The Friendly Fifth

Ole’s Corner

Featured Valhall Lodge Member

Read Kris Garmanger story below -
A lifetime with Valhall
In the year 1925 I was born in the village of Roros, Norway, a copper mining community in South Trondelog Province. This little town is now a United Nations heritage site, which means that the outward appearance of the town cannot be changed. It has an 18th century appearance, dominated by an old church, well known in Norway.
At the age of three, I accompanied my mother as we emigrated to America aboard the Bergensffjord, one three identical passenger ships. My father met us in Chicago and we took up residence on Parmele Street in Rockford. Before long we were also established as members of Valhall Lodge in the Norwegian-Danish church.
My parents immerse themselves in the activities of the Lodge frequently taken meet with them. Meetings were held and Tegner Hall on Fourth Avenue, a big wooden building with a large meeting room where we had dinner, danced around the Christmas tree and presented plays by Ibsen. Later, the Lodge bought a property on the Kishwaukee River, and put up a rustic building of our own.  On hot Sundays we went there for picnics. The men gathered around a wooden stand and cooled off with icy beer.  My buddy, Reidar Gundhus, and I consumed ice cream and pop, but with money that we got from our mellow fathers. This place, that we called”the land” was taken from us, presumably to become a National Guard airbase, which never actually materialized. My father, was all so involved in the Harmony Singing Society, worked hard on behalf of Valhall, and eventually was elected National President of the Lodge and its approximately 25,000 members.
As we all do, I grew up, and serve during the Great War.  A return, went to college, and became a teacher in a western suburb of Chicago, but I retain my membership and the Lodge. During those years I belong to the Chicago codfish club. Is there anything better than boiled torsk with potatoes and melted butter? We met regularly in the corners of the Chicago Norway club, a more professional organization.
Upon retirement, my wife and I moved back to Rockford.  She was of Swedish ancestry, and grew up in the same general neighborhood - Broadway, 11th St., 7th Street, and Illinois Central tracks.  Almost immediately we throw ourselves back into the activities of the lodge.  In order to have a house of our own for our meetings and dinners we moved into a former church in the Machesney Park area, and furnished it very nicely to give it a Norse atmosphere. I had the privilege of being speaker or master of ceremonies on various occasions. One of the most enjoyable experiences for us was the reading group. This had been established by Rev. Wang, who served as our manager whenever his busy life permitted. Our readers, including Margaret Dahlgren, Clare Almquist, Herman and Marge Johnson, Jeanne Koplas, Iolyn Beers, and other devoted members of the Lodge.
Our years in this beloved little slice of Norway came to an end, but the Lodge itself, the people both old and new, who are the heart and soul of our fraternity, continue to embrace the Norwegian and American ideals that we have cherished for over 100 years.
Kris Garmanger                                

 

Featured Lodge Samhold #5-473 Member Elizabeth 'Betty' Jeskey celebrates 101st Birthday

The rocker chair Betty is sitting in was the same chair she had been rocked in as a young child.


 
Betty's Story as it appeared in the Samhold Lodge April newsletter.

Elizabeth Lee Haugan (means hill), was born at home near Fosston, Minnesota on March 23, 1916.
She was the third and last child of Matthias Evald (known as Evald) and Clara Haugan.

Evald was born in Norway in 1858 and raised on the family farm.
The farm--which dates back to 1593--was in Botne; near Holmestrand, Norway.
He emigrated to the United States in 1887 and became a U.S. citizen in 1898. He claimed to be a farmer of his 151 land-granted
acres but he was more noted as a traveling salesman. When his first wife died -- leaving him with 6 children to raise -- he notified some
relatives in his native Norway.

As a result, Clara Lie (a banker's daughter from Bergen) agreed to come to the United States for 2-years to help him with the children.
Evald and Clara ended up marrying within 2-months of her arrival in 1912. Clara longed for her homeland and was never truly happy in the
United States. Even though she could understand and read English, she never spoke it. Clara and Evald had disagreed about purchasing some
additional acreage on credit; consequently, they lost the farm during the depression. Evald died while Betty was still a teenager.

At 20 years of age, Betty and a girlfriend went to Duluth and then to Minneapolis to work. They worked as domestics (nannies) and as
waitresses. In 1939, they both went to Detroit where Betty's brother Olaf lived. While in Detroit, she started going by the name of
“Betty”. It was there that she met and married Raymond Charles Jeskey in April 1939. He was a machinist and a musician. He often played with
local big bands. It is believed he met Betty while on one of those gigs. Betty worked as a bookkeeper, even while their son and three
daughters were growing up. Raymond and Betty were married for over 50-years. They enjoyed researching genealogy and were avid square
dancers. Betty also did cross-country skiing and was a skilled crocheter.

