- Alumni Century Endowment
The Alumni Century Endowment was established in 2004. Proceeds from the successful 2004 All School Reunion enabled the Foundation to initiate the Endowment.
The fund will be used to give grants to School District #564 to enhance their education programs.
Contributions to the Alumni Century Endowment are always welcome
- Swenson Endowment Fund
Lowell and Marge have believed in the power of an excellent education and have demonstrated it with their commitment to The Thief River Falls Education Foundation.
Lowell and Marge Swenson came to Thief River Falls in 1959 to work with Dow Key. Lowell later went on to work with Arctic, becoming the President/CEO. Mrs. Swenson became extremely active in the community. Their sons; David, Alan, Robert and Philip all graduated from Lincoln High School and have gone on to lead successful lives in their chosen fields of interest. The Swensons have definitely felt the quality of education their sons received, enabled them to go out into the world and pursue their dreams.
The pursuit of dreams, is something that the Swensons have felt strongly, needs to be encouraged in students. Opening horizons to youth, by offering them innovative programming in addition to a solid, strong educational base, allows children to expand and to fully develop themselves, as individuals.
The Swenson’s keen interest in education and their generous donations has helped the TRF Education Foundation fund a great number of innovative projects within the school that would not have otherwise been possible.
- Gladys Person Memorial Endowment
The Gladys Person Memorial Endowment was established in 2002 with a gift over $400,000.
Gladys Person was born on July 21, 1907, one of five children of Christ and Hulda Person. Christ came to America in 1888, and Gladys grew up with her siblings in Bray Township. All of the Person children were baptized and confirmed at Black River Lutheran Church, and the house on the Person farm is the same house that was built in 1905 on the first 40 acres before more acreage was purchased later.
Gladys remained at home to assist with the family farm operation, doing the bookkeeping, cooking, and gardening. She earned many ribbons at flower shows and grew flowers for wedding arrangements. She and her sister, Hazel, also took pride in helping plant and care for a flowerbed on the corner of SAR3 and the Black River Church road. Gladys’ other hobbies included crocheting and quilting.
Hazel Person worked as a cook at the Fountain Cafe In Thief River Falls in addition to working on the family farm. She died in 1983. Marvin, one of Gladys’ three brothers, served in the Army during World War II and then returned to Bray Township where he farmed until his death in 1977. Brother Clarence was stricken with polio as a child and never walked although he could do many of the same things others did, including shingling the family cattle barn. Clarence also drove the farm machinery and enjoyed deer hunting. His transportation around the farmyard was a riding lawn tractor. He died in 1987. Elmer, who was known as “Conrad,” moved to Alden where he was employed at Wilson and Co. He died in 1964.
Gladys was the last surviving Person sibling. She died in March of 2001 and left a legacy and tradition of continuing quality education in Thief River Falls.
- Orin and Marge Green Family Endowment
Orin and Marge moved to Thief River Falls in 1954, when Orin and his father, Olger, purchased a funeral home. Orin operated the funeral home until his retirement in 1992. Orin served as the Thief River Falls mayor from 1960-1968, and became a member of the Police Civil Service Commission in 1972. Orin had an impact on many people’s lives from helping a neighbor, providing a listening ear, or financial help with medical bills.
Orin and Marge were active in their church, where Orin often provided a voice of reason when it was needed. Their three children Carter, Lori, and Sarah, all graduated from Lincoln High School. Orin and Marge enjoyed spending time as volunteers at Challenger Elementary School.
Orin passed away in 2005. The students at Challenger Elementary planted a tree in his memory.
- Andy and Mollie Williamson Memorial Endowment
"The Foundation is a wonderful cause," are the words heard from the Williamsons when word was received that Allan and Marvel Williamson were naming an endowment through the TRF Education Foundation in honor of Allan’s parents. This endowment fulfills a desire and expresses gratitude for the Williamson’s to give back, while promoting excellence in education. Allan ’49 is retired from Banta Book Group, where he served as president.
- Gene and Gretchen Beito Endowment
Gene and Gretchen Beito express gratitude by giving back through their contribution made to establish their endowment.
The endowment is a particularly fitting tribute to the extraordinary careers and commitment of Gene and Gretchen to the Thief River Falls community. The appreciation of the education their three children received and the excellence in education their grandchildren are now receiving at School District #564.
Gene joined Northern State Bank in 1960 and was elected vice-president and director. In 1965 he was elected to president and chairman of the board of directors to succeed his father. When Gene retired in 1994, David Beito, son of Gene and Gretchen, then was named president of the bank. The father and son duo continue to fully support the bank’s commitment to the community. "Having faith and courage to believe in the people you live with has been important to the success of Northern State Bank," states Gene and exemplifies the 48 years of Gene’s devotion.
Gretchen, to one for whom education is of central importance, was an elementary teacher and is a published author. She has received numerous awards for her community involvement. She served on the Thief River Falls Education Foundation Board. Gretchen started up both Discovery Place Child Care and the Art Adventure program in Challenger Elementary School where she continues to volunteer.
Created as an endowment, the Beitos’ gift will touch and inspire new generations of students. The funds will be administrated by the Thief River Falls Education Foundation.
- Hess Family Endowment
"Give your givin' while you're livin', then you're knowin' where it's goin."
This suggestion from a church official is one of the sayings which Phil Hess has kept in mind as he and his wife, Sharline, have shared the fruits of their success with others, including the Thief River Falls Education Foundation. It is also a suggestion they believe others could heed as they consider various ways of best using their resources.
"Education is everything," is the way Hess succinctly sums up his interest in assisting young people in getting a strong foundation for the future during their formative years. "Elementary school, junior high school, senior high school-- those are where students explore their interests, learn their values and develop the character that will go far in determining the success they have in higher education and their entire future lives," he added.
Phil, who was involved in the Thief River Falls retail community for nearly half a century, has an abiding appreciation for a group of high quality teachers who guided his own education, especially at Lincoln high school, where he graduated in the Class of 1942. "Miss Greenland, Blanche Larson, Mrs. Korstad, Clarence Pope, Dr. Mayer-Oakes, Bill Claffy..." the names of dedicated educators spring clearly from his memory.
"Morris Bye was the superintendent when we moved into what was then the new Lincoln high school," he added. "I was a junior and remember how proud we were of that new building with its huge gymnasium and real theater. Both of those facilities have served the public well for more than 60 years and are a tribute to the sacrifice and foresight of our parents and others who designed and built them. Now we have to carry on our part of the load.
"Those educators from my day all gave a lot of themselves to their students," he said, "and I was fortunate to be one of them. Largely because of their guidance and example, I was able to enjoy a certain amount of success in life. Now I have an opportunity to honor them by sharing to some extent in the interest they had in creating better lives for their students."
While Hess properly credits his teachers for their influence in his life, his work ethic and determination were instilled in earlier years. He moved to Thief River Falls with his parents at the age of two, and years later was self-employed shining shoes at Syvert Benson's barber shop. Even at the going rate of 15 cents
per shine, there were some days he did no business, but he persevered and on a good Saturday he could earn up to four to five dollars--big money for a little guy.
Phil's "shining" success didn't come without its costs, however. As "rent" for having his business in the barber shop, he had the janitorial responsibility of keeping the shop clean, including sweeping and scrubbing the floor, washing the windows, sweeping sidewalks and cleaning spittoons.
After graduating from Lincoln, he enrolled at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, but attended only one semester before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, where he served for three years. Following his military service, and having worked in retail for Al Purdy at his clothing store and Roy Oen at his department store, he decided that what he really wanted to do was to get into the jewelry business.
"While I had been sitting at the shoe shine stand, I would see the big, black, expensive cars pull up in front of Elofson's Jewelers and the salesmen go in with their cases," he said, "and I thought there must be something worthwhile going on there. I needed 8,000 hours of experience and training to become a certified watchmaker, so I went to work for Harold Elofson and began learning on the job."
