NORMAN — Al Loeffelholz Jr., a longtime Norman banker and the grandson of a German immigrant who staked a claim in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, has been selected as this year’s ’89’er Day parade grand marshal, the organizing committee announced this week.
The parade, scheduled for 10 a.m. April 12 in downtown Norman, commemorates the spring day in 1889 when much of central Oklahoma was opened for settlement.
Loeffelholz, a lifelong Norman resident and longtime executive with Security National Bank and Trust Co. in Norman, is the son of Al and Anna Loeffelholz and the grandson of Alois and Josephine (Amrein) Rieger. All are deceased.
His grandfather, Alois Rieger, was orphaned in Germany. He came to America and worked on the railroad tracks being built in Oklahoma. He stayed to participate in the land run.
Alois Rieger homesteaded in the southeast part of Cleveland County near Banner School and later moved to Norman to be closer to their church and schools.
Loeffelholz said the committee’s selection gave him cause to think about his ancestors and their path to America.
“I remember his hard work,” Loeffelholz said. “He had 80 acres at Northeast 12th and Robinson Street and raised a family of five on that farm.”
Loeffelholz worked in his father’s grocery store on East Main Street, attended the University of Oklahoma and then worked at Security National Bank for more than 30 years.
Al and Jeannene Loeffelholz have four children, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They’re still figuring out who will ride in the grand marshal’s carriage but most will be here for the festivities.
This year’s parade will break tradition and begin at Main Street and Crawford Avenue and head west — the wrong way — on Main Street and terminate at Lahoma Avenue.
“Like the settlers, we’re headed west,” said parade spokesman Stefanie Brickman of the city’s Convention and Tourism Bureau.