Their family of four children has now grown to include: 9 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren. Most of them attended her 100th birthday party held in Chesterfield, Michigan on March 20th, 2016. Three family members have died: Her husband and their daughter Clarice died approximately six-months apart during the early 1990s and a granddaughter was a victim of a drunk driver.

Ever since childhood Betty has longed to explore the world...and she has. Her extensive travels have taken her to four continents.  Besides
North America, she has been to South America, Australia, and Europe.

In the 1990s, she along with her daughter Romaine traveled to Norway and Germany to visit relatives and to sightsee. Her wanderlust was
evident even in Detroit; she wouldn't stay put. During her marriage, they moved around 5 times; since his death, she has moved an
additional 6 times. Just maybe, the secret to her longevity is her desire to keep moving.

Permission by her daughter Romaine Jeskey to reprint artilce submitted by  Bill Injerd

Troll Mountain Project - Update

The latest update from the Mt Horeb Chamber Office…
The George Sievers Memorial named Troll Mountain will be ongoing, with different parts of the project completed in phases. About $22,000
has been raised for this project thus far, and hopes are to break ground this Spring. Meetings with a landowner adjacent to the project have been held.  The purchase of additional land will provide space for parking next to the city-owned parcel where the Troll Mountain will stand.  Providing the
landscaper completes his designs, and the purchase of land is completed, the project could begin in the Spring of 2017.

The Chamber Office welcomes additional donations, and interested persons may send their donation to: Mt. Horeb Chamber of Commerce, 300
East Main Street, Mt. Horeb, WI 53572. Please send in care of: Melissa Thiesen, Chamber Executive Director.  Thiesen may be contacted at
608-437-5914 with any further questions.

In Memory Of

Raymond P. Knutson, 80, of Davis Junction passed away Friday January 20, 2017 at his residence with         family by his side.
Raymond was born on June 13, 1936 in Dunn County, WI the son of Harry and Ruth (Peterson) Knutson.       He married Sally A. Junck on February 28, 1959. Raymond was of the Lutheran faith. He belonged to the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 23 for over 50 years and then became a Building Inspector for Loves Park          for 9 years. Raymond taught apprentices the trade at Local 23 for many years. He was a member of the      Ellida Lodge where he was Chief for 30 years, he was also a member of the Lithuanian Club, was a lifetime member of the 3 L Club, Harmony Sportsman's Club, Association of Clubs. He was Past President, Treasurer and board member of the Sons of Norway and Grand Chief of the IOV where he served 22 years on the council.
Raymond is survived by his wife Sally; daughter Vickie Knutson; son Steven Robert Knutson; 3 grandsons, 1 granddaughter and 5 great-grandchildren; brother Harlen (Lorna) Knutson; sisters Inez Satter, Sandra (Thomas) Werner and Victoria (Stanley) Cronk; several nieces and nephews.
Raymond was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Oris, Wesley, Gaylon, Delmer and Richard; sister's Marion and Lorraine Knutson.
A service to celebrate Raymond's life will be 11:00 am on Thursday January 26, 2017 at Sunset Funeral Home 8800 N. Alpine Road in Machesney Park. Visitation will be from 10:00 am until time of service on Thursday   at the funeral home. Entombment will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens
Ref:  Sunset Funeral Home - Jan 23, 2017
                                                                ____________________________________________
 
Sons of Norway Valhall Lodge will deeply miss the presence of Ray. He was generous with his time, knowledge and lighthearted Norwegian jokes. He served as our lodge Treasurer, District 5 President, Vice President, Treasurer, Director and ultimately the International Director and Treasurer. One of his more recent offerings was to let the lodge use his "Viking Ship" at the Midtown Ethnic Heritage Parades then the 2016 Midsummer Festival which was enjoyed by several thousand community members.
We send condolences to the Knutson family, especially his wife Sally who served alongside Ray.
Vicki Rudh-Jones, Valhall Lodge President
 
