The Friendly Fifth

Ole’s Corner

Should this be the District 5 Sons of Norway Theme Song?

What Do You Think?  
"Norville, Take me back" 
copyright credit owner and author:  
Ottar Johansen, Joe Sun and Tire Andersen
You will find the song on Otter Johansen label New Cut´s the video,

In Memory of past D5 Board Member Nancy Tuznik

Nancy Josefine (Gjersengen) Tuznik, 91, of La Porte, IN, passed away peacefully at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 4, 2023, in her home.

She was born October 30, 1931, in Aremark, Norway, to Nils and Esther (Spondalen) Gjersengen.
Nancy owned Tuznik Upholstery with her husband, John. She was a very active member of Sons of Norway and helped start two lodges and participated in Ski for Light for many years as a guide to blind skiers. She also taught Rosemaling (Norwegian folk painting) to her fellow lodge members. She became a Girl Scout Leader so that her daughter’s school could have a troop for her daughter to attend. She was a loyal friend to many and always the first to help when someone was in need. She was a great animal lover and will be dearly missed.

On March 6, 1954, in Oslo, Norway, she married the love of her life, Jan (John) Tuznik who preceded her in death.

Nancy was a past District 5 Board member (zone director 1988-1992 and Cultural Director 1992-1996) Nancy was very instrumental in starting our Sons of Norway in Chesterton and worked tirelessly making it a wonderful organization 
Click to Read her full obituary 

In Memory of Charleen Seville 1938-2022

Cleng Peerson Lodge President, Charleen Seville passed away unexpectedly on September 18, 2022.
Her absence has been felt mightly within at the Cleng Peerson lodge.
Charleen's dedication to Cleng Peerson 5-525 was unwavering, with leadership, encouragement and support in all things heartfelt. 
The lodge dedicated their 50 year celebration in memory of Charleen.
Read Charleen's obituary here :  

Mandt Lodge members celebrated their 90th (Marilyn) and 99th (Margaret) birthdays

Long time Sons of Norway/Mandt Lodge members Margaret Arneson and Marilyn Maurer celebrated their 90th (Marilyn) and 99th (Margaret) birthdays with almost 300 family and friends. The party on June 12, 2022 was hosted by their children and held at John & Darlene Arneson’s Fantasy Shed in Stoughton, Wisconsin. The family also celebrated the 35th wedding anniversary of John & Darlene Arneson, John's 65th birthday and Darlene's 60th birthday.
The guests enjoyed wonderful food and desserts (the birthday girls made their grandchildren's favorite treats-Margaret's chocolate chip cookies and Marilyn's Special K Bars), Spaten beer from the Essen Haus plus other beverages and could dance to the music of Mike Snyder, while enjoying a beautiful summer day. In lieu of gifts, folks made donations to the Badger Food Pantry (Verona), Stoughton Food Pantry, and Personal Essentials Pantry.

They were so appreciative and humbled by all who attended, sent greetings, traveled distances, made special efforts to make the day so memorable.


D5 Lodges Celebrating Anniversaries in 2022.

   January 4    Trygvason     5-220   Osseo, WI  100 years
October 28     Cleng Peerson    5-525   Ottawa, IL  50 years
December 7    Norsemen of the Lakes  5-650  Delavan, WI  25 years
December 10  Sognefjord 5-523  Muskegon, MI  50 years

Fosselynggen lodge Member of the month

Gratulerer til Ralph Norman Olsen MD og Eugenie!
Ralph’s daughter Wendy Olsen wrote the following:
On May 14th, on Cedar Lake (Wisconsin not Indiana:)  my far Ralph Olsen and 45 year SONS OF NORWAY member, turned 92!  We dined on a traditional fare for Norwegian Independence Day. 
Colonel Ralph Norman Olsen MD - US Army retired has lectured and traveled Scandinavia all his life.  His father, Norman Olsen, was a merchant Mariner from Bergen Norway.  An active member of the Sons of Norway Milwaukee, Ralph lectured throughout Wisconsin and in Norway about ‘The winter War - General Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim of Finland’ and still speaks Norwegian quite fluently! 
Vi er så glade for å være Sons of Norway-medlemmer og lykkelig avhengighetsdag!
 My father is also a Korean War veteran and retired as an Army Colonel in 1985 after 35 years of service.  He and his wife (my mother) Lt. Eugenie Fisher Olsen lived in France while stationed there from 1959-1964.  Eugenie is also a Korean War Veteran.  Ralph and Eugenie have been married 62 years!
From Linda Reed; One of my favorite memories of your Dad is of him reciting the Christmas story from the Bible in Norwegian at our Language Class Christmas parties and at lutefisk dinners. Hilsen,

