Saturday, January 31, 2015

Carrying Grandma home. . .

Aaron, Steve, Zachary, Alex, Ford, Hunter, Adam
Six grandsons and a great grandson carried their grandmother's casket today. Beverly Rolfsrud was buried at Trysil Cemetery in Farwell, Minnesota next to her husband, Erling, bringing to a close a special day of remembrance and visitation at the Shalom Lutheran Church in Alexandria.

Rest in Peace, Mom.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

They cared for her

Photos by Jill Littlefield
A sting ray dives at Mom during an outing at the Mall of America aquarium.
We took our time at the house on Kell Avenue in Bloomington today. We were there to gather up some of Mother's things, but mostly we wanted to just sit and thank and visit the people who had made "Welcome Home" a special place for Mom for two and a half years.
Exercise class was interrupted by Nicky the house dog.
We tried to express our gratitude for the kindness and generous spirit that made mother's last days as comfortable and fulfilled as any others during her 94 years of productive, meaningful life.
Marcia and Jill were there today, as they have been since Day One. When mother arrived in the fall of 2012, Jill helped her from the car and said "Hello, my name is Jill. I will be taking care of you." And that is exactly what she and the others have done ever since.
Pink hats for a backyard BBQ
Click to enlarge and find Mom.
Jill and Marcia lead a team of a dozen aides, providing round the clock care to three, sometimes four residents in the 50s ranch-style house. They grieved along with us today. We said we were sad for Mom to go, happy for the way she left. And they were responsible for so much of that.
Marcia poured coffee and passed around some homemade oatmeal raisin cookies as we reminisced. They lovingly called "Bevy" "The Queen of Kell" and not just because she was the very first resident at this fledgling operation, run by an established home care outfit.
Mom has always known what she wants, and isn't afraid to ask for it. She got it all at Kell, delicious food, a pillow where she needed it, hair care, manicures, homemade birthday cakes and never-ending concerns about all her personal needs.
We're very grateful, felt blessed, and so did Mom. Many times recently she didn't hold back her feelings, looked her caregiver in the eye and stated clearly, "I love you." They loved her back and they feel the same kind of loss that we do, as we clear her room and think about life without her.
Fourth of July
We told them about the time two weeks ago when the hospice music therapist called us in Arizona. We were in the car. "Your mother would like to sing for you," she said over the speakerphone. And then as we drove down McDowell Avenue in Scottsdale, Mother sang us the clearest, sweetest rendition of "His Eye is on The Sparrow," that we think we have ever heard.
Jill carries photos from the many merry outings Mom and the others took. We include some of them here, all of them show Mom having a good time with friends.
Makes us happy to remember her that way.

Mom grew very close to Lillian. Here they are at the Rainforest.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Heart Ever Faithful. . .

Photo take at Welcome Home residence by Cher Kuechle. (Note the family picture on the wall.)
Click here to hear Beverly Rolfsrud sing "My Heart Ever Faithful" on YouTube. She's had 18,092 hits so far. YouTube lasts forever and so will our memories of Mom's singing. See more of her tunes listed below right, under "Our Home Movies."
Scroll down to see the obituary notice and funeral details that were posted earlier.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Always remember what is important in life

"Is that for here or to go?" the cheerful clerk at the spic 'n span McDonald's in Guymon, Oklahoma asked Stan.
Traveling diagonally across the Great Plains, there are no rest areas, most establishments are questionable, so we find the Golden Arches a reliable friend with their clean rest rooms and sometimes even grassy areas for Birdie.
"Make it to go, she's outside with the dog," Stan responded.
"What kind of dog do you have," the more mature than usual gentleman clerk asked.
"A poodle. She's on her way back to Minnesota."
The clerk seemed interested so Stan continued:
"Yeah, we've been staying in Phoenix, and Super Bowl week was just getting started. We were having a lot of fun doing stuff, but my dear mother died and we are going back to Minnesota. The funeral is on Saturday so now we're driving across country, and hope to be there by Wednesday night. She died yesterday morning."
A nice young man waiting in a line beside Stan had overheard the conversation and now joined in:
"What," he asked earnestly, "are you doing with your Super Bowl tickets?"

