing Legacy:

Carl Dean Bohnstedt Jr. and Mindy Bohnstedt both married into the Buntin family (or the Buntins married into ours); Carl married Amber Buntin, and his cousin, Mindy Bohnstedt, married Amber Buntin's brother, Jessie Buntin.  Jessie and Amber Buntin came from a racing family, just as Carl Bohnstedt Sr's wife, Sherry Flatt had done.  Jessie and Amber's father, Mark Buntin had been involved in racing, as well his Mark's brothers.  According to Mindy (Bohnstedt) Buntin it all started with Lloyd Buntin - Jessie Buntin's uncle - back in 1969, when he became involved in auto racing.  The racing bug spread to his brothers, including Mark Buntin, Jessie and Amber's father.  There were, and still are numerous family members in the Buntin clan who raced, and still do, so Jessie and his sister Amber come from a distinguished line of racers.


1.  This was the cake topper used at Mindy Bohnstedt and Jessie Buntin's wedding. 
     According to Mindy, she was afraid she was going to have to drag fiancÚ' Jessie
     out of the garage on wedding day!
2.  A Buntin-Bohnstedt gathering.  Far left; Jessie and Amber Buntin's parents; Mark
    and Theresa.  At the far right: Carl Dean Bohnstedt Jr., wife Amber (Bohnstedt) Buntin,
    and daughter Ann-Marie.   In front of Mark and Theresa; Jacob Bohnstedt (Carl and
    Amber's son), and Chase Buntin (Jessie and Mindy Buntin's son).  In the middle;
    Jessie Buntin (plaid shirt), Mindy, and daughter EmmaLee.

According to Mindy (Bohnstedt) Buntin:

"While the Bohnstedts primarily raced Enid area, the Buntins raced Oklahoma City. During occasional travel between the two areas paths would cross, but when Carl and Sherry married, Carl would attend Oklahoma City speedway to assist his Father-in-Law (David Flatt) because he raced stock cars too."

Because of this the Bohnstedts and Buntins eventually met.  First it was Carl D. Bohnstedt Jr., when he met Amber Dawn Buntin.  They married in March 2006, joining the two racing clans together.  This bond was enhanced when Carl's cousin, Mindy Bohnstedt, met Amber's brother, Jessie Buntin, and they were married in November 2010.

Both Bohnstedt-Buntin / Buntin-Bohnstedt families have 4th generation racers in the family; Carl and Amber Bohnstedt's daughter, Ann-Marie, drove karts.  Likewise, so did Mindy and Jessie's daughter, EmmaLee.  EmmaLee later became interested in softball and passed the torch to her younger brother, Chase Austin Bohnstedt, who now drives both karts and mini-sprints under his sisters #14.

      

     

The Family of Ernest Daniel "Ernie" Bohnstedt

We believe the last of this clan to relocate from Omaha Nebraska to Oklahoma was Ernest Daniel "Ernie" Bohnstedt, his wife JoAnn, and their first three children; Daniel Lee, Dennis Lynn, and Rhonda Lou.

Ernie Bohnstedt married JoAnn Faye Honeywell in 1953, in Omaha. The couple had three children in Omaha, Nebraska; Daniel Lee "Danny" Bohnstedt (1954), Dennis Lynn (1958), and Rhonda Lou (1959). Sometime after Rhonda's birth in 1959 Ernie moved the family to Enid Oklahoma. His brothers, Dewayne and Jim had already moved south to Oklahoma, so they may have convinced him that it would be a good move. Ernie and JoAnn's fourth child, Dwight Leroy was born in Enid in 1962. The family must have moved again, a few miles away to the town of Perry, because we know that Ernie made his living there as a diesel mechanic.


1-2.  Ernest Daniel "Ernie" Bohnstedt, and
       JoAnn Faye (Honeywell) Bohnstedt
3.    Ernie Bohnstedt's family (Ernie was probably the one
       taking the picture): Back; JoAnn, Daniel Bohnstedt. 
       Front; Dennis, Rhonda and Dwight Bohnstedt

Ernie and JoAnn also adopted a little girl named Sharon, who was born in 1977 in Oklahoma City.  Unfortunately Ernie didn't have the chance to see Sharon grow up, because he died in 1982 in Enid from a heart attack.  Sharon was only five when Ernie died, but the other kids were older and had finished high school in Perry, Oklahoma. The boys; Danny, Dennis and Dwight, stayed in Oklahoma after they finished school, but for whatever reason Rhonda returned to Omaha, where she made her living as a waitress.  Rhonda had two children; a stillborn son named Jack James in 1989, and a daughter named Sunnee Jo, born in 1991 in Omaha.  Rhonda passed away in 2014 and is buried in Omaha.