Later, Hess went to Denver, Colorado, for watch making school, and returned in 1950 with not only his graduation certificate and his license, but his new bride, the former Sharline Rasmussen of Denver. He continued to work for Elofson until 1951, when he and his employer partnered in starting The Jewel Box in a small space in the Falls Theatre building on LaBree Avenue. Two years later he bought out Elofson's interest in the store, and in 1959 he purchased the former Elofson Jewelry from Bill Watzke, who had bought it after Elofson's death.
"We moved the business into the store on Third Street and in 1964 we doubled its size," Phil said. It continued to be his place of operation until he closed it out in 1990 and retired. Three years ago the Hesses built and moved in to a new home in the Park Rapids area, so Phil and Sharline could be near their son Jeff and Phil could increase his work at Northern Pines United Methodist Camp, the church-owned camp which he has adopted as one of his retirement projects. His current efforts are aimed at restoring an A-frame chapel which he and other volunteers built in the 1950s.
"I considered it a privilege to attend the same church (United Methodist) in Thief River Falls as L. B. Hartz, Lowell Swenson and Orin Green, several of the people who, I felt, were not only successful businessmen but extremely generous in giving back to their community," Phil said. "They were great
examples and I watched and learned from them. And they were part of what I believe to be one of the greatest giving towns in number of benevolent people that there is anywhere."
Over the years, Hess served nearly all of the offices he could serve in his church, as well as being active in the Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce and Lions Club. He was a charter member of the Northland Community College Foundation and headed its formation with President Alex Easton. "We wanted to raise $100,000 from charter members at $1,000 each, and we raised about $80,000," he recalls. "Just recently that foundation paid out about $80,000 in one round off scholarships and grants, thanks to the support it has received."
Phil and Sharline's four children all graduated form Lincoln high school and their daughter Cynthia graduated from Northwestern College in Roseville before becoming a medical secretary. She now lives on a wheat farm at Richey, Montana. Their three sons - Steve, Jeff and Peter - all attended Northland college in Thief River Falls. Steve graduated from the Minnesota School of Business and worked in the local store for 10 years before starting and operating The Jewel Box in Grand Forks for a number of years. Now retired, he has purchased a small ranch at Ryegate, Montana and raises Arabian horses.
Jeff graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield and worked at the store for six years. He is employed by an Amish furniture retail store at Park Rapids, Minnesota. Peter graduated from Moorhead State University (now the University of Minnesota, Moorhead) and worked at the store a short time before opening his own jewelry store and becoming internationally recognized through his nine years with the Gemological Institute of America. He died tragically in 2002 of a blood clot while recovering in the hospital from injuries suffered in a fall from a ladder at his home near San Juan Capistrano in California.
"I consider myself a religious person," Hess said, "and I believe God has a purpose for all of us. He has blessed me in a way that has allowed me to share some of those blessings, and I have enjoyed being able to give back to my home community and the future of some of its young people. I encourage all those who are able to share to any extent to do so as best they can. What better way is there to invest in tomorrow than to help positively influence our children of today?"
~ Article Written by Marvin Lundin
- Full Stride Fund
The Full Stride Fund has been established in memory of Curtis and Marlene (Hanson) Johnson, in order to enable youth participation in various growth activities. Marlene and Curtis were both lifelong residents of the Thief River Falls area whose children, Susanne, Paul, and Jana attended Thief River Falls public schools and participated in several extracurricular activities. Marlene and Curtis were avid supporters of various youth activities, including 4-H, Scouts, Band, and athletic programs. They believed that the extracurricular activities and experiences, when combined with a good education, would provide youth with the opportunity flourish in whatever area they chose. It was important to them that any child who wanted to participate in an activity have that opportunity, and that is the philosophy behind the Full Stride Fund.
"Growing up, participation in activities that would help us develop were always prioritized above buying new cars or clothes," noted Paul Johnson, now of Excelsior, MN. "We always found a way participate in a sport or take a trip we had earned. That was very important to them." The concern that children be able to engage in positive activities extend beyond their own children, as Curtis and Marlene did what they could to ensure all children were exposed to opportunities to grow.
Marlene Johnson died in February, 2003, and her husband Curtis died five years later in February, 2008. This Fund is meant to continue their work of enabling youth to participate in activities that will allow them to reach their full potential.
- Prowler Pride Fund
- Wallace & Delores Torkelson Scholarship
Kari Torkelson presented Karleen Wilde
with the 2022 Delores & Wallace Torkelson Scholarship.
Growing up in Thief River Falls and graduating from Lincoln High School, Wallace and Delores Torkelson shared a love of their community and an interest in providing opportunities for young people to succeed.
Parents of five children, they saw how important scholastic achievement and leadership abilities were in building self-esteem. They taught their children that there were no barriers to what they could accomplish.
As a Girl Scout through high school, Delores (Dodie) Torkelson saw firsthand how Girl Scouts develop the skills and lessons that serve them throughout their life. The friendships she made during her years in a troop led by Mrs. L. B. Hartz lasted her lifetime.
The Delores and Wallace Torkelson Scholarship Fund was started to provide scholarships to young women who have learned leadership skills from participating in at least five years of Girl Scouts, in order that they may continue toward their lifetime of leadership by attending college and, hopefully, giving back to their communities.
This scholarship will go to a Lincoln High School graduate with a 3.5 GPA who has displayed leadership skills from participating in service organizations with preference given to a current or former Girl Scout.
- Mattson Family Endowment
Ardith (Ardy) E. Mattson was born in Thief River Falls. She attended Northrop Elementary School and Lincoln High School graduating in 1938. Ardy was a bookkeeper at Land O'Lakes and later Popplers Furniture. Clarence W. Mattson Jr. was a business manager of the Thief River Falls Times.
- Seaverson Endowment
- William Borry Endowment
William Borry was born and raised in Thief River Falls, MN, he was a Korean War Vet. After leaving the army he worked for Greyhound in Minneapolis. In Feb 1959 he began business as a shell station-owner/operator at 42 & Douglas Dr in crystal. In 1967 he began Modern Trailer RV dealership on Hey 81 in Osseo, which did business there until 2012. Bill was active in Osseo Business Associations and several recreational dealer associations. Bill was a friend to many people.
- Joan Magnuson Endowment
- '74 Prowlers Music Endowment
- Buckley Band Kid Endowment
- Class of 1949 Endowment
- Class of 1965 Endowment
- Class of 1968 Endowment
This endowment was started by the class of 1968 to help other classmates in need get home for a reunion.
- Class of 1973 Endowment
- Class of 1975 Endowment
- Class of 1997 Endowment
- DeLap Family Endowment
Jean DeLap established the DeLap family education enhancement fund in memory of her husband and LHS alumni Kenneth DeLap class of 1958. Kenneth attended the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota Dental School. Ken practiced dentistry in North Dakota for over 25 years. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoy the North Dakota Badlands. Kenneth's siblings include Janet Griffith, Roger DeLap, Gordy DeLap and Paula DeLap, all graduated from Lincoln High School. The DeLap Family Education Enhancement fund is set ip to enhance the areas of science, library, athletics and citizenship in School District #564. Kenneth taught Chemistry, Physics and General Science; he used these sciences every day. Kenneth visited the local libraries on a regular basis and encouraged everyone in the family to use this resource. Kenneth enjoyed all sports, both team and individual. He excelled in tennis where he played on the team representing the University of North Dakota. He also played intramural basketball during his time spent at dental school and while serving in the U.S. Army. Ken loved the sport of hockey and participated in the senior league until age 55, when he hung up his skates. Lastly, the focus for this fund is citizenship. His wife, Jean, described Kenneth in one word: Fair. He organized competitive play so that everyone, regardless of ability, had a good time. Kenneth was always thinking of his fellow man. He would be the first to stop and help a stranger, the first step in if he saw bullying. Kenneth did not tolerate prejudice of any kind.