Monday, January 26, 2015

Portrait of Beverly Rolfsrud

This article about Beverly Rolfsrud appeared in her hometown paper in 1973

Portrait of the Week,
Park Region Echo, Alexandria, MN
January 2, 1973
By Magel Brekke
Appreciation of music is perhaps one of the most stimulating ways in which to begin the New Year. In pondering upon resolutions to be made, one recalls a statement once made by Lord Erskine; "Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing." No season of the year brings music into greater prevalence than the season past with its beautiful Christmas hymns. In relating them to the beginning of a New Year, Beverly Rolfsrud referred to the hymns as the 'heralding of beginnings,' alluding especially to the words of the aria from the Christmas Oratorio by J.S. Bach which states; "Prepare Thyself, Zion, with tender affection the purest, the fairest, this day to receive." It certainly is a theme and a resolution to live by as the New Year begins.

Beverly (Mrs. Erling) Rolfsrud stated that music is at the threshold of her memory. A daughter of Paul Brown, a pioneer of Adams County, North Dakota, she and her two sisters and three brothers were familiarized with music from their father who had been an entertainer in France during World War I under the auspices of the YMCA, then a counterpart of the USO of today. Although her mother never sang, she had a beautiful low contralto speaking voice, one similar to the lovely voice Mrs. Rolfsrud has developed in her vocal talents of today. Beverly, as a young child, appeared frequently on WDAY radio with her father as they produced a program of sacred and folk songs; she also played clarinet and banjo. "If doing is knowing," she said, "I knew right then that music was going to be my life."
Following Beverly's graduation from Central High School in Fargo, North Dakota, she attended Wheaton College during the years in which Billy Graham was also a student there. She recalled his carrying heavy trays in the dining hall and his quality of being service-minded, even then being able to work with all types of people.   Beverly earned her bachelor of arts degree from Concordia College, majoring in voice, but also studying clarinet, organ and piano. She was a second semester junior at the time of her marriage to Mr. Erling Rolfsrud.
The Rolfsruds resided in northern Minnesota previous to their move to Alexandria. Five of their children were born during those years. Becky (Mrs. Allen Jerdee,) resides in St. Paul with her 5-year old daughter, Amy, and her husband, a pastor at St. Stephen's Church in St. Paul. Linda (Mrs. Ronald Letnes,) and her husband, a pastor of St. Matthew's Church, reside in Aurora, Colorado. Stanley Rolfsrud is news editor for the Carver County Sun and resides in Chanhassen. Solveig (Mrs. William Shearer) and her husband live in Baltimore, Maryland. Stephen Rolfsrud will soon graduate from the University of Minnesota with a major in education. Virgil, the only Rolfsrud child born in Alexandria, is presently in business administration at Moorhead State College. The Rolfsrud children who have completed their college degrees have continued in the field of work for which they were prepared. 
Mrs. Rolfsrud, while an active homemaker, has taught private vocal and piano lessons since before moving to Alexandria. She came to this area as an experienced choral conductor and has, from time to time, directed choirs at First Lutheran Church. In that church, also, she has taken and taught the Bethel series as well as serving as an instructor in the church's weekday educational program. Her husband has served for many years as organist of that church. Mr. Rolfsrud teaches 9th grade English at Central High School and has authored about 20 books which relate to history, biography and devotional material.