Melvin Haugen longtime Valhall Lodge member reaches 100 yr Milesstone

Melvin Theodore Haugen was born at home on June 12, 1921 in Mt Horeb, Wisconsin to Norwegian immigrants Haakon “Henry” & Regina Haugen. Mel’s father didn’t make it into Madison to record his birth until June 13th, so county recorded it as the 13th forevermore! He has always been adamant that the date his mother recorded in the family Bible is his true birthday. . This was never a major issue until he had to deal with Social Security Administration at age 65. Melvin grew up as a middle child with two sisters: Helen, born in 1919 and Florence born in 1924.
Melvin married RayJean Westman on September 18, 1948, an outdoor wedding on her parents’ front lawn with her sister Myrtle standing up for her and Mel’s best friend John Dietrich standing for him. Just 14 months later in November 1949 they gave birth to Donna Marie (Sam Creek), in March 1951 they welcomed their 2nd daughter, Diane Louise. In December 1953 they added a third daughter, Debra Sue (Richard Nelson) to their growing family. In July 1959 they had a surprise blessing when Dawn Rae (John Gessner) was born. Another girl! What’s a fella going to do with all those girls around??!!  In June of 1963 they welcomed a 5th tow-headed daughter, Darla Jean, who had the lightest blonde hair of all 5 girls—now they had 5 Ds!
Melvin currently lives at Heritage Woods Rockford with minimal assistance, surviving the COVID19 Pandemic of 2020! 
Mel has had many hobbies and interests throughout his life. His biggest interest? Following the Chicago Cubs and all things Baseball. Mel is also known for his love & skill with crossword puzzles. He always enjoyed gardening & birdwatching, surrounded by bird houses. A “Master Tinkerer”, Mel loves to tinker with things, anything that needed fixing he’d work with until he figured it out. He also loves to utilize discarded things to build new! Daughter Debbie proudly remembers when he made a picnic table out of discarded wood from the Camp Grant steps! He was also a very good dancer! In the 1940s he traveled to California along Route 66, stopping along the route dancing to big band music, jazz and swing. Mel has been a member of First Free Church for many years, began attending in 1948 with RayJean. Although he cannot attend services these days, he streams the services on his iPad each Sunday. He was also an active member of the Sons of Norway.

Click to Check out "Birthdays Reaching 100 year Milestones" in our photo gallery 

Arthur Merlin Ford celebrates his 100th birthday

Arthur Merlin Ford celebrates his 100th birthday on Sunday, June 27, 2021.  Arthur was born June 27, 1921 in rural Mabel, Minnesota to parents Alvin and Minnie.  He grew up with siblings Marie, Jerome and Alvin Jr. on the family farm.  Arthur graduated from Mabel High School in 1939 and continues to attend their annual alumni meeting each year.  He enlisted in the United States Navy in February 1942 and served through December 1946.  He served on ships that delivered supplies to the Pacific Islands. Arthur married Katherine Thingvold on November 2, 1944.  After his time in the service the couple settled in La Crosse, Wisconsin and were blessed with 68 years of marriage, two daughters, 3 granddaughters and one great grandson. He retired from the La Crosse Public Library in 1987.  Arthur joined the Sons of Norway in 1991 and continues to be an active member today.   He contributes his longevity to good genes and homemade meals.  His mother lived to 101 and his aunt was 102.  He credits his grandmothers, mother, and wife for their good cooking.  Arthur feels very blessed to have reached this milestone birthday!  

Arthur is a member of the Wergeland Lodge.  The article was written by the granddaughter of Arthur Ford and submitted by Julia and Al Forde  .

In Memory of

It is with great sadness that I share the news of Ron Iverson's passing. Ron served for two terms on the District 5 Sons of Norway Board. He and Sandy live in Westby and have been such dedicated Sons of Norway members.  Darlene Arneson
Ronald John Iverson
October 24, 1937 - June 2, 2021

Ronald J. Iverson, age 83 of Westby, Wis., passed away peacefully at his home on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.