Grave of Ernest and Joann Bohnstedt, Grace Hill Cemetery, Perry, Oklahoma

Danny Bohnstedt served in the National Guard for over ten years and retired from the military with the rank of Staff Sergeant.  He built his own business in Ponca City as owner and manager of "D&L Floor Perfection and Restoration" concerned with fire and flood floor restoration.  Danny was married three times, to: (1) Iradyth Levonn Lowrie in 1974, (2) Kittty Lynn Siefert in 1982, (3) Linda Louise Hurst in 1986.


1. Daniel Lee Bohnstedt, high school yearbook photo
2. Grave of Daniel's son, Dustin, in Roselawn Cemetery, Mulhall, Logan County, Oklahoma

Danny had a son with his first wife, Iradyth Levonn, in 1980, named Dustin Lee Bohnstedt.  But after Danny and Iradyth Levonn divorced she remarried to Bill Collins, who adopted Dustin as a child and his last name was changed to Collins.  Dustin was married to April Buttery in 2002 and they had a daughter named Layla Marie.  Dustin was killed in a vehicle crash in 2004 and is buried in Roselawn Cemetery, Mulhall, Logan County, Oklahoma.


1. Daniel Lee Bohnstedt, with his third wife, Linda
2. Grave marker of Linda (Hurst) Bohnstedt and Daniel Lee Bohnstedt in Fellowship Cemetery, Miller, Lawrence County, Missouri.  We believe that both Daniel and Linda were cremated after their passing, and that the ashes were given to friends or family.  That being the case this marker may be a cenotaph, a memorial stone without any human remains.

Danny and his third wife, Linda, loved riding motorcycles, but it ended their lives in 2015 when they were killed in a highway crash near Halltown, Missouri.  Linda was killed at the scene on October 12, but Danny was taken to the hospital with critical injuries where he died six days later on the 18th.


Dennis Lynn Bohnstedt, 1977 high school yearbook photo, senior

Dennis Lynn Bohnstedt, who made his living as a mechanic in Perry, Oklahoma, married Cynthia Dianna "Cindy" Barnett in 1979.  Dennis and Cindy had five children.  They were all adopted, but they were all biological siblings to each other; (1) Everett Lee Bohnstedt, born 1977, (2) Tiffany Marie Bohnstedt, born 1978, (3) Julie Kay Bohnstedt, born 1981, (4) Ernest Lynn Bohnstedt, born 1984, and (5) April Renee Bohnstedt, born 1989.


1. Everett Lee Bohnstedt
2. Tiffany Marie Bohnstedt
3. Julie Kay (Bohnstedt) Henning

The oldest, Everett, served in the U.S. Army from 1999-2011 and spent some time in Iraq, retiring with the rank of sergeant.  He attended University of Chicago, studying criminal psychology.  Tiffany, a care worker at a nursing home, has two daughters; Jalyssa Mishel and Kaydence Lee.  Julie attended the Northern Oklahoma College Nursing program and now makes nursing her profession. She married in 2002 to Michael Dale Wilcher and they had five children; Darren, Timothy, Chase, Andrew, and Blake.  Julie later remarried to James Henning.


1. Ernest Lynn Bohnstedt
2. April Renee Bohnstedt

3. Dennis passed away in 2005 and was buried in Grace Hill Cemetery, Perry, Oklahoma

Ernest works in construction and is currently married to Terri Ryan Lukens.  April, a certified nursing assistant has two children; Cameron Wayne Karraker and Corey Lynn Karraker, born in 2012 and 2014. She also had a daughter named Jacynda Kay Karraker, who was born in 2010, but passed away that same year.  Dennis himself passed away in 2005 and was laid to rest in Grace Hill Cemetery in Perry, Oklahoma.