Junior Euterpean Club was organized in Alexandria in the early 1960s largely through the efforts of Mrs. Rolfsrud who has always been active in Euterpean Club. Her beautiful voice has been heard on many occasions as she has presented programs throughout the community. In 1965 Mrs. Rolfsrud was honored with acceptance into the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Mrs. Rolfsrud had updated her teaching certificate and was working towards her master's degree when, in 1969, an opportunity was offered to teach music in the schools of Brooten, Minnesota. Thirty-five years ago she had thought she wanted to teach and the experience today has fulfilled her every expectation. "There are 'Golden Moments' in every single day," she stated. She is a music specialist teaching first grade through senior high. She also teaches music to the special education class, the group whose evident approval makes each day worthwhile. "Every person in the world makes music at some time or other, " stated Mrs. Rolfsrud. Working with various degrees of talent in her capacity as teacher, she tries to challenge to the utmost the efforts of each child as she instructs them in coordination, harmony, melody and rhythm.
A great variety of interests are assumed in the busy days of Mrs. Rolfsrud and, odd though it may seem, all begin with the letter "s." There is singing, swimming, sewing, snow, study and "Segovia." Two years ago she began the study of the guitar. She now teaches twenty students who are required also to sing as they learn to play the instrument. In her sewing, Mrs. Rolfsrud recently completed two 12-foot banners which were used at First Lutheran Church and for the two Christmas concerts which she presented with her students in Brooten.
Music in this New Year has indeed been a 'heralding of beginnings' for Beverly Rolfsrud. Devoted to her family and her work, she frequently refers to one certain passage from the Bible: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning." The inspiring message of faith (quoted from Lamentations) with daily introduction to beautiful music serve as a complete theme for a great and Happy New Year.  

Beverly Rolfsrud 1920-2015

Beverly Brown Rolfsrud, 94, musician, teacher, wife and mother of six, died peacefully January 26, 2015 at a residential home in Bloomington, Minnesota, near her family. Funeral services will be held Jan. 31 at Shalom Lutheran in Alexandria, a church she helped found in 1982.

With her late husband as accompanist, the accomplished contralto soloist performed Sacred Concerts throughout the Upper Midwest. In 1967, she recorded an album of sacred music with selections from Handel's Messiah and other composers.

Over the years, she taught hundreds of young adults the rudiments of music and the joy of performing.

Born in Hettinger, North Dakota in 1920, she graduated high school in Fargo, attended Wheaton College in Illinois, then joined her husband in Moorhead where she was the first married woman to graduate from Concordia College. They moved to Deerwood in 1945 and she gave private music lessons and continued raising her children. In 1952, the Rolfsruds  moved to Alexandria near Lake Andrew and Beverly continued to teach music and lead church choirs. She briefly taught music in the Brooten, Minnesota schools. She enjoyed quilting, cross-country skiing, tennis and swimming.

Beverly is survived by her six children: Becky (Allen) Jerdee, Venice, FL, Linda (Ronald) Letnes, Blaine, MN, Stan (Kathleen) Rolfsrud, Shakopee, MN, Solveig (William) Shearer, Sunol, CA, Stephen (Nancy) Rolfsrud, Mankato MN, and Virgil Rolfsrud, Fort Meyers, FL; 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

In addition to her husband Erling, she was preceded in death by her daughters-in-law Jeni (Virgil) Rolfsrud and Becky Lynn (Virgil) Rolfsrud, brothers Ralph Brown, Richard Brown, and Bayard Brown, and sisters Dorothy Chase and Kaye Eichenberger.

Outside her home in Alexandria

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Photos by Stan Rolfsrud
Score one for the South team. Judging by the enthusiasm, they could have been playing for the Persian Gulf Cup.
Universal rule: Keep your eyes on the ball.

Huffing and puffing on a reduced-size soccer field,  a dozen or so middle-aged footballers played a Sunday morning game with a level of skill earned from a lifetime of competition.
Shouting encouragement and bantering in Farsi, these ex-pat Iranians gathered in El Dorado park just off McDowell for their weekly game, cheered on by elders and family members. They brought along their own spiffy fold-up goal nets and it looked like there might be a midday picnic in the offing. When the photographer departed, it appeared the team with the South goal was cleaning up.
The field of play may have been somewhat reduced, but the footballs were round. . . and fully inflated.