- Hempel Fine Arts Endowment
- Dr. Earl & Melvine Dagg Endowment
- Roger & Ardy Tunberg Endowment
Kade Hanson & Hannah Cleven received the Roger & Ardy Tunberg scholarship, presented by (left) Thomas Tunberg (Rogers nephew), Ardy Tunberg & Jeff Tunberg (Rogers Nephew).
Roger and Ardy Tunberg, longtime supporters of the TRF Education Foundation, have established a special endowment with the Foundation.
27 years ago, Roger was one of the founders of the TRF Education Foundation and has continued to be great resource for the Foundation. Roger recalls how the TRF Education Foundation started:
In 1990, Superintendent Robert Duncan invited nine graduates to meet with him and discuss forming an Education Foundation. The nine graduates were Roger Tunberg class of 1946, Dr. John Seaverson class of ‘65, Jane Mattson class of ‘67, Mark Naplin class of ‘72, Dale Wennberg class of ‘60, Dick Bjorkman class of ‘52, Denise Nelson class of ‘84, and Paul Ihle class of ’68.
After discussions at a few meetings,all agreed it was a great idea with the purpose of generating income for other educational opportunities with no money going into the operation of the general school system. After a very short time discussing funding, the TRF Education Association surprised the Foundation with their confidence and gave the Foundation $10,000 from their dues to start/continue the Thief River Falls Education Foundation.
Then, as president, Roger Tunberg, was instructed to write a letter to the graduates of Lincoln High School, with the exception of the graduates from the 10 most recent years, to support the Foundation. The alumni were very responsive and loyal. The Foundation received amounts of $10, $20, to $500 and even up to $10,000 from a great giving group of loyal alumni.
Roger and Ardy are very active in the community. Roger was an owner and operator of Tunberg Motor Company through 1998. Roger was involved in attracting new businesses to the community and on various boards supporting the community.
Roger and Ardy continue to be an inspiration to the Thief River Falls Education Foundation and now through their Endowment they will be giving to both grants and scholarships annually.
- Thune Family Endowment
- Bakke Endowment (Joanie & Dennis, Brookie & Kennedy)
- Blake Torkelson Endowment
Blake Torkelson felt that life should always be fun! He loved hunting of any sort. Waterfowl, deer, coyote, or the occasional squirrel in the back yard, Blake was on the pursuit. He was hard working, dedicated and always happy to help a friend in need. Blake enjoyed helping on the farm, working on his vehicles, four-wheeler and snowmobile. After graduation, Blake starting working with Bergstrom Electric as an apprentice and with that experience he knew what he wanted to pursue in life. Most of all, Blake loved making people laugh.
Establishing this scholarship are Blake’s parents Brett and Danita and his sister Kora, Blake’s classmates of 2013, Danita’s classmates of 1994, and from the proceeds of donations given in Blake’s memory.
This scholarship will be awarded to a Lincoln High School graduate who is enrolled in a technical program or apprenticeship program, preference will be given to a student pursuing the electrical field. $500 is paid directly to the school second semester or to the apprenticeship program.
- Bob Miller Endowment
- Jerry Stenseth Endowment
- TRF Foundation Endowment
TRF Foundation Endowment was started by a group of friends of Thief River that gave out loans to TRF students who attend NCTC. Money generated goes to fund grants and scholarships.
- My Very Own Book Endowment (Jean L. Dickinson)
- Class of 1977, Jerry Stenseth Endowment
- Forsberg Inc. Endowment
- Les's Sanitation Endowment
- Class of 1985 Endowment
- Class of 1993 Endowment Scholarship
This endowment was started by the class of 1993 and Rick Ostby family, on August 23, 2021 to help fund the Rick Ostby Memorial Scholarship.
- Curtis Lyle Charlson Endowment
Curtis Lyle Charlson, was a long-time Thief River Falls resident, trial attorney and community leader. Curtis and Marilyn’s seven children were educated in the Thief River Falls school system Karen, Mark, Steven, Kirsten, Kathryn, Elaine and Eric.
While in the Navy in the 1940s, Mr. Charlson attended communications school at Harvard and received his undergraduate degree at Bowling Green University. He received his law degree in 1950 at the University of Minnesota. As a Naval Reserve Officer, Mr. Charlson was recalled to serve during the Korean Conflict in March 1951, where he was a Communications Officer with the Admiral of the 7th Fleet in the Pacific. Upon his return from the Korean Conflict, Mr. Charlson served as a member of the newly formed Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the Navy.
Mr. Charlson moved to Thief River Falls and began his practice of law with Hans Chommie in November 1959. Mr. Charlson was elected as County Attorney for four years early in his career, but for most of his practice, he was the senior member of his own law firm.
Mr. Charlson was active in the Thief River Falls community; he was elected as the first president of the Friends of the Library, president of the Northwestern Hospital Board, Chairman of the School Board and served on the First Federal Savings & Loan board.
Mr. Charlson was a well-respected trial lawyer throughout the state of Minnesota, and was known to all for his integrity, sense of humor and humility. He frequently championed the rights of those he believed were not receiving their due in the world – especially women’s rights. During his tenure with the School Board, Mr. Charlson successfully brought girls’ sports to Thief River Falls. Three of his daughters formed half of the first Lincoln High School Girl’s Golf Team in the early ‘70s.
This scholarship will be awarded to a female Lincoln High School graduate, who is active in golf, is enrolled in a post-secondary college or university and who exemplifies strong personal values.
- Al Gustafson Memorial Endowment
The Al Gustafson “Al Gus” Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a Lincoln High School hockey player, male or female, who has lettered in hockey and will be continuing their education next fall. A letter from a hockey coach must be submitted with their comments on the level of effort and character displayed by the student.
Al Gustafson loved hockey…he started playing hockey as a young boy and continued his love as a referee and playing Oldtimers until the time of his passing. Al served as a mentor to many young referees. Al loved hunting…he grew up hunting and enjoyed the solitude of nature. Al loved flying…he took his first solo flight in December 1973 and since logged many hours through the years.
Al loved giving back…this scholarship was established by his wife Pauline, son Derek, daughter-in-law Heather Bjerken, Hallock graduating class of 1966, and from the proceeds of donations given in Al’s memory. This is their way to give back to the community that Al loved.
- David Lee Johnson Memorial Endowment
David Lee Johnson was a hockey player, the money from the Prowler Hockey Golf Tournament funds this endowment.
- N. Quintin and Elizabeth Mcbride Jones Endowment
The N. Quentin and Elizabeth McBride Jones Perseverance Award was established in 1997 by their sons to commemorate their commitment to both education and athletic achievement/participation. This is an annual scholarship of $500.00 that is awarded to a Lincoln High School graduate who has achieved better than a B grade average and has participated in an individual sport (track, golf, swimming, wrestling, etc.) during his/her high school career. Emphasis is placed, not on being a stand-out performer, but in a person's work ethic and persistence in achieving the most of his/her academic and athletic abilities.