Ron was born October 24, 1937, on the family farm outside Viroqua, Wis. to John and Nora (Midtlien) Iverson. He graduated from VHS in 1955, then enlisted in the US Army and served from 1957 to 1959, in Vicenza Italy.

Ron and Sandra Storbakken were married Nov 12, 1960, in Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Westby where they were still members.

He was always employed in agriculture from growing up on the farm an Asbury Ridge to employment with Tri State Breeders in Rushford, MN. They moved back to Westby for employment at Farmers Union/Cennex Co-op and the last 20 years as a Wisconsin Agronomy Rep for Cenex Land O Lakes, St Paul. During a lot of this time the family also raised tobacco which he actually enjoyed.

Ron was active in the community serving on the City Council, WCCU Board, Vernon Communications Board, Sons of Norway District Board, Church Council, and many Agricultural committees.

Ron was very social and enjoyed many long-time friendships, we never went anywhere that he didn't know someone. He enjoyed school and sports activities for his children and grandchildren. Also enjoyed traveling, going back to Italy where he was stationed and 3 trips to Norway spending time with relatives there. There was lots of camping, boating, and traveling closer to home and many music events. There were many family times on the homestead farm in Spring Coulee. His great joy was his family.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Sandra; one son, Charles Iverson of Westby; four grandchildren, Rev. Joe (Brianna) Iverson of Galesville, Andrew (Sara Broock) Iverson of Minneapolis, Seonah Iverson of San Francisco CA, and Ryan Connelly of Sun Prairie; three great grandchildren, Mary, Nora, and Isaac Iverson of Galesville; his brother, Marvin (Kathleene) Iverson of West Salem; brother in-law, Terry (Linda) Storbakken of Arizona; nephews and nieces, Amy (Jerry) Clements, Becky (Steve) Furuta, Shawn (Michell) Storbakken, and Tammy Arntz.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kristi in September 2020 and his son-in-law Tim in 2011; infant son, Edwin John; his parents, John and Nora Iverson; in-laws, Ed and Charity Stobakken, and nephew, Jon Iverson.

Funeral services will be held Monday, June 7, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Westby. Pastor Meg Hoversten will officiate. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Family and friends are invited for visitation Sunday, June 6, 2021, from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m. at the Vosseteig Funeral Home in Westby. Visitation will also be held from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at the church on Monday.

Vosseteig Funeral Home of Westby is serving Ronald's family.
708 S. Main Street
Westby, WI 54667
(608) 634-2100

Phyllis Benson, Celebrates 100 years!

Barb Johnson , Editor of Polar Star
Note: My mom, Phyllis Benson, is a 2nd generation Norwegian American child who grew up in rural Dekalb County Illinois and just turned 100.
This is the article that Barb wrote about her life. It appeared in her local newspaper on 5/12/21

Phyllis Knutson Benson turned 100 on May 13th. 
Phyllis Benson of Sandwich, Illinois celebrated her 100th birthday on May 13th 2021. She was born on Friday, the 13 of May, 1921, in the Waterman Illinois Hospital, the daughter of Andrew Bernie Knutson and Pearl Emily Keene . Phyllis married Russel J. Benson on May 17, 1942 and they were married for sixty-two years. She has three daughters; Connie (Chuck) Kross of Sandwich, Barb (Ken) Johnson of Yorkville, and Joni (Al) Koehler)of Sandwich; eight grandchildren; Christy (Tim) Cordt, Corey (Greg) Zabukover, Greg (Candy) Johnson, T.J. (Andrea) Johnson, Matthew Johnson, Andrew (Erika) Koehler, Jake (Meagan) Koehler, Ben ( Monique) Johnson and 12 Great Grandchildren. Phyllis Benson is a career educator who attended and taught in a room school house. She earned teaching degrees from Northern Illinois University and Aurora University and taught third grade in Sandwich at Haskin and Prairie View Schools. Phyllis is a life-long learner and genealogist who wrote her autobiography entitled, From Horse and Buggy to the Moon, which chronicles her life as a child growing up on a farm in rural America, her life during the depression, WWII and her experiences witnessing the space age as the wife of a member of the Titan Missile Project. She is a member of the Cleng Peerson Sons of Norway Lodge, General John Stark Daughters of the American Revolution Lodge, and the Fox Valley Community Center where she is an avid Bridge player. She celebrated her first century of life with her family and friends at the Fox Valley Community Center on May 16th 2021. 