1. Rhonda Lou Bohnstedt, Probably a high school picture
2. Grave of Jack James Bohnstedt, Rhonda's son, in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, Omaha Nebraska. 
Jack James (J.J.) was either stillborn, or died the same day he was born on December 12, 1989.

Ernie and JoAnn's daughter was raised in Oklahoma, and went to High School in Perry, Oklahoma.  But later on, because her mother's famiy was in Nebraska, she returned to Omaha as an adult where she made a living as a waitress.


1. Rhonda's daughter, Sunnee Jo Bohnstedt
2. Grave of Rhonda Bohnstedt, Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery, Omaha Nebraska

Rhonda had two children; Jack James Bohnstedt was born on December 12, 1989, but died that same day and is buried in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Omaha.  Two years later Rhonda had a daughter, Sunnee Jo.  Rhonda herself died in 2014 at the age of 55 years.  She was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery, Omaha Nebraska.


1. Dwight Leroy Bohnstedt , High school, senior picture
2. Dwight Bohnstedt's car, # 98, during his racing days

Dwight Leroy Bohnstedt was the youngest of Ernie and JoAnn's biological children, but he was the first of Ernie and JoAnn's children to be born in Oklahoma instead of Nebraska.  Dwight married Susan Marie Pauly in 1989 in Perry Oklahoma.  Dwight makes his living as an auto mechanic, and like his cousins got involved in auto racing for a time. In the 80s Dwight drove under number #83. In the late 90s and early 2000s he drove under #98. Between 1985 and 2003 he drove off and on. Dwight and Susan have no children.


1. Dwight and Susan Bohnstedt
2. Ernest and JoAnn also adopted a little girl from Oklahoma City named Sharon

          


     

The Bohnstedt Family in Iowa

Ronald Leroy Bohnstedt was the youngest of four brothers, and the youngest of Obaed Daniel and Edna Idessa Bohnstedt's children.  Like his older brothers Ron married in Omaha, and most of his children were born there.  In 1959, in Atlantic Iowa, Ron married Anna Sorensen, herself a native of Iowa.


1. Ron and Anna (Sorensen) Bohnstedt
2. Anna Marie Sorensen (Ron Bohnstedts future wife), high school picture
3. Sharon Kay Bohnstedt, Betty Jean Bohnstedt's daughter.  When Sharon's mother died 1967 she was taken
    in by her uncle and aunt; Ron and Anna Bohnstedt.

Ron and Anna had four children.  The first three were born in Omaha; (1) Rolawnda Marie, 1960, (2) Ronald Lee, 1963, and (3) Roxanna Linn, 1964.  But, when the family started moving out of Nebraska, Ron's older brothers, Dewayne, Jim and Ernie all headed south, to Oklahoma, but Ron and Anna moved east, into Iowa, to Davenport, where their fourth, Randall Leroy waas born in 1968.  As with Ron's three brothers, the reasons for the moves are up for speculation since they are not around to ask why.  In Ron's case the one connection I can make is that his wife, Anna Sorensen, was born in Iowa. Rick Bohnstedt confirms this. But she was born in Exira, which is quite some distance west of Davenport, where Ron, Anna and their kids finally landed.


High School pictures; (1) Rolawnda Marie Bohnstedt (2) Ronald Lee Bohnstedt (3) Roxanna Linn Bohnstedt (4) Randall Leroy Bohnstedt

Ron built a business called "Ron Bohnstedt Trucking", and, like his brothers and nephews got involved with stock car racing (an idea he may have gotten from his older brother, Dewayne).  However, according to Wilma Bohnstedt, Ron rarely drove, but left that up to others, most likely his sons, Ronald Lee and Randall Leroy, mostly Ronald Lee.


1. During his life Ron Bohnstedt Sr. built and operated stock cars with his son,
    Ron Bohnstedt Jr.  In this picture Ron Sr. is sitting on the front left tire of the car.
2. According to Ron Jr's daughter, Hannah, Ron's sister, Roxanna had T-shirts
    printed up which said "Bohnstedt Racing".  But when I inquired about the #75
    on the picture of the car, I was told that #75 was not used by either Ron Sr. or Ron Jr.,
    but instead this picture of the race car, with #75 on it was the only race car they
    could find in a selection of computer clip art and they used it.