The scholarship was created to honor N. Quentin Jones and Elizabeth McBride Jones, both of whom taught for extended periods in The Thief River Falls education system. Quentin taught and coached from 1942 - 1972 while Elizabeth's tenure was 1958 - 1975. Both were dedicated educators who both demanded and successfully induced their students and athletes to attain and to exceed their potential. This was done by encouraging hard work, persistence, and the dedication to achieving realistic goals. Both emphasized effort exerted in the attempt to achieve goals rather than the final results. Both went to great ends to provide opportunities to their students/athletes by patiently and lovingly getting their students more involved in the classroom, enabling kids living on farms to participate more in sports by doing their driver's education driving themselves home after practice, and by opening the gym to all on Saturday mornings
- Edward "Coach" Krystosek Memorial Endowment
Ed Krystosek spent the majority of his career at Lincoln High School. With strict rules, challenging assignments, high expectations for behavior and a pure love of what he was doing, he taught all students and athletes many valuable life lessons on respect, dedication and integrity. He retired from Lincoln as a 31-year educator of social studies and history, and a 13-year wrestling coach.
Ed was a man of great character. He took pride in his work, showed patience in times of difficulty and spoke with honesty. He was a faithful man that lived passionately, shared knowledge graciously and asked insightful questions. He was grateful for all things, most especially to wake up in the morning and be able to say, “I’m here for another day.” In his stories, he could make the plain-old seem extraordinary because that’s what it actually was.
Ed and his wife Patricia, raised five children all of whom are graduates of Lincoln High School, Sharon (‘80), Mary (‘82), Sarah (‘85), Edward (‘90), and Simon (‘95). This scholarship was established by Sharon and John (’76) Larson to honor their father and friend.
This scholarship will be awarded to a Lincoln High School graduate who is active in the wrestling program and will be continuing their education.
- Myles Olson Memorial Endowment
Myles Olson graduated from Lincoln High School in 1966. A highlight of his high school career was going to state in 1964.
A scholarship in his memory has been established. His daughters, Heather, Myndy and Katy also graduated from Lincoln. His wife, Susan, taught in the District for 39 years, retiring in 2010 with Myles.
This scholarship is for a Lincoln High School senior who is active in the wrestling program.
- Fred Jensen Memorial Endowment
Fred Jensen a 1958 Lincoln High School graduate who left Thief River Falls to establish his career, never forgot his grassroots.
When Fred neared his retirement, affiliates of his organization and coworkers remembered the passion he had for Thief River Falls. Upon Fred’s retirement from NW Buyers and Jobbers, as the Executive Director, a retirement gift in his honor was established; The Fred D. Jensen Scholarship. This award is presented to a student majoring in Retail Merchandising with preference to fashion. Fred plays an active role in the decision making of this award.
Comments that were expressed in honor of his retirement:
Emily Lokken: "Fred is very dedicated, and he gave all to his job. I remember that when he would visit Thief River Falls we would walk down the street and he would always look at the store fronts and window displays. Need I mention that he is also a great brother in law."
Dick Bjorkman: "You took a chance many years back and went against the advise of your good friends in the business, but it was fortunate for NW Buyers, when Red Eide spotted an outstanding young baseball pitcher, Fred Jensen."
Ron Zieman, Norbys, Detroit Lakes: "Fred is one of those people who learned a long time ago that giving is better than getting. Fred not only helped individual retailers, but he helped the salesman. Fred took a genuine interest in the lives of people who he associated with whether it be personal or business. Dealing with 400 independent stores you have several ideas on what will work. Fred, would listen to everyone’s ideas and make the best of them. Fred is very caring and sharing."
- Carl & Melva Lee Memorial Endowment
The Carl and Melva Lee Memorial Scholarship has been established to provide greater educational opportunities to Lincoln High School graduates. It will fund one annual scholarship award to a Lincoln High School senior who will be majoring in business.
Melva and Carl Lee were both 1935 Lincoln High School graduates. They were married in 1939 and made their home in Thief River Falls. Carl started working with his father, Ed, in the family business, Lee Plumbing and Heating, in 1936 and helped build the company into a leading mechanical contractor in northwestern Minnesota. They completed many commercial projects in the area and built a loyal clientele with the citizens of Thief River Falls and surrounding communities. Carl and Melva were also involved in several area organizations. They were members of the Eagles, Elks, Shrine Club, Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star, Old Fellows, TRF Jobs Inc., director of Union State Bank, and the curling club. They raised three children who are also all graduates of Lincoln High School.
- Cliff Swanson Memorial Endowment
The Cliff Swanson Memorial Business Scholarship is awarded to a Lincoln High School graduating senior who is majoring in business, is active in athletic extracurricular activities and demonstrates financial need.
Clifford Swanson was born in 1937, in Thief River Falls. He attended rural school, St. Hilaire Elementary and in 1955, graduated from Lincoln High School, Thief River Falls, where he was active in football and track. Following high school, Cliff worked at Sjulson Hatchery, St. Hilaire. He served in the Minnesota National Guard for several years starting in 1954.
In 1959, Cliff was united in marriage to Shirley Arveson. They made their home in Thief River Falls. In 1959, Cliff started working at Bridgeman Creameries, later worked at JC Penny’s Auto Center and for many years at Sears, all in Thief River Falls. In 1984, Cliff and Shirley bought Purdy’s Shoes in Thief River Falls.
Cliff was very active in the community. He enjoyed fishing, golfing, hunting, bowling, snowmobiling, spending time at the lake with family and grandchildren, wood-working and, best of all, any use for a chain saw and duct tape. Cliff enjoyed traveling with his family and was an explorer and adventurer traveling on road or off.
Cliff passed away in 2007. Shirley and her children, Jan, Lori and Trevor have established the Cliff Swanson Business Memorial Scholarship to honor the memory of Cliff and to help encourage post-secondary education.
- MeriJo Paschke Endowment
- Thora Skomedal Endowment
Greetings: Alumni, Staff, and Friends of Education
David J. Forkenbrock, 1961 LHS graduate, wrote a letter to the Foundation December 30, 2001 stating his intentions to chair a steering committee that is comprised of representatives of about ten classes from 1956-1966. The purpose: to establish the Thora Skomedal Scholarship/Endowment. David also enclosed a check to constitute the first donation to the fund.
Unfortunately, David passed away and the committee never met. Occasional donations have been received from alumni and the funds have been slowly accumulating since 2001.
The Thora Skomedal Scholarship will be awarded to a graduating LHS senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in English.
The Foundation continues to accept donations to the Thora Skomedal fund. For more information on how you can become involved contact the Foundation office.
Those us who were fortunate enough to have had Ms. Thora Skomedal as our senior English teacher, will never forget her. She made great literature come alive. She taught us a sensitivity to language and the craft of writing.
I will never forget when we started our senior year how disappointed she was with our class. We did not know our grammar – not to her standards, anyway. As a result, she had us diagramming sentences, day after day, until we finally learned it! Now, I know diagramming sentences has long been out of favor in the education world, but I for one have always been grateful for what she did through that process. She taught me how language works.
Something else I’ll never forget. Some years after I had graduates, I asked her if she was still teaching Macbeth. No, she told me, Macbeth had become too "noisy." She now preferred teaching Hamlet. That puzzled me at the time. But after teaching Shakespeare for several years myself, I think I finally understood what she was getting at. The language Shakespeare uses in Macbeth is more rugged to fit the man of action Macbeth was. Hamlet, on the other hand, uses language more refined to fit the man of thought that he was. You had to love her! She not only understood her subject, she felt it, and as always, she conveyed it through her lively teaching.
Ms. Skomedal taught English at Lincoln High School from 1947 to 1966 and left a mark on her students that can never be erased. That is why some of her former students are organizing this endowment in her honor and are asking for contributions.
Written material submitted by a past student of Ms. Skomedal
Denise asked me to condense my life story into a Prowler Profile, but, having grown up in Thief River, I’m not all that comfortable talking about myself. So here instead are some selected memories about the Lincoln High teachers who made a difference in my life—and in the lives of many, many others.
Think, for a moment, of the three most influential people in your life. Is one a teacher? Chances are the answer is yes.
When I think of Lincoln High School, circa 1959 to 1962, I think first of Thora Skomedal.