Ref: Polar Star Newsletter May, 2021  Photos courtsey of Barb Johnson

Celebrate Syttende Mai - May 17th

Syttende Mai (May 17th) is usually celebrated in public with massive parades of school kids, russ (high school seniors) wearing blue and red coveralls, adults donning bunader (folk costumes) and marching bands. It’s a day for expressing cultural pride, excitement for spring and for appreciating the founding of an independent Norway.

There are plenty of ways to have a festive occasion, even when social distancing:

One thing that you see everywhere on Grunnlovsdagen or Constitution Day are Norwegian flags and red, white and blue decorations. Incorporate these colors into your food, or if that’s not possible, decorate with flag toothpicks and red, white and blue napkins.

Typical dress for all ages is a bunad, or national folk costume, but don’t stress if you don’t have one; people without costumes tend to dress nicely and pin red, white and blue ribbons onto their lapel, or wear the Norwegian colors in another way.

Put on some Norwegian tunes or sing a few yourselves. The national anthem, Ja, Vi Elsker Dette Landet is a favorite, along with Norge I Rødt, Hvitt og Blått. Search on YouTube for SonsofNorwayHQ playlists of Norwegian music—both traditional and modern.

Gratulererer med dagen!
A typical activity on Syttende Mai is saying “Gratulerer med dagen!” (Congratulations on this day!) or “Hurra for Syttende Mai!” (Hooray for May 17th!). Repeat this to everyone you see throughout the day.

Syttende Mai is a banner day for kids in Norway, as they are usually allowed to consume as much soda, hot dogs and ice cream as they want. Some Norwegians make a fancy brunch before heading to the local parade.
For the koldtbord (smorgasbord), favorites include smoked salmon, trout, cured meats, scrambled eggs, porridge, salads and champagne. Later in the day, enjoy coffee with bløtkake, a layered cream cake with fresh fruit- often using blueberries and strawberries to make a flag on top. Heart-shaped waffles and kransekake (a tiered almond ring cake made of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites) may be decorated with Norwegian flag toothpicks.

Hurra for Syttende Mai!

Ref. Shawnee Skogen newsletter May, June 2021

March 31, 2021 from International President Ron Stubbings

Who would have predicted a year ago the impact of COVID-19 on our lives? It has been unimaginable! While it has been a challenging 12 months, you, your fellow members and lodge leaders have responded in so many positive ways. Our fraternal spirit is going strong.

As we wait for in-person meeting restrictions to ease, I hope you take heart from knowing that even in 2020, new members still flocked to join Sons of Norway. You helped Sons of Norway exceed the new member goal by an impressive 24%—reaching a total of 7,815 new members!

Though the pandemic may put restrictions on gathering at times, you can still invite friends and family to join and enjoy the exclusive benefits of Sons of Norway membership.

... Please continue to spread the good word about membership as we move forward in 2021. Take a minute to chat with family members about Sons of Norway. Offer a friendly invitation to take part in a fun activity or event, even if it is virtual for now. You never know what a difference your invitation will make for that person.

Here’s the information you need to know about our 2021 New Member Campaign
1. Our Sons of Norway International Board of Directors has set a goal of 8,200 new social and financial benefits members. That is a 5% increase over the actual number of 7,815 new members recruited in 2020.
2. While our organization goal is a 5% increase, your lodge is being asked to build on last year’s success by recruiting 4% more new members in 2021 than in 2020. For lodges that recruited 3 or fewer new members in 2020, the goal is 4 new members per lodge.
3. View the recruitment goal listing by district and lodge online, updated quarterly.

Recognition for Lodges and Members
At the end of the campaign, lodges that meet the recruitment goal will be recognized with:
 A $125 award (or equivalent funds for lodges in Norway and Canada). The lodge may use these funds as it prefers.
 Achievement certificates for the lodge and recruiting lodge members. These certificates will be sent with an attribution list identifying who each member recruited.
 A stunning, limited-edition 2021 Recruiter Pin will be sent directly to members after they recruit their first new member in 2021.