Ron passed away in 1999 in Bluegrass, Iowa and is buried in Davenport Memorial Park, Davenport, Scott County, Iowa.  When Betty Jean Bohnstedt, Ron's older sister died in 1967, her daughter, Sharon Kay Bohnstedt was only 14, so Ron and Anna took her in to their home as part of their family.  (This was either just before, or just after Ron and Anna and family had moved to Iowa). For that reason Sharon was listed in some obituaries for Ron Bohnstedt as his daughter.


1. The family of Ronald Leroy Bohnstedt in Iowa.  L-R, Back; Sharon Kay Bohnstedt, Rolawnda Bohnstedt,
    Ronald Lee Bohnstedt, Randall Leroy Bohnstedt.  L-R, Front; Anna (Sorensen) Bohnstedt, "Uncle Ronnie's wife,
    and Roxanna Linn Bohnstedt.  This was taken at the time of Ronnie's funeral, or a short time after.
2. Grave of Ronald Leroy "Ronnie" Bohnstedt in Davenport Memorial Park, Davenport, Iowa. 
    His wife, Ann (Sorenson) Bohnstedt is also listed on the marker, but was not deceased when this photo was taken.

Roxanna married in 1990 in Las Vegas to Dean Eggers, and they have two children. To the best of my knowledge Rolawnda and Randall never married, and have no children.  Rolawnda is an officer worker (I am told) and Randall became a heavy equipment operator after leaving the Marine Corps.


1. Ronald Lee Bohnstedt's children; Hannah and her brothers; Jerramie Lee Bohnstedt (striped shirt) and Robert Leroy Bohnstedt
2. Ronald Lee Bohnstedt's daughter, Hannah Louise (Bohnstedt) Patterson

Ronald Lee Bohnstedt made his living as a truck driver and a heavy equipment mechanic.  He also did some construction work.  He married in Davenport Iowa in 1992 to Lorraine Goettsch.  While they were married they had three children; Hannah Louise (1989), Jerramie Lee (1992) and Robert Leroy (1993).  Hannah, an optician, married in 2015 to Tim Patterson, a freight train driver, and they had two children.

       


         

The Last Lap

This story would not be complete without showing how much Dewayne and Kate impacted and enriched the lives, not only of their children, their nephews and nieces and their own children, but also the people in their community.  And the best way that I can do that is to present here a photographic record of the memorial service for Dewayne Bohnstedt when he passed away in June of 2015.


1-2. Logan Macy's #3 fitted with a special rack for Dewayne's casket
3.    Richard Eugene "Rick" Bohnstedt, one of Dewayne's nephews, leaning against his car.
       Dwight Bohnstedt (Ernie and JoAnn Bohnstedt's son, and also a Bohnstedt racer) came
       to the memorial and funeral. He is in the far right of the photo in the orange shirt.

The memorial service was actually held in the Hennessey High School auditorium, something they do when they expect a large turnout, and a church may be too small.  The same thing was done for Dewayne's wife, Kate, and for their daughter, Diane Macy.  After the memorial, the casket was loaded onto the back of Logan Macy's race car (#3).  A special rack with rollers and locks designed for holding caskets was mounted to the trunk for the procession to the cemetery, something the family called Uncle Dewayne's "last ride in a race car".


1.  Rick Bohnstedt's son, Ryan Erick Bohnstedt
2.  Michael Meek was Dewayne's "Great-Nephew"; he is the son of Dewayne's niece, Idessa (Bohnstedt) Meek
3.  Matthew Smith, Logan Macy's stepson

Dewayne's casket was handled by eight pallbearers, all wearing purple shirts (Because Dewayne's cars were always painted "Plum Crazy" Purple).  They were all family: Logan Macy, David Macy, Daniel Wymore, Michael Meek, three sons-in-law of Debra (Bohnstedt) Gaither, and one son-in-law of Rae Wymore (deceased).


1. The funeral procession through the streets of Hennessey; "Uncle Dewayne's Last Ride in a Race Car"
2. Arrival at the cemetery

After loading and securing Dewayne's casket to Logan Macy's car, the procession took to the streets.  These race cars are not street legal at all, and normally they would have to be transported on trailers to the track for race day.  But on this occasion the local police gave special permission to Uncle Dewayne's friends and family to drive these cars on the streets and highways in procession to the cemetery, and they provided a police escort.