Thora was a larger-than-life figure, in every way: Big figure, big heart, big intellect, big spirit. Her senior English course on the Greek classics—the Aeneid, the Iliad and the Odyssey—brought the exploits of Hector and Odysseus to life for generations of students. How Thora loved those books! She would read a passage aloud, and then close her eyes, tilt her head back slightly and, almost in a reverie, say something like, “That Odysseus, he was on quite a quest!” Then, after a long pause, she would unleash her signature phrase, in a lilting Norwegian accent, to underscore her point—“Don’t you know?”
Thora never married—she lived on the farm with her two brothers—but she could imagine being Helen of Troy. Sometimes, when she read certain passages from those great books, she was Helen of Troy. Today I can’t recall much about the substance of those epics—someday I’ll re-read them—but I will remember always her ability to bring a book alive. As she read aloud from the classics, sharing vivid descriptions of the great heroes and villains of Greek mythology, she gave a naïve, sheltered seventeen-year-old a lifelong appreciation of life’s possibilities.
Ted Hellie, whom we had for junior year English, was a kind, smart and witty man, but when it came to enforcing grammar or correcting papers, boy, was he fussy. As Steve Embury ’60 likes to ay, Ted was a King of Commas. But he taught us that clear thinking leads to clear writing. We wrote and wrote and wrote in Ted’s class, and we learned that the right words, in the right order, can make a difference forever.
Joe Forsberg, junior and senior math and physics, was a friendly fellow with a very close crew cub. He looked a little like Garry Moore, but he was no comedian: He understood the logic and the elegance of mathematical theorems and he pounded them into our young brains, in his quiet, steady and methodical way.
Blanche Larson was a charming personality who was able to persuade distracted seventh and eighth graders that learning some Latin was worth doing and occasionally could even be interesting. Because of Blanche, I still know what Veni, vidi, vici means.
Joe Mrkonich, the gruff football coach who came to Thief River from the Iron Range, quickly convinced me that I was too small and too timid to play much football for TRF. So I became the student manager for our basketball team, where I met Coach Harley Story. Harley was the basketball genius who taught us that, after more than 50 losses in a row over twenty-three years, we could beat Bun Fortier’s hated Bemidji Lumberjacks, (60-53, 1960) and go on to the State Tournament. If we could do that, anything was possible. After our games, I called the score into the Minneapolis Star, and that was the beginning of my journalism career.
And finally, Quentin Jones, our quiet, humble, industrious track and cross-country coach, who taught us how to run, whether we were any good at it or not, because “running is the best exercise there is.”
So let me give thanks to these great teachers and to so many others at Lincoln High who helped us on our way. To paraphrase a line from my College’s alma mater: “Though ‘round a girdled earth we roam, their spell on us remains.” Thanks to Thora and Ted and Quentin and all the rest, we got a great education—“Don’t you know?”
Peter S. Prichard (LHS ’62) is president of the Newseum, the $435 million interactive museum of news under construction on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. (Newseum.org). Before that, he was editor in chief for six-and-a-half years of USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-circulation newspaper. [Reprinted from Winter 2006 TRF Education Foundation Newsletter]
Thora Skomedal Devotes Life To The Teaching Field
What motives and what circumstances combine to spawn a decision to devote one’s life to teaching? Certainly the decision is not based on the desire for wealth or ease: the profession is an especially demanding one, and hardly remunerative enough to shove one into a high-income bracket.
But it is replete with its own rewards, Miss Thora Skomedal would tell you. And she should be in a position to know, for teaching has been her lifetime dedication; she has given many, many years to it.
“I guess I always wanted to be a teacher,” she stated, “perhaps because I had a primary teacher for whom I felt a profound admiration—perhaps because it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that I would enter the profession—my parents more or less made the decision for me. And for three of my sisters as well,” she added.
Born and educated in Thief River Falls, up to and including Normal Training, Miss Skomedal began her career by teaching first in the rural schools in Marshall county. During those five years, she nursed a desire to be county superintendent of that county. So she finally exchanged her teacher’s desk for that of a student, and proceeded to learning from textbooks instead of teaching from them. The college she chose was at Bemidji.
Ultimately she received her degree in education there and went on to become a high school teacher. At intervals she continued her education at UND in Grand Forks.
One year, while employed at Rauch, she had to teach seven subjects, among them such widely divergent fields as English, Latin, algebra, history, and biology, in addition to which she directed declamation contests. “A full schedule,” she commented wryly. In general, she devoted her energies to the teaching of English; although necessity sometimes decreed that she would fill in to teach some other subject for which no teacher had been secured. This was especially true when she served as high school principal. “The principal usually inherited the job of filing a vacancy when one occurred. She might find herself called upon to teach almost anything.”
Now, the job calls only for teaching English, but part of it entails directing speech contests. It is still a full-time pursuit.
“Mentioning speech work,” she laughed, “I am reminded of my first experience in public speaking. The dread of my first speech grew to such proportions that I was practically scared to death. However, once I’d gotten to my feet, I drew confidence from the audience.
“But on occasion it still frightens me—like the time when I had to address 300 school board members, all of them male.” She admitted to having that “about-to-come-apart-at-the-seams” feeling until she saw, in the group, the face of a next-door neighbor peering out to smile at her, and then she was entirely reassured.
Miss Skomedal continued teaching high school. One day, picking up the Warren Sheaf, she noticed that the position of Marshall county superintendent of school was vacant and she promptly filed for the post. However, she was defeated in the election. After that, she accepted a position in an Indian school at Cass Lake.
“I just loved it, there,” she smiled. “We had a choir of squaws, and I remember so well the times when we rehearsed for the Christmas concert. The women like singing so well they had no desire to go home when practice ended. So I made coffee, and after coffee announced that we would all leave after the next number. Still, no one made the move to leave, and I announced again that it was time to go home. Finally, after the third such reminder, they left.”
At Christmas, instead of the well-publicized apple, she received from the Indians such gifts as a pailful of walleyed pike; sugar prepared from the sugar maples; and wild rice by the bagful.
“I recall thinking that the rice looked terribly dirty—now buying that commodity, I realize what a valuable gift they had given me.”
“I grew to love my work with the Indian children to the extent that I had almost made up my mind to stay there for good,” she chuckled. “But then one day when my mother came to visit me, she brought along a copy of the Warren Sheaf, and you know what happened—the county superintendent post was open again; I filed, and this time I won.”
She served in that capacity for eight years. Then, her tenure of office ending in January, she filled out the school year by teaching in North Dakota, where she was also superintendent for the remainder of the term. “I was supposed to teach English,” Miss Skomedal sighed. “Imagine doing that without text books!” It seems that the state did not furnish free texts at that time.
“Finally student remembered that this uncle, or that cousin or aunt, or some other relative, happened to have an English book at home, one that he or she had bought while going to school. So we eventually assembled enough texts to carry on our class work.”
The students made no pretext of hiding the fact that the English teacher was expected to direct the class play, so she undertook this as well. “It was most enjoyable,” she recalled. “In fact I had almost made up my mind to come back in the fall, when I felt a sudden urge to come home for a year. “You know the result: I liked it immensely; so well, in fact, that I’ve put in sixteen years right here.”
There was a time, either years ago, when Miss Skomedal succumbed to the urge to spend a summer overseas, really for pleasure, but with an opportunity to absorb a great deal of background that would be beneficial in her work. Going as part of a group on a guided tour, she visited England (naturally, for she teaches English literature); Norway, where she has several cousins (teachers, one active, the other retired); Germany, France, and Switzerland, among others. “But I had to get back to my work after the summer was over. You know how it is…”
For 16 years Miss Skomedal has served as English instructor in Lincoln high school, and she is still going strong. In fact, she is practically an institution there. Ask any alumnus from that far back; mention English “Lit,” and someone is sure to query, “Remember Miss Skomedal?"