Please talk to others about what you enjoy about your membership and what membership offers them. That might be learning a new folk art through our cultural skills program, reconnecting with their heritage through Viking magazine or researching genealogy and family history—a passion for so many of our members. If we each invite at least one friend, neighbor or family member to an upcoming meeting or event, we will reach the 2021 goal well before the end of 2021. That’s how we can share our caring, welcoming communities and build a brighter future for all. Thank you for being a Sons of Norway member!

Ron Stubbings
Proud Sons of Norway Member Since 1976
International President

P.S Check out our 2021 Recruitment Campaign FAQs now! You can read them below.

Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what the lodge goal is for 2021? Lodge leaders can log in to view the goal information. We have published the 2021 goals by district and lodge in a 2021 campaign goal document available when you log in at For your reference, the final 2020 recruitment results are also available on our website.
Examples of recruitment goals:
 If your lodge recruited 15 new members in 2020, a 4% increase means we are asking you increase that number by 1 this year (rounding up to the next whole number) for a total of 16 new members in 2021.
 If your lodge recruited between 0 and 3 new members in 2020, your goal is 4 new members in 2021.
How can a lodge track its progress? Regular monthly reports your lodge receives include new members who have joined the prior month. Each quarter, we will update the year-to-date results posted on our website.
What constitutes a new member? A new member is a completely new-to-Sons-of-Norway, dues-paid member who joins with either an individual or family membership. Former members count as new members only if they re-join at least 2 years after the exact date their prior membership expired. Heritage members (children under age 16) do not count toward the goal.
Does lodge size factor in when calculating the goal? No. This year we are encouraging all lodges to build on their 2020 results by 4%, no matter the size of lodge. What about members who leave the lodge? The lodge goal is only concerned with recruitment, so it is not affected by a loss of existing members. Membership retention is vital to a healthy lodge. Sons of Norway encourages you to create a welcoming lodge atmosphere with a wide variety of social, cultural, and volunteer activities for all.
What is the time frame? Lodges have from January 1 through Monday, December 13 to recruit new members and return paper forms and dues payments to Sons of Norway headquarters. If you wish to enroll new members online, please act by no later than December 30. To count toward the lodge recruitment goal, all new member enrollments and dues payments must be received within the timeframes above to guarantee they can be processed by Sons of Norway headquarters in 2021.
How do I get credit for recruiting? It’s up to each member to provide their member number to those they invite to join. Write your name and member number clearly on the paper enrollment form in the “Membership referred by” area provided. For prospective members who want to sign up online, ask them to enter your member number in the “referring member” field at the bottom of the online form. It is the responsibility of the recruiting member and lodge to provide accurate recruiter information to headquarters at the time of enrollment.
What if I have questions about the campaign or results? As the year progresses, periodic result updates will appear in our digital newsletters: Leadership Resource (sent to lodge officers) and E-Post (sent to all members).
If you have other questions, please email them to

Great idea from Edvard Grieg Lodge!

Edvard Grieg Scavenger Hunt
Last weekend Edvard Grieg lodge held a virtual Norwegian scavenger hunt via Zoom. The important thing about the scavenger hunt format is that it is uniquely suited for virtual meetings, as it involves using items in our homes and sharing via the video and audio capabilities available in Zoom (or other meeting applications). Organized by our lodge secretary Kathy Skinner, the object was to see who could find the highest number of items on a list of 20 items related to Norwegian heritage or life. Kathy sent out the list a week before our meeting, with instructions (highlighted on the envelope) not to open it until the meeting (we also allowed people to join at the meeting as well). Once Kathy shared a few more instructions, she announced to ‘open your envelope’ and participants had 20 minutes to find the items on the list (you may wish to limit to 15 or 10 minutes). Being competitive Norwegians we all immediately set up rummaging around our homes for our items. We then tallied the scores (the winner receiving a gift prize of our D5 card deck of course), and then asked people to share the items they found in each category if they wished. The sharing was lively and fun, including a number of rare and unique items that were a pleasure to see and hear about.
If anyone would like the list of items or more detailed information, contact Jim Herman at .