Gentleman footballers. What possibly could go wrong here?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Out to lunch

Dave, Kathleen, Jane in the Alta Mesa Club House. Photo by Stan who was wearing jeans but wasn't kicked out.
The Hole-in-One
Summer Shakopee golf partners Stan and Dave each had a Hole in One at the Alta Mesa golf club in Mesa today.
That's the official name of the club sandwich (at right) and it was delicious with a salad, fries and iced peach tea.
Dave and his wife Jane were our neighbors long ago in Chaska, so it is always fun to meet and eat with this lively couple. Before treating us to lunch, they showed us around their newest home at Leisure World, which, at 41, is the oldest gated community in the country, we think he said. It's a development of 4,500 residents clustered around a couple of golf courses and a beautiful community center in the heart of Mesa.
Presently Dave is helping another Chaskan manage the remodeling of his newly-purchased Leisure World winter home, so we got a tour of it today and added our helpful comments to the unfinished project. The house has a beautiful view of the Superstition Mountains as well as two golf holes on Coyote Run.

Nice view to the East from this back patio

Instant palm tree

Unprecedented cell phone traffic is anticipated for the upcoming Super Bowl/Phoenix Open so workmen are scurrying about erecting temporary and permanent cell towers all over town. This tower near the Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts will be disguised as a palm tree. The plastic branches await assembly at left. The Pro Bowl practice field is a mile away at Scottsdale Community College.
Tiger is in town, with a new tooth. . . and a new swing coach.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Workout at the World Champions practice field . .

We don't think this is Andrew Susac or Buster Posey. . . but it could be.
Judging by their bulk and speed, a couple of buff major league catchers were running wind sprints this afternoon at the nearby San Francisco Giants training fields.
It's still a bit early for spring training, but catchers may show up early to be in shape for when the pitchers report in February.
And besides, the Super Bowl is in town and if you like to party. . .

Things will get serious in March, the rents go up in the neighborhood, tickets are sold to practice games and the excitement mounts.
They ran as fast as they could for about 90 feet. Then they rested a long time. It's baseball.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Don't get any big ideas, Birdie

Bear and Sister ride around Scottsdale in style. We met the two Bichons and their doting parents today on their cruise through Old Town. Bear is six, Sister is two and they are brother and sister.

We also had a nice visit with Cousin Larry and Carolyn, who were in town today to service their Audi convertible and to purchase some essentials for Larry at the Orvis fly fishing store. We enjoyed the afternoon catching up on family business.
It was a gorgeous day, but a bit chilly for Kathleen in the shade. Larry gallantly offered his coat.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

An introduction to a blood relative

Bloods --- Will, Stan, Arnold
Will was as bright and charming as his grandfather said he would be.
Stan's Cousin Arnold is quite prone to bragging about his almost-21-year-old grandson. William is the Captain of the Cross-country team at the Ivy League's Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.. .  and is an excellent scholar and good-looking too, blah, blah, blah.

Daily workouts at sea-level apparently aren't punishing enough, so Will and some teammates have been training this month near Flagstaff, running daily over hill and dale in the ever more stressful high altitudes. Grandma and Grandpa, who winter in a Phoenix suburb, retrieved Will from the gulag today, to put him on a night flight from Sky Harbor back to the East Coast.
Stan and Will had never met. This day gave Stan an opportunity to intercept the three of them near the intersection of Highways 101 and I-17 at the local Olive Garden on Happy Valley Road -- to meet up and finally behold their wunderkind.

Cousin Arnold may be a braggart, but he is not a liar. Will is every bit the engaging, polite young man his grandpa says he is. A good time was had by all there at Happy Valley, as Will delighted table mates with stories of the mayoral politics and landscape of Providence, R.I., or of his youthful hijinks in Bellevue, Washington, where one of the neighbors was a well-known computer geek.
Stan's Grandpa was Paul Brown.
That's as close as Stan ever got to the
Ivy League.
Bill Gates lived down the road a ways, and Will and the neighborhood boys amused themselves from time to time messing with the security agents guarding the richest man and his family. Funny stuff.
Then Will listened to his elders discuss family and North Dakota and ancient history with nary a squirm.
Our lunch was soon over, an enjoyable time that could have gone on, but there was a workout planned for the afternoon. When Will says he has to run, he really means he has to run.
We'll watch our new blood acquaintance with great interest.  He's a really good guy with some justly-proud grandparents and he has a future as bright as his smile.
Just ask Cousin Arnold.