By Flora Allison, Times Society Reporter, Thief River Falls Times, Nov. 22, 1962
Thora Skomedal’s Life Dedicated To Education
Thora Skomedal was born and raised in Excel Township, where she still resides today with a lifetime’s educational career in between.
Her parents, John and Kari Skomedal, both came from Norway. Her father came in 1882, when he was 9 years old, and her mother, Kari Bergland, was only 3 years when she arrived in this country.
They were married in 1895. To this marriage were born four sons and six daughters.
In 1919, her father decided it was time to build a larger house. The house had five large bedrooms, a dining room, a living room, kitchen, two screened porches, full basement and attic. All this, including storms and screens for all the windows, a furnace, cistern and all rooms finished, even the sanding and varnishing of all hardwood floors, cost only $4,200.
When the house was almost completed, heavy rains caused flooding of the whole neighborhood. It was hard for her father, John, to see his cop ruined. This was the crop he had counted on to help pay for the house.
It is this same house Miss Skomedal lives in today and it is, indeed, a lovely home.
Five years later, in 1924 her father passed away at only 52 years of age.
The two oldest brothers took over the farming after their father’s death. There were many younger family members to support and it was not easy, but the boys were determined to work hard and to hang onto the land, and they did. Later, two other brothers took care of the farming.
In 1966, after Thora’s sister, Agnes, who had been the housekeeper on the farm, died suddenly, Thora took over the household duties. Since 1981, after the death of the last Skomedal brother, Thora, the oldest in the family, has lived alone on the farm.
Much happened in Miss Skomedal’s life during those years. In 1915 she graduated from Thief River Falls High School and Teacher Training Department.
As early as she can remember, she wanted to be a teacher and her parents encouraged her. In the first rural school in which she taught, she had 21 students and all grades, 1-8. Two of the students were only 2 years younger than she. They were 16. She was 18.
She spent 5 years teaching in rural schools and then went on to Bemidji, where she earned her degree in education. Later, she served as principal in several schools.
Miss Skomedal had also had a desire for some time to teach in an Indian school, so for two years she taught in the Chippewa National Forest in an Indian school located between Bemidji and Walker. She was an elementary teacher there. “Everything was fun in that Indian school!” Miss Skomedal said.
She remembers well the day she was driving to the school to begin her duties there. When she was just about to her destination, she began to have trouble with her car. Several young Indian fellows came to help her, but just then a highway patrolman came and soon got her car going again. As he left, he said, “I wouldn’t have anything to do with them, if I were you.” Little did he know that that was where she was to spend her next 2 years.
She was teaching elementary grades here but one of her favorite extra-curricular activities was directing a choir of Indian women. “At that time,” Thora said, “I was able to sing all those Christmas carols in the Indian language, too.” She said she was thinking about it the other day and realized that she has forgotten most of the words now. How she wished she could still recall them!
She remembers well the gifts the Indian people gave her when she left. There was a wooden pail of walleye fish, ready to prepare to eat, a basket of maple sugar and a basket of wild rice.
Some of her former students from the Indian school still come to visit her.
She chuckled as she recalled a couple incidents involving little Jacob, a first grader. One day, a state supervisor had visited the school and later the students were washing up for lunch. Jacob said, as she poured water over his hands, “What did the man say about me?” When she said, “He said that you were a good reader,” he quickly piped up with, “Will you give me a quarter?”
Another time, when it was the first graders’ turn to carry in wood, she heard Jacob’s voice shouting, “Open the door, Miss Skomedal, open the door!” Since she thought he should really do that himself, she didn’t open the door. Soon she heard the wood drop, the door opened and she said she saw one angry little Indian, who said sharply, “Why for you not open the door?”
In 1939, Thora Skomedal accepted the challenge and was successful in the campaign for Marshall County Superintendent of Schools, a position she held for 8 years.
“It was lots of fun to campaign,” she remarked. “I met lots of people.” She said she was glad she could speak Norwegian, but often wished she could have spoken French and Polish, too. “The older folk, especially, liked it when I could speak their native tongue.”
She enjoyed her years in Warren but, as she said, “The majority of the people I knew well then are no longer there.”
She said she often had jokingly said that while she was in Warren she must have spent most of the money on the NELSONS. She had her room and board with Mrs. Stena Nelson. May Nelson, then co-owner of the Marymay Shop, always kept her eyes open for dresses she might like and was also her hairdresser, and, although she didn’t drive a Ford, she always had her car taken care of at Nelson Motors.
After she left Warren in January 1947, she finished out the year in Rutland, North Dakota as Superintendent of Schools.
For the next 19 years, she taught English and speech in the Thief River Falls High School. She was supposed to teach two senior English classes and have three study halls her first year in Thief River Falls. However, in the middle of the year, the other English teacher broke her hip and resigned. The superintendent didn’t ask her, she said, but told her she would then be teaching all the senior English classes. She had 164 students in all. Writing was required in many of the classes, so there were many papers to go over.
It was interesting to note, she added, that many of her students took part in state speech contests and placed in those contests during her stay in Thief River Falls.
When she became 65 years of age, the board said they wished she wouldn’t quit. “So,” she said, “I guess they just forgot I was 65 years.” She taught for 4 years more.
At 88 years of age, Thora Skomedal still keeps up an immaculate house, cares for lots of flowers in the summer, still drives her own car and attends Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls. “The thing I like to do a lot of is to read! There’s so much I’d like to read that I can’t get it all done,” she added.
Although Miss Skomedal doesn’t travel much anymore, she has many pleasant memories of her trip to Europe during the summer of 1954. She was gone for three months and, while there, visited nine countries. She said it was quite an experience, but having done it once, she would not especially care to go there again. She had made other shorter trips, but that was her major one.
The family of John and Kari Skomedal has gradually dwindled in size, but Thora still has four sisters living. Two are living nearby, one lives at Oklee and one in Minneapolis.
By Orpha Overlid Thief River Falls Times date unknown
- Arlyce & Rodney Twistol Memorial Endowment
The Thief River Falls Education Foundation has announced the establishment of the Arlyce Twistol Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded to a Lincoln High School graduate who is pursuing a career in Education.
Establishing this scholarship are Arlyce’s children Renae Carlson, Raelynn Abernathey, Randy Twistol, and Renelle Fenno from the proceeds of donations given in Arlyce’s memory.
Arlyce graduated from Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls with the Class of 1952. Arlyce married Rodney Twistol and they have 4 children residing in Thief River Falls.
Arlyce worked for 28 years at Franklin Middle School as a paraprofessional. She loved her students and enjoyed the faculty and staff.
Arlyce was a warm, loving, kind, caring woman whose home was always open; she was a second mom and grandmother to many. She was a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother. Arlyce loved the Lord and never faltered in her faith, even throughout her battle with cancer.
Arlyce loved traveling, especially her yearly trip to New York City, where she enjoyed shopping and going to Broadway musicals; going to Norsk Hostfest, cruises in the Caribbean, and to Branson. She also enjoyed taking pictures, making photo albums, and spending time with family, grandchildren and friends.
Quote from a loving family friend, Tommy Kenville, ” Hey TRF Prowlers!!! A sad time for the Twistol family and so many of us were personally touched by Mrs. Twisty in the LHS/FMS office ( I know she helped me quite a bit). Let’s continue to give to a scholarship in her name with the TRF Education Foundation. Let’s keep her legacy going strong at LHS.”
- Jennifer & Jolyn Vigen Endowment
The Jennifer and Jolyn Vigen “Special Education” Award was established in 2009 by the siblings of Jennifer Vigen, in honor of their sister, as well as their mother, Jolyn Vigen. This scholarship was created to commemorate their participation in, and dedication to, “a free and appropriate public education” for all students.
