Local sisters gave birth to New Year’s babies 50 years ago

Left, Angela Prange with her mother, Patricia Ford. Right, Robert Foster with his mother, Betty Foster.

The New Year’s Baby is a personification of the start of the new year commonly seen in editorial cartoons. It symbolizes the “birth” of the next year and that the “old” year is a thing of the past — in other words, a rebirth.

It’s rare enough for a mother to give birth to a child on New Year’s Day. But 50 years ago, two Valmeyer sisters accomplished the amazing feat together.

During the morning of Jan. 1, 1963, Patricia (Mehrmann) Ford was rushed to St. Clement’s Hospital in Red Bud because she was in labor.

At 12:52 p.m., she gave birth to the first baby of the new year in this area, a six pound, four ounce daughter named Angela Kay.

Not to be outdone, Patricia’s sister, Betty (Mehrmann) Foster, also felt labor pains later that day. Due to her husband not being available at the time, Patricia’s husband also rushed Betty to the same Red Bud hospital.

At 10:35 p.m., she gave birth to a seven pound, nine ounce son, Robert Glenn.

“We were even in the same room together,” Patricia Ford remembers of that rarest of occasions. “It was a pretty special day for us, for sure.”

Fifty years later, Angela is now married to Bill Prange, and they reside here in Waterloo.

Her cousin with the same birthday, Robert, is married to wife, Brandy, and they currently reside near Gainesville, Fla.

That’s not far from where his parents, Betty and Glenn, now reside — they live in Green Cove Springs, Fla.

Meanwhile, Patricia and Charles Ford now reside in Red Bud.

Patricia and Betty are the daughters of Marie Mehrmann of Valmeyer.

And though the Mehrmann sisters and their offspring are sepa- rated by more than 800 miles today, there is always this one special tie that binds.

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