Johnsburg's Independence celebration set for Saturday July 6 at the North Creek Ski Bowl not only features a re-dedication of the Ski Bowl lodge to World War II P.O.W. Joe Minder at 3 p.m. but fireworks, children’s activities, food, crafts, and vendors. A town parade occurs at 11 a.m. down Main St. in North Creek.
continued Minder survived apparently through both his faith and his determination to give his comrades a decent burial. Minder volunteered in the prison camps to bury the dozen or more who died each day.
Minder recalled in 1996 how conditions grew even more brutal in his latter two years as a prisoner, with the Japanese guards beating POWs mercilessly as they dug ditches, labored in swamps and buried the dead.
Freed by Allied forces after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Minder returned to his hometown of North Creek, where he recuperated from the memories that haunted him, as well as receiving treatment to restore his health.
Minder met Hazel Allen who worked at Dr. Glenn’s office, and the two were married in 1948 and subsequently raised a family in North Creek. Their two sons, Bob and Jack, both acquired their parents’ passion for skiing. Bob Minder, once a ski instructor, is now working for a commercial roofing contractor. Jack Minder, formerly a ski patrolman and instructor, now grooms ski slopes as an employee of Gore Mountain.
In 1996, Minder recalled how he began skiing in 1924 after his teacher at the two-room North River schoolhouse lent him skis — and local children would practice skiing in cow pastures.
Later in his youth, he skied on trails that would later be developed on Gore Mountain. Minder recalled how these trails were originally packed down by stomping them down with snowshoes.
Having acquired a keen interest in the sport in his teen years, skiing provided vital therapy for Minder when he returned to North Creek, Hazel Minder, now 88, recalled this week. She remembered how skiing helped him recover from the horrors of prison camp.
“Returning from war, skiing is what he wanted to do — he enjoyed it so much — it was a form of therapy,” she said. “When he skied, he wouldn’t think of anything else, and it helped him recover from his experiences as a P.O.W..”