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Sometime between 11 and 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, 1933, Nels Pedersen Louvring, 51, was shot at his Fayette, Iowa home shortly after arriving home from work.
Louvring, owner of Dixie Oil Co. (aka Nels Louvring Filling Station), left the filling station at approximately 11 p.m. He parked his car in the family’s 315 Water Street garage, and was shot just as he was leaving the garage.
A .38 caliber bullet — which entered Louvring’s left side just above his waist and exited near his right shoulder — indicated the perpetrator had been kneeling and/or sitting low in wait to ambush Louvring.
Louvring staggered from the yard towards his home’s kitchen door, where he finally collapsed.
Officials found him dead in a pool of blood, the cigar cash box and keys still near the victim’s hands. A .38 caliber shell casing was found embedded in the wood near the garage door.
Louvring’s [second] wife Amy, and his stepdaughter’s family found him collapsed over the kitchen threshold — cash and receipts scattered around him — shortly after they heard the shot. The entire family — including Louvring’s wife, his stepdaughter, stepson, and their respective spouses — had been at the store that night and departed the Main St. business just half an hour before Louvring left the business to return home.
See Nels Louvring’s detailed timeline at www.iowaz.info/surname/louvring.htm.
Fayette County Sheriff Henry J. “H.J.” Nehring ruled out robbery as a motive, and by 6 p.m. Sunday, two state agents arrived on scene with bloodhounds. The dogs allegedly picked up a trail leading north to the Volga River, then up the river toward Klock’s Island and down the river toward Fayette, though found nothing concrete to file in official reports.
Louvring’s murder was the second in Fayette County in six months. Ashley Downing, a 77-year-old chicken farmer living in rural Westgate was killed by a shotgun blast to the head on Jan. 4, 1933. His murder also remains unsolved.
Born June 17, 1882 in Dallerup, Denmark to Inger Marie and Peter Nelson Louvring, Nels Louvring worked as a tile layer before going on to help pioneer what is known today as the “automotive recycler” or “auto wrecker” business.
A self-employed junk dealer in Sept. 1918, Louvring applied for U.S. citizenship in Fayette County, Iowa, in Feb. 1919. He was naturalized at West Union, Iowa, in April 1921.
Already known as a major tiler around Fayette County, he established “Fayette Auto Wrecking Company” in 1924; his idea of collecting hundreds of junked vehicles and then parting them out was a relatively new kind of business.
Louvring, who previously served with the Danish Army before boarding a ship to England and then sailing to America, first worked laying tiles after moving to the U.S. It was through his work as a tiler that he met Edron and Amy (nee Bailey) Brimmer; Amy and Edron would later divorce and Amy would marry Louvring.
Louvring and his first wife, Mary Inger, had been married in Denmark and had a daughter, but were divorced in Black Hawk County, Iowa, in 1910. Louvring married Amy Bailey Brimmer in Oct. 1911.
While living with his new wife and her family members on Water Street in Fayette, Louvring became interested in cars and the salvage business.
Nels and Amy Louvring bought their own Water street home in Oct. 1917. Amy continued living at the 315 Water St. residence until her death in 1962.
Funeral services for Nels Louvring were conducted at the Fayette Methodist Episcopal Church at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1, 1933. The Rev. Virgil Welch of Upper Iowa university faculty and Dr. C.C. Hall, Maynard, officiated.
Burial was in Grandview Cemetery in Fayette.
If you have any information regarding Nels Louvring’s unsolved murder, please contact the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office at (563) 422-6067.