We'll wait for birder Greg Johnson to fill in the proper name of this graceful wading bird that was fishing along the shore of the city pond on Hayden this morning. We were on our way to the San Francisco Giants Fantasy Camp when we noticed Henry quietly fishing along the shore. He never caught anything, though we know there are fish in the pond. Kathleen watched in amazement as a cormorant caught, lost, and swallowed a huge fish whole on Sunday.
Henry is a crane or a stork or a heron or some such thing. Greg?

Greg says:
Great Blue Heron. We have 'em in Minnesota. Maybe some day in your idyllic pond, huh?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Abbey Point Al Fresco

From left, Greg, Stan, John, Phyllis, Kathleen, Mary
Our Shakopee neighbors, Greg and Phyllis, have a winter home in Gold Canyon, which is not far from here in Scottsdale. They joined us at the Arcadia Farms cafe in Old Town for lunch today, so we almost had a quorum for an Abbey Point homeowners association business meeting.
Greg and Phyllis have wintered here for six years, so they were able to give us some ideas on things to see. For fun, they volunteer at the Phoenix Open (look for them on Hole No. 14) and the Super Bowl, but the long-distance training requirements for their Super Bowl job (holding up a "Welcome" sign at the SkyHarbor airport) seemed a bit over the top, so they took a pass on it.

Tuxedo Baby Cake filled with milk chocolate mousse
covered with white chocolate ganache
Julia showed us around the menu and we ended up with Strawberry Chicken Salad (grilled chicken, vine-ripened strawberries, mixed baby greens, toasted almonds, poppyseed vinaigrette); and a Turkey and Brie sandwich (smoked turkey breast, brie, fig jam, sliced apples, MJ’s walnut bread - served warm).

A Chaska, Minnesota encounter

Until Wes spotted Stan's Minnesota hat on the Scottsdale multi-path near the Continental Golf Course today, the two had never met . . . , or even heard of the other, which is surprising.
Wes has a home in Chaska and owns a cabinet business in Chanhassen. Both Stan and Wes got business loans in the 70s from legendary Chaska Banker Red DuToit. Wes got an equipment loan for his fledgling cabinet enterprise, Stan and company borrowed $15,000 for something Red had never heard of: three computerized photo-typesetters. The loans were paid off and Stan and Wes spent their entire professional lives building the businesses and working in close proximity.
Wes still lives with his wife near the DuToit home on the Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska and sadly reported that Red passed away just two days ago.
Wes enjoys his winters in Scottsdale. In 2007 they bought a summer place on Lobster Lake in Alexandria . . . a few miles away from where the Rolfsrud family grew up.
Wes patronizes Chaser's Liquor in Chaska, which was owned by Stan's golf partner, Dave Chase, who winters with Jane near here. Dave was in the insurance business with Red for a time.
The big dog's name is "Cooper." He is not named after the legendary Chaska grocer by that name, however.
There's no obit for Red yet, here's his late wife's obituary:
DU TOIT, Dorothy Gayle (Martin), age 85, of Chaska, passed away on May 7, 2011. Dorothy is survived by her husband of 65 years, Dana "Red" Du Toit and their seven children: Gayle Dungey (Duane), Jane Fox (Barry), Kathryn Heger (Dean), Suzanne Du Toit, Doree Du Toit (Tim Tengblad), Dana Du Toit (Diane), David Du Toit and Pam Du Toit; 18 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, sisters, Jane Hertig, Margaret Winkel and Mary Kozlov. Preceded in death by her parents, David Wallace Martin and Maude Williams Martin; her brothers, David and Richard Martin. Dorothy was an extraordinary wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend and volunteer. Family Services were held at Lakewood Cemetery. Memorials preferred to Hazeltine Junior Golf, 1900 Hazeltine Blvd., Chaska, MN, 55318 or Ridgeview Hospice Home, 9210 Shady Oak Dr., Chaska, MN, 55318. BERTAS FUNERAL HOME, Chaska (952) 448-2137. - 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The sweetest thing at the market today