This is an annual scholarship awarded to an LHS graduate based on financial need, who has achieved a 2.5 CPA or above, who is planning on entering into the Special Education field. Emphasis will also be placed on moral character and a demonstrated commitment to helping individuals with developmental disabilities. To be eligible, an online application must be submitted within the specified deadline and be reviewed by the selection committee. Payment will be made directly to the school. If for any reason, the successful recipient cannot accept the scholarship, an alternate will be chosen in his or her place. The family of Jennifer and Jolyn Vigen would like to encourage ongoing donations to this scholarship to ensure an adequate supply of special people chosen to go into this field.
When Jennifer was born with Down syndrome in 1973, Thief River Falls Public School District did not have much for facilities or programs where her mother, Jolyn, could bring her for evaluations, services, or enrichment opportunities. In fact, no public school in the U.S. did. Then Public Law 94-142 - the IDEA Act - was passed in 1974, guaranteeing a “free and appropriate public education” for developmentally delayed persons. School districts were then called upon to provide educational programs and services to people like Jennifer, and she entered TRF public schools as a 3-year-old, perhaps the first to do so in District #564 under the provision of the new law. While neither Jolyn not school officials had ever heard of the terms “early intervention,” “IEP,” or “mainstreamed” yet; they basically defined them through their application to special education, and commitment to team work. Jennifer had adaptive classes when appropriate and was mainstreamed when that worked. She participated in “regular” art, music, phy ed, lunch, recess, and extracurricular activities. She was the LHS Girls’ Volleyball and Basketball ‘Manager’ in high school, and the Lady Prowlers’ number #1 fan! Throughout these years, Jolyn was her daughter’s greatest advocate who encouraged her every step of the way, was a true visionary, and instrumental in creating the path for others to follow. Jen walked through graduation in 1993 at 19 years with her peers, but was eligible for two more years of public education. She spent those last two years at MCTC (Minneapolis Community & Technical College) in the Twin Cities, in a post-secondary transition program. Jennifer also had the experience of supportive employment through the Falls DAC Program, and TSE, Inc., in the Twin Cities. Jennifer lived her family in the Twin Cities until her death in 2008, at the age of 35.
- Gannon Hejlik Memorial Endowment
The Gannon Hejlik Memorial Scholarship has been established for any Lincoln High School graduate who is enrolling in a two or four year college.
Gannon Hejlik loved fishing, 4 wheeling, golfing, spending time at the lake with his family, and having fun with his many friends. Gannon enjoyed playing video games, making and editing videos in school, and was very knowledgeable when it came to computers. Gannon loved all aspects of music and was an active choir member. Gannon also loved animals and volunteered and spent time at the local humane society. Gannon had a great sense of humor and could make anyone laugh or lift their spirits. Gannon was friends with everybody and was a very kind-hearted and caring person.
Establishing this scholarship are Gannon's parents Paul and Ashley Hejlik, Taryn Hejlik, his brother and sister Aron and Aliya Hejlik, and from the proceeds of donations given in Gannon's memory.
- Alice & Roy Lee Endowment
Roy and Alice have longed to give back to Roy's alma mater and have done so through this scholarship. A student who has lettered in a sport at Lincoln High School, has a grade point average of 2.5 or better and attends a college in Minnesota or North Dakota is eligible to apply. The first awarding will be in May of 2008.
Roy was born in Thief River Falls, grew up and attended grade school and high school there. After high school he worked for two years then attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. After college he joined the Navy Seabees and was honorably discharged as an Ensign.
After service he went to Ohio to work in construction, building power plants, where he met his wife. He worked in Michigan where they lived for about a year before returning to Thief River Falls in 1950 to honor his mother’s wishes. Roy retired in 1985. He and Alice live in Spring Hill, Florida, after being snow birds for many years. Roy was very active in golf and tennis until the asbestos lung cancer weakened him to the point that he didn’t have the strength to be active. Roy passed away November, 2007. Their four children all attended grade school and high school in Thief River Falls.
- Web Maves
The W.G. Maves Family Scholarship was established in Web's memory to give back to the children in the community. The importance of youth was witnessed in everything Web did.
Web tried to attend all High School football, basketball, hockey games, and wrestling matches. The Maves family has had Boys State Hockey tickets since 1970. When in Tucson and unable to get to games, they gave them to TRF hockey program.
Web helped with boy scouts and he was interested in helping youth in any way.
He was very active in the Redeemer Lutheran Church and the TRF Kidney Foundation in fund raising and as an officer. Web was an avid sportsman, he thoroughly enjoyed hunting and fishing.
The Web’s family consists of wife, Hazel, son James and his wife Deborah. Web was drafted into the Service, applied for Officers Candidate School and was honorably discharged as a Captain. He was an auto parts salesman for Lind Motor Supply, operated Maves Standard Service on 2nd & Main, and sold lots in the Sherwood Forest Addition, which they had purchased with friends and named the addition and streets.
Web passed away June, 1992. The scholarship was established for the child of a single parent.
- Don L. & Sylvia Olson Memorial Endowment
Don L. Olson graduated from Lincoln High School in 1937. When he was discharged from the Army in 1945, he returned to Thief River Falls and began his accounting service. In 1949 he became affiliated with Thief River Falls Radio. He broadcast Region 8 hockey and the state hockey tournament for over 30 consecutive years. He was known as "Mr. Hockey" in Region 8. He also broadcast or was Color Man for Lincoln High School football, basketball and baseball. It can be safely said that he was one of the Prowler’s most faithful and avid fans throughout his lifetime. He retired in 1982 and after fighting Parkinson’s disease and cancer, he died March 21, 1992.
A scholarship has been established in his memory.
- St. Hilaire Lions Club Endowment
St. Hilaire Lions Club Scholarships are awarded to applicants who have completed two quarters or one semester of schooling at an accredited college or technical school and live within the boundaries of the former St. Hilaire School District or have a parent who is currently a member of the St. Hilaire Lions Club.
The St. Hilaire Lions Club has been a supporter of the TRF Education Foundation for over 17 years. They have provided scholarships to help students further their education as the costs of education continue to rise. The Lions motto is "We Serve".
- John Schmitz Memorial Endowment
The John Schmitz Memorial Scholarship has been established to provide greater educational opportunities for Lincoln High School graduates.
John Schmitz was a passionate teacher whose career began in 1962 and lasted 33 years. During his time as an educator, he touched many students lives resulting in increased achievement and success for each individual who knew him.
Scholarship eligibility will be based on the following criteria: 3.0 or higher GPA, attendance to an accredited college and financial need.
- Class of 1990 Nicole Knutson Memorial Endowment
Nicole was the president of the Lincoln High School Class of 1990 and tragically an asthma attack claimed her life days before her high school graduation. The new asthma medications and advanced treatments were not yet available. If these had been available, Nicole could be with us today. Nicole had a positive outlook on life, loved people and believed that everyone needed a friend.
The Class of 1990 had money left in their treasury at the end of their senior year. The class advisor said Nicole kept saying we have to do something with this money that makes a difference in someone’s life. She did not want to “just spend it.” After this tragedy they started the Nicole Knutson Memorial Scholarship with the money. When the money was gone Nicole’s family took over the funding.
The year 2000 came for the 10-year reunion of the class of 1990. This very thoughtful class did a 5K run in Nicole’s memory and again funded the Scholarship. They are hoping for an annual 5K. It was the class of 1990, 1993 and many other Lincoln High School alumni that kept us, as family, grounded to life after this loss. They brought us sunshine during a storm and gave truth to Nicole’s saying that “everyone needs a friend.” This scholarship honors Nicole and the class of 1990. She is still “that friend.
