Nicholas “Nick” Adam Liblong was born July 23, 1915 in Almont, Lapeer, Michigan to Nicholas J. Liblong (1890-1969) and Emma Anna Kempf Liblong (1892-1980). He was a first generation American.
Grandpa Nick, as I knew him, was born August 23, 1890 in Molin in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Molin no longer exists. It was located in what is now the Banat region of Serbia. That is in northeastern Serbia and was a primarily German speaking section of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Balkan region of Eastern Europe is an area which has experienced ethic and religious conflicts for centuries. After World War II the Serbian communists rounded up all of the German speaking people of the village of Molin and accused them of collaboration with the Nazis. That was never proven but the entire village became a prison where many were shot or starved to death. This prison camp lasted until 1948. There were 11 Lieblangs who died in the prison camp. The village was founded in 1832 but in 1961 the village was abandoned because of a flood.
Because of the constant ethnic conflicts, Nick’s grandfather, Nicklas, decided to send Nicholas to America to avoid the war that they felt was coming. Nicholas left Europe aboard the ship Kronprinz Wilhelm and arrived at Ellis Island in New York harbor on October 14, 1906. He would not return to Molin and never saw his parents again. At Ellis Island, the family name was changed from Lieblang to Liblong. He would become a citizen of the Unites States on January 15, 1924.
Nick’s uncle, Josef, came to America in 1921. He moved to Flint and went to work in the auto plants. He married Elizabeth Wolfe in 1931 but they didn’t have any children. He died in 1946 and was laid to rest in the Hough Cemetery in Almont.
Nick’s dad, Nicholas, traveled from New York to Cincinnati, Ohio. On July 23, 1910, Nicholas married Emma Anna Kempf in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio. Emma was born on October 4, 1892 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She came to America about 1905, probably with her parents.
After their marriage, they moved to Berville in St. Clair County, Michigan and then to Almont. Grandpa Nick initially worked in Detroit. He eventually took a job at Hurd Lock and retired from there when the company moved to Tennessee in 1962. He then went to work as the full time custodian at the First Congregational Church. Nicholas and Emma’s first child was a stillborn son on October 29, 1912 in Almont. The baby was buried in Hough Cemetery in Almont. Son, Joseph John Liblong was born November 11, 1913 in Almont, followed by Nicholas Adam Liblong.
Nick graduated from Almont High School in 1933. A whole-school picture of the students in the Almont School for the year 1920-1921 was taken when Nick was in kindergarten. Nick put a marker on the picture showing his location in the photo. The photo is in the museum. While in school he set the school record for the 120-yard low hurdles at 15 seconds flat.
In the late 1930s, he met and courted Lois Lee Carpenter of Capac. They were married on May 3, 1939 in Capac, St. Clair, Michigan. They moved to Almont and Nick was working as an independent contractor doing roofing.
Lois Lee Carpenter was born on February 18, 1919 in Capac, St. Clair County, Michigan to Percy Adelbert Carpenter (1894-1935) and Gertrude Lee Carpenter (1898-1969). She was an only child. Lois grew up in Capac. She graduated from Capac High School in 1938. Lois and Nick moved to Almont after their marriage.
They would have two children; daughter Sharon born in 1941 and son Richard, “Rick,” born in 1947.
After getting married, Nick went to work as a sheet metal journeyman at Thermotank Inc. in Detroit. Over the years, Nick worked his way into management and eventually was plant manager until his retirement in 1979.
To relax and in retirement, Nick liked to work with his hands. He built furniture for friends and toys for the neighbor children. Nick was an excellent model maker. Six of his models are on display in the Almont Community Historical Society museum.
Nick was elected Worshipful Master of the Almont Masonic Lodge during their centennial year in 1953. In the 1960s, Nick served on the Village Council.
Lois died on December 10, 1974 in Almont. She was laid to rest in the Capac Cemetery, in Capac.
In 1976, Nick got married for a second time to Joyce Mildred Hougum Tong from Imlay City. Nick and Joyce were together for 15 years until her death on February 22, 2001 in Lapeer. She was laid to rest next to her first husband, William Tong, in Imlay Cemetery in Imlay City.
Nick was co-Grand Marshal for the 2000 Homecoming parade. After his family, the loves of Nick’s life were his antique automobiles. He would often drive his antique cars in the Homecoming parade carrying one of the Queens or other dignitaries. His last classic automobile was a 1964-½ Mustang convertible with a red body and white top. Former President Bill Clinton bought it from Rick in 2012.
Herb Gould formerly of Almont and now from California, who was Nick’s close friend for 85 years, told the story of he and Nick’s car washing business called “Gould and Liblong.” They even had business cards printed.
Nick died on December 15, 2004 in Almont. He was laid to rest next to Lois in the Capac Cemetery.
Copies of the Almont Historical Society’s various books can be purchased by contacting Jim Wade at 810-796-3355 or email@example.com or stopping by the museum on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m.