1.  At Hennessey Cemetery.  The car in front is a Chevy Monte Carlo
     and was decorated to resemble the NASCAR #3 Monte Carlo driven
     by Dewayne's favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt Sr.
2.  The Pallbearers carrying Dewayne Bohnstedt to his final resting place

Logan Macy drove lead in the funeral procession to the cemetery. There was actually a white hearse in front of Logan Macy.  I asked Wilma Bohnstedt why they needed a hearse.  She thinks perhaps so that other people on the streets would realize that it was a funeral procession.  It's not every day you see a flag draped casket going down the city streets on the trunk lid of a race car.  It also gave the preacher officiating at the burial service something to ride in besides a noisy, vibrating, high-powered race car.  Besides that, some of the family may have been riding in the hearse.


1-2. Grave marker of Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt in Hennessey Cemetery, Hennessey Oklahoma. 
       When Dewayne Passed away in 2015 he was buried next to his beloved Kate.

Following Logan in the procession were seven other drivers; a mix of family, and friends of the family:

- Rick Bohnstedt, #5 (family)
- Ryan Bohnstedt, black/white #05 (Family)
- Michael Meek, black #6 (Family)
- Matthew Smith, blue #5 (Family, Logan's step son)
- Todd Decker, black/white/red #42 (Family, Wilma Bohnstedts cousin)
- Landon Maddox, green/white #47 (Friend of the family)
- Kip Hughes, red #60 (Friend of the family)

The cars in the procession flew checkered flags.  When they arrived at the cemetery for the burial one of the checkered flags on Logan Macy's car (the one carrying the casket) was buried with Uncle Dewayne.  Obaed Dewayne Bohnstedt was laid to rest next to his beloved Kate and his son Logan in Hennessey Cemetery, Hennessey Oklahoma.


When Kate Bohnstedt lost her life in 1995 she was laid
to rest next to her son, Logan, in Hennessey Cemetery.
When Dewayne passed away in 2015 he was buried with Kate.

On the next race day (Wilma Bohnstedt thinks it was just a couple of days after the funeral service) those who had been involved in the funeral procession with their cars participated in a "Memorial Lap" in honor of Uncle Dewayne at the Longdale Speedway, in Longdale, Oklahoma (at the time of the funeral and memorial lap, the race track in Enid where most of the family had been racing, was closed down).


1-2. The Memorial Lap at Longdale Speedway a couple of days later

As with the funeral procession Logan Macy drove in front, but this time, with the pack of cars a bit farther behind him, to honor Dewayne, and perhaps symbolize his leadership in the community.  The cars all flew American flags to honor Dewayne's military service in the Korean War, while Logan Macy's car flew an American flag, and a checkered flag.


1. The Memorial Lap at Longdale Speedway
2. Dewayne Bohnstedt, a year or two before he passed away

Both Dewayne and Kate were held in high regard by a great many people in the community, partly because of their actions in guiding and helping young people. Dewayne was also greatly respected for the contributions he made to the racing culture in the area.  Within his own family he left behind a racing legacy spanning (so far) four generations.


1. A 2008 group photo with seven of the Bohnstedt racers.  Wilma Bohnstedt had T-shirts made with
    this picture (click on the thumbnail pic to see an enlargement, and names)
2. A 2012 group photo of some of the Bohnstedt racers with their cars at the Texas Motor Speedway

This family's passion for stock car racing was started by Obaed Dewayne Bohnstedt and his wife Kate, first with his son Logan, and then his nephews after his brother Richard James "Jim" Bohnstedt died in 1973 and they began spending their afternoons with Uncle Dewayne in his garage.  That passion spread to his grandsons, and to Jim's grandsons. Love of racing has defined this family, and it is still doing so, even after the death of "Uncle Dewayne" in 2015, the last of the 1st Generation Racers.  Like any family they have had their differences from time to time, but what they have in common never goes away; that love of speed on four wheels.  For the last few years now, we have seen the new crop of race drivers developing their skills by driving smaller versions of sprint racers - "karts" - on dirt tracks.  These are the 4th Generation Racers.