Our deepest sympathy to Sally and her family as well as Valhall Lodge. I think I am in the same position as many in sharing that Ray was a mentor to many and a dedicated Sons of Norway member and member of numerous other organizations. He was a tireless worker, an honest, fun loving and generous man who loved his heritage, his family, and the organizations that he served. I think he loved all of us too in a very special way- I will certainly miss him and am so appreciative of the help he has given me the past 25+ years I've known him. We sure had a lot of fun together over the years at so many Sons of Norway events. We have truly lost a great resource for our District and a friend to so many.    Fraternally, Darlene Arneson, District 5 Secretary
 

Featured District 5 Lodge Member

Beloved charter member, Hazel Bujak was presented with a 75 year membership pin, certificate and special cake at the June meeting of Sognefjord Lodge #523, Muskegon, Mi. She originally joined Nordkapp Lodge in Detroit in 1941 and had also attended that lodge during her first 18 years with her parents. Also pictured (left to right) are daughter Britta Bujak Portenga, and charter members: Inger Johansen and Carolyn & Einar Ness. Sadly, Hazel passed away August 28th at the age of 93. She was very proud of her 100% Norwegian heritage.Beloved charter member, Hazel Bujak was presented with a 75 year membership pin, certificate and special cake at the June meeting of Sognefjord Lodge #523, Muskegon, Mi. She originally joined Nordkapp Lodge in Detroit in 1941 and had also attended that lodge during her first 18 years with her parents. Also pictured (left to right) are daughter Britta Bujak Portenga, and charter members: Inger Johansen and Carolyn & Einar Ness. Sadly, Hazel passed away August 28th at the age of 93. She was very proud of her 100% Norwegian heritage.

DID YOU KNOW?

Ole Bull was an actual person?  Ole Bull was born 'Ole Bornemann Bull' on February 5, 1810 in Bergen, Norway.
He was the oldest of ten children. His parents were Johan and Anna Bull.  His father wanted him to become a minister. Ole Bull dreamed of becoming a musician.  At the age of four he was able to play all the songs he had heard his mother play on the violin.  By nine years of age , he played his first violin in the Bergen Theater orchestra and was a soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.  He joined the Musical Lyceum Society at eighteen.  He came the director of the Musical Lyceum and the Theater Orchestra in 1828.
Ole Bull married Alexandrine Villeminot in 1836.  They had six children.  In 1862 Alexandrine died.  In 1870, He secretly married Sara Thorp in Norway, the daughter of a prosperous lumber merchant from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  They were formally married later that year in Madison, Wisconsin.  Ole and Sara had one daughter, Olea.  Sara traveled will him during the remainder of his career, sometimes accompanying him on the piano.
Ole Bull had visited the United States several times.  In 1852, he obtained a large tract of land in Pennsylvania and founded the New Norway colony. The land consisted of four communites: New Bergen (now known as Carter Camp), Oleana (named after Ole and his mother), New Norway and Valhalla.
The highest point of Valhalla became the location of his unfinished castle.  Today the location is known as Ole Bull State Park in Stewardson, Pennsylvania.  Norwegian citizens paid for a monument to honor Ole Bull to be placed in the park on the 150th anniversary of New Norway.

Troll Mountain Project

At the recent District Five Convention and Lodge meeting held in Marshfield, WI a resolution was passed to memorialize George Sievers.  George was a past Local Lodge, District and International Board officer.  Local Lodges or individuals may wish to support and promote the creation of “Troll Mountain.”
Tax deductible donations can be made to George Sievers Memorial, c/o Friends of the Mount Horeb Welcome Center, 300 E. Main Street, Mount Horeb, WI  53572. 
Presented by the Friends of the Mount Horeb Welcome Center
 
HISTORY
Mount Horeb has been branded the Troll Capital of the World because of the Lee Vogel, Nancy Sievers Vogel and George Sievers Family and we would like to continue that effort. In the1970s, the Sievers family started placing trolls they had imported from Norway out on their lawn to entice visitors into their shop. The trolls caught not only the visitor's attention, but that of passing truckers. According to the Vogel-Siever’s family, in the late 1970s, truckers would denote their location to trucker buddies on CB radio by saying " I just passed your mother-in-law on 18/151"-referring to the trolls they had just passed in Mount Horeb.
Here is the TIMELINE the project is currently working with:
  • Conceptual approval with Sievers family –completed
  • Planning Commission Approval – completed
  • Collection of funds ongoing
  • Grant writing ongoing
With various groups
  • Fabrication of hypertufa or metal faceplate – fall/winter 2016
  • Installation and dedication early spring 2017 (weather permitting)
If project does not come to fruition, monies will be used toward additional trolls for Mount Horeb.