Photos by Stan Rolfsrud
Were there justice in this world, Loran Cox wouldn't need his day job.
The sweet and gentle sound of his jazz flugelhorn wafted over the savories at the Farmer's Market this morning, as patrons perused and sampled the sweet pea leaves, kimchi, barbecue sauces, breads, juices and such. He stood alone under his sun shade, surrounded by a modest array of electronic gear and an open trumpet case. We casually added our wadded donation to the padded case and then straightened up for a chat with this tall jazz guy in the cowboy hat who took up the trumpet long ago in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa.
Now there are bills to pay, and a family of five for this 4-year Phoenix resident, so a weekend gig and a night job here and there will have to do. The CD comes out this spring. Maybe sooner.
We thought he sounded as much like Charlie Haden as we've ever heard in person, but we didn't say so.
He's been around. His web site says:

As bandleader of the acclaimed Dallas-based 7-piece Latin jazz group “Mambo Combo”, performances have included South-by-Southwest Music Conference (SXSW) and National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) “Grammy Sessions Live”.

As a jazz trumpeter based in Miami, Loran has performed with Grammy, Latin Grammy and international recording artists including Luis Enrique, Lefty Perez, Marlow Rosado, Tito Puente, Jr., Lalo Rodriguez, “Cachao” Lopez, Nestor Torres and Desmond Child. Loran has appeared on television shows including "Sabado Gigante", "In Control" and “La Katimba".

He's available for $250 to $2500 a performance, the site says. Doesn't travel more than 10 miles. He does have a day job and a family, you know.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Milestone Tonight in Dundas!

Here's the heart of the hot water system, that's the hot water heater at left. The manifold, above, regulates and
distributes the hot water in the orange tubes that run throughout the house.
The hardest part of installing the new in-floor hot-water heating system in Jennifer's Old House was running the plastic hoses under the wood floors. The trickiest part was today, installing the manifold and making the system work. Malcom got it done today -- with a little consult from Joe, but as you read this, warm water is circulating in the Old House, gradually bringing it up to temperature. It will take more time and more work to get the final set up in place, but today was a milestone.

Today's hero: Malcom the Manifold Manager
 Jen writes from a celebration in a bar somewhere in Dundas: "It's crazy but the heat is on! Thanks to Malcom for putting the board together!!! And Joe for helping to figure out how it should work. And Jeanine and Tasha and Greg for helping to install the piping!! And Stan and etc... For installing a floor for me to put it in!"

Jennifer will be able to shut down her inefficient electric radiators as the hot water system takes over. There's still plenty of winter left to give it a good test.

Date night in Minneapolis

Marcy is going out tonight! Details at 11.

We get artsy-fartsy

Isn't this nice? We think so. That's artist Jeanne Ladewig-Goodman at right.

The first thing we noticed was that the artist was actually shorter than Kathleen. Then we noticed that all the colors in the mixed media presentation lined up well with our bathroom. Sand and strings and texture and lots of Elmer's glue came together for this very pleasing work.
Gave us pause and something to think about.

We met the delightful Jeanne Ladewig-Goodman last night in the Method Art gallery during the weekly Thursday night Art Walk around Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale. The area galleries lay out wine and cheese and sandwiches, cookies, cole slaw and cinnamon buns for meandering visitors, so we ate our way from one end of the district to the other, enjoying the art and the warm night air. The boulevard trees are all lit up, there are young street merchants, street musicians and a festive air.
Free food and drink, free entertainment and plenty of free parking. Art work is not included. . .

At left, John admired David Hill's numbered print of his painting of 24 hours at Le Mans. complete with the signatures of Dan Gurney, A.J. Foyt, and others.
Yes, that's the renown David Hill, in person.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

On our Walk to David's for Breakfast

Photo by Stan Rolfsrud
John Hearts Mary