     


      

Dewayne Bohnstedt's Legacy; 4th Generation Racers

This is one of the legacies of Obaed Dewayne "Uncle Dewayne" Bohnstedt; generation after generation of the Bohnstedt Racing Dynasty in Oklahoma.  These are the Great-Grandchildren of Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt and Jim and Frances Bohnstedt.  Love of racing has been passed down generation to generation from their great-grandfather and his brothers, from their grandparents and great-uncles, and from their parents and aunts and uncles, until it somehow got into the DNA. I first learned about these diminutive drivers several years ago from Mindy (Bohnstedt) Buntin, whose daughter, EmmaLee was one of the first. If I recall correctly Mindy told me "we start them young out here!"


The racing legacy of Dewayne and Kate Bohnstedt;
four generations of racers

I asked Dewayne's daughter, Debbie Gaither, if Dewayne was aware of the latest generation of racers following in his footsteps.  She told me that he was aware, but in his later years his health was failing, and although he sometimes gave verbal advice to the parents of these young guns, he usually didn't get directly involved in a physical way.

With regard to the tradition of building racing karts for the kids who aspire to be race drivers, I was told this: many years ago people modified go-karts to turn them into mini-racers, but they are now purpose-built for dirt tracks.  The frames are integral with the roll cages, and those box wings on top are not there just to make them look like the full size sprint racers; according to James Allen Bohnstedt and Jessie Buntin they actually perform the function of keeping the vehicle more solidly on the ground, while reducing the likelihood of the Kart toppling over and rolling in turns by creating lateral wind resistance above the kart.  The drivers are solidly harnessed in, just as they would be in a full size race car and wear helmets and fire retardant suits.


1-4. Ann-Marie Bohnstedt, about 2015.  Ann-Marie is the daughter of Carl Dean Bohnstedt Jr. and Amber (Buntin) Bohnstedt.  In the second picture she is being assisted with her helmet by her uncle Jessie Buntin, Mindy (Bohnstedt) Buntin's husband.


1-2. EmmaLee Buntin, about 2015.  EmmaLee is the daughter of Mindy (Bohnstedt) Buntin and Jessie Buntin
3. 2nd Cousins, friends, and racing colleagues: Ann-Marie Bohnstedt and EmmaLee Buntin


1. Mother-Daughter racing; Mindy (Bohnstedt) Buntin and EmmaLee Buntin
    This was probably in 2016

2. EmmaLee Buntin, about 2018


1. Chase Buntin, EmmaLee's younger brother, took over
    his sister's racing number 14 when she "retired" from
    racing.  This is his kart.
2. Same kart.  The elaborate "paint jobs" are usually done
    with wraps instead of paint.  I've been told by Chase's mother
    (Mindy Buntin) that Chase's dad has purchased a wrap machine,
    so we can probably expect a few more external decorative
    changes before Chase retires from Kart Racing
3. Chase Buntin; Victory


1-3. Chase Buntin also drives in the Junior Sprint class


1-3. Tatum Ryan Bohnstedt


1. Tatum's new cart.  Tatum has acquired some professional sponsors
2. Tatum Bohnstedt now has two new karts in his stable, #01 and #01T. 
    #01T is the less powerful of the two.  There are different classes of
    races for different types of karts with different power ratings.  Tatum
    now races in two different classes.
2. Zaylie Nicole Bohnstedt, James Allen Bohnstedt's daughter


1-2. This gallery would not be complete without Michael and Meghan Meek's son, Taecyn.  Since he could barely walk Taecyn has been in love with racing, being around it, helping out with the big cars, and also, I am told, driving karts for a time.  Here he is helping uncle Rick and cousin Ryan with one of the race cars.
3.  Taecyn Meek at the Texas Motor Speedway


1-2. Jena Macy and her sister Juliana both drove for a little while.  They drove a class of karts called "Adult Yard Karts", which are like the karts driven by the younger children, but have a larger roll cage built for adults, and the engines are more powerful

           

     

See Also:
3-18 /
Lewis Bohnstedt; Rebuilding a Family History
3-20 /
The Descendants of Charles D. Bohnstedt in Arkansas and California
3-37 /
Genealogy 3-3-9: America; Arkansas, California, Oklahoma and Iowa

 

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