- Frances A. Eide Memorial Endowment
The Frances A. Eide Memorial Nursing Scholarship has been established by South Dakota businessman Vern Eide, who is an alumni of Lincoln High School and brother of Frances. Frances Eide, who was a 1941 graduate of Lincoln High School, was born on June 14, 1923 and passed away on April 25, 1979 after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer.
The scholarship is to honor her life and the lives of the good nurses who cared for her. "We trust the scholarship money will help in aspiring young people to enter the nursing profession," states the Eide family.
The Frances A. Eide Memorial Nursing Scholarship will award scholarships for two students who are enrolled in a nursing program. Criteria is based on need and a C average or above
- Norm Peterson & Barry Wilson (Peterson) Endowment
- Michael Holmer Memorial Endowment
The Michael Holmer Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a Lincoln High School graduate/graduates who will be attending a technical school, studying automotive repair/mechanics, and who have a GPA of 2.5.
Michael Holmer was an avid hunter and fisherman. He enjoyed the outdoors and had a passion for snowmobiling. He liked farming with his Grandpa, driving the tractor and bulldozer, fixing cars, welding and shop class at school and was a ‘hands on” person.
Michael was a Lincoln High School Senior who passed away October 2008 as a result of a vehicle accident. The family advocates the use of seat belts. This scholarship was established in his honor by his family and the community.
- Jerry Jenkins Memorial Endowment
Jerry Jenkins was born in Kenmare, ND and moved to Thief River Falls with his family when he was a young child. He was a member of the Lincoln High School class of 1970. In 1972 he hired out on the Soo Line Railroad working along side his dad and brother where he worked until his retirement in 2008. Jerry was a blue collar worker that believed good hard work and good hard play should have a nice balance, and gave his all to both, although his family always came first. He had a knack for making everyone feel special being generous in spirit and gentle of heart. His life was taken in a car accident on July 12, 2010.
This scholarship was started by his daughter's co-workers, and will be kept going by family and friends.
The scholarship is for a Lincoln High School senior who will be pursuing a career in trades and must maintain at least a C average.
- Robert G. Kauppila Memorial Endowment
The Thief River Falls Education Foundation has announced the establishment of the Robert Kauppila Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded to a Lincoln High School graduate who is enrolled in a community, technical or trade school.
Robert (Bob) G. Kauppila was born in Thief River Falls. He attended Northrop and Knox Elementary Schools and Lincoln High School graduating in 1967. He went on to attend Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis. He started his working career in carpentry and construction before beginning his military service in the U.S.Army in 1969. He served in Vietnam from August of 1969 to September of 1970. Bob was very proud of his service to his country. He received many military honors such as the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) as well as other medals.
After being discharged he spent most of his working career in Wyoming doing construction. He had a love of carpentry and took joy in helping others with their many projects. He loved the outdoors and spent much of his free time hunting and fishing.
Bob enjoyed playing and watching all kinds of sports. Bob started playing hockey on the outdoor rinks in Thief River Falls and played and coached hockey in Wyoming while living there.
He returned to Minnesota and continued working construction. He was active in veterans’ affairs and was past commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW Post 2793) in Thief River Falls.
In 2013 Bob was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) attributed to his military service in Vietnam. He fought a courageous battle against this fatal disease and passed away in August of 2013.
Bob’s family has set up this scholarship in his memory to help Lincoln High School students wanting to continue their education.
- Jim Sims Memorial Endowment
- Beauchane Family Endowment
- Spengler Family Endowment
This endowment was started to fund the Keith Spengler Memorial Scholarship.
- BIPOC Endowment
This endowment funds the "RISE" Scholarship started by Sara Kalinoski
The “RISE” Scholarship is a new scholarship that will be on the 2021 Scholarship Application for Seniors at Lincoln High School.
The “RISE” Scholarship was started/create by Sara Kalinoski, a 2005 LHS Graduate. The “RISE” Scholarship will be a annual scholarship of $1,000, paid to one LHS graduating Senior attending a 2 or 4 year college. This scholarship will be for Black, Indigenous People of Color. Special Consideration (but not a requirement) for students with a 3.5 or higher GPA, in financial need, and have community or extracurricular involvement.
- Amren-Jacobson Heritage Endowment
From left: Cheryl Amren Granlund, Marlys Amren McKinstry, Thomas Amren, Richard Amren
Richard ('54), Thomas ('56), Marlys ('58) and Cheryl ('62) Amren, in appreciation of the education they received while growing up on the family farm near St. Hilaire, are pleased to endow the funds to make the Amren-Jacobson Heritage Scholarship Fund possible. Also included are their extended family members, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins, as a tribute to their family heritage and as a memorial. They feel very fortunate to have had many dedicated teachers during their elementary school, junior high school, and senior high school years that laid the foundation for their futures.
Scholarship applicants must meet the following criteria deemed permanent and unchangeable:
Applicant must be a current year graduate of Lincoln High School, Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and live within the boundary of what would have been the St. Hilaire School District.
Applicant and his/her parents must be United States citizens by birth or adoption.
Applicant must have at least a 2.5 GPA average or better in all subjects in order to be considered for this scholarship and must maintain for its duration at least a 2.5 GPA in all subjects and provide grade records to the Thief River Falls Education Foundation before funds are paid to the school for the next semester. Failure to maintain a 2.5 GPA will void this scholarship.
Consideration should/will be made for applicant if a financial need is indicated.
Applicant should be involved in extra-curricular activities, community projects, and service.
If any year there is no qualified applicant, scholarship will not be awarded.
- Ammerman Family Endowment
This endowment was started to fund the Dionne Ammerman Memorial Scholarship.
- Hellie Family Endowment
- Gloria Bjorkman Memorial Endowment
- Erika Kahlhamer Teaching Endowment
- Takedown Club Endowment
- Rick Ostby Memorial Endowment Scholarship
This endowment was started by Rick's parents, Ron and Ruth Ostby.
- Prowler Photography Endowment
Jim Hustad started the Prowler Photography Endowment to help fund the Austins' Hope Scholarship.
Jim Hustad wrote on his facebook
"At this time, the foundation is asking that donors write "Prowler Photography Endowment" on the memo portion of their check so the funds are deposited to the correct account. Please note, however, this will NOT be a "Prowler Photography" scholarship. I am only serving as a temporary conduit to assist the families of both Austins to get the ball rolling on this during a very difficult time for them. The name of the endowment will change when the time is right to transition this to the families at which point they will review and grant scholarships based on their own mutually agreed upon criteria."
- Austins' Hope Endowment
Austin loved being outdoors, hunting, fishing, 4-wheeling, snowmobiling, cutting trees and doing wood working. He was a very caring, creative and talented young man who loved with his whole heart “full throttle”. He has had a huge impact on everyone he met and was always there to lend a helping hand and a shoulder to cry on. Austin had an inseparable bond with his brother Aiden, they were the best of friends, worst of enemies and the competition was fierce. He was a great protector of his little sisters Alaina and Anna and loved to torment them.
Austin was very compassionate. If someone needed help, he would be the first to volunteer. He had an easy-going nature, was fun, friendly, loving, kind, very laid back, and always had a smile on his face. Austin was a sports enthusiast. He was an excellent player and fan of basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, and many other sports. Austin was an avid college and professional sports aficionado -- especially Minnesota sports teams. Austin loved working with electronics and technology. He enjoyed building computers, gaming, and research. No matter his state of mind, he was always on top of current information, trends, and what was going on in the world.
Austin Martell Austin Kalsnes
- Marlene (Olson) Hjeldness Memorial Endowment
- Kyle Rokke Memorial Endowment
- 564 Club Endowment
- David Berg Endowment
- Board of Directors Grant Endowment
This endowment was started on December 16, 2021 by Curtis Swanson.
This endowment was started by Oliver Swanson February 4, 2019.