Nordic News' First Virtual

Nordic News' first virtual "radio show" had its debut on Tuesday, April 28 with 30 lodge members throughout District 5 participating. 
Nordic News goals are to introduce D5 members to experts in Nordic or Nordic-American heritage and as an outreach activity to D5 members during the COVID-19 crisis.  Presenter Glenn Borreson, of Wergeland lodge 5-28, did a talk on "Maria the Midwife: Stories of Norwegian Midwives in the Midwest."
Borreson gives a dozen different presentations on Norwegian-American topics.  During the Q&A session after his talk, one participant shared that their lodge really enjoyed Borreson's talk on "coffin ships" which focuses on death which some immigrants faced on their way to America.  Borreson will be back in May to give this presentation.
Cheryl Wille-Schlesser, District 5 Sports and Recreation director also updated us on the "District 5 walk to Ringsaker."
If you missed the Nordic News presentation, you can view all of them by clicking here:

The upcoming schedule includes:
Tuesday, May 5: Norwegian-Americans in Michigan (by Norkap lodge in Detroit MI)
Tuesday, May 12: "Project Hermott/Thams Pavillion" (by Cheryl Wille-Schlesser)
Tuesday, May 19:  75th Anniversary of the End of WWII in Norway: Eyewitnesses (Ola Hirth)
Tuesday, May 26: Chicago's Eastland Disaster and Norwegian-American Heroes (Andy Johnsen)
Tuesday, June 02:  Coffin Ships: Death on the Ocean Crossing - One Family's Story (Glenn Borreson)
Tuesday, June 09: Trip to Western Norway and Oslo (Jim Secora)
Tuesday, June 16:  "Joy of Norwegian Woodcarving"  by James Ray Miller:
Tuesday, June 23: Norwegian Tales to Tell: The Art of Storytelling - Joy Bashara
(Gronvik lodge - Green Bay WI)
Tuesday, June 30: 
Norsk Museum: Norway IL (David Johnson, Cleng Peerson-Norway IL)
Tuesday, July 07: Norskadalen Norwegian-American Cultural Center - Lori Dubczek
Tuesday, July 14: Viking Ship Funeral - Debra Kraft (Norkap-Detroit MI)
Tuesday, July 21: Erie Canal: Immigrant Gateway to the West - Daryl Wunrow (Fosselyngen-Milwaukee WI)

Tuesday, July 28 - The Viking Ship sailed to the 1893 Columbian Exhibition -Samantha Simera Bamberger (Friends of the Viking Ship - Geneva IL)
Tuesday, August 4
- D5 Scandinavian Photo Contest Award Ceremony
Tuesday, August 11 - Stavern Folkehøgskole: Norwegian Folk School 2019-20 (Mathea Diedrich)
Tuesday, August 18 - Rosemaling at Masse Moro (50:48) (Carol Bender, Elvedal lodge, Wisconsin Rapids WI) 
Tuesday, August 25 - Mount Horeb - Troll Capital of America (36:16)  (Cheryl Wille-Schlesser, Vennelag lodge, Mount Horeb WI)
Tuesday, September 1 - Magnus Swenson: Norwegian-American Inventor
Tuesday, September 8 - Norw-Am Genealogy Library (Dana Kelly) 
Tuesday, September 15 - Starting a New Lodge: Shawnee Skogen - One Year Later (Wendy Winkelman)
Tuesday September 22 - D5 Photo Contest: Lodge Winners 
Meeting start times are 6:20 PM (CT), 7:20 PM (ET). 
The session opens 10 minutes early, to give you time to connect.  The meeting will be finished about 40 minutes later.
You can participate by:
computer at:
or telephone at: 646-749-3112 (access code: 509-077-557)
If you want to use an iPad, iPhone, or Android smartphone or tablet, go to the appropriate app store and download the GoToMeeting app.  The session name is SofN-D5
If you have a suggestion for a presentation on a Nordic or Nordic-American topic which should be featured on the Nordic News "radio show," please contact Mike Palecek at
The best way to initially contact Glenn is via email:

Click here to view all current Nordic Radio Shows. 

Welcome to our newest lodge- Shawnee Skogen 5-689

International Lodge President Ron Stubbings, District 5 Treasurer Mike Palecek, and District 5 Secretary Darlene Arneson traveled to southern Illinois last weekend to institute the Shawnee Skogen 5-689 Lodge! A big welcome to our newest lodge in the District! They voted to keep their charter open for 60 days so then will complete the process! A huge thank you to Wendy Kay Winkelman and Bill Bultnick for their hard work in getting this lodge started and congratulations to its first President- Bonnie Juul as she leads them forward!

UPDATE: Here Comes Troll Mountain!

A fitting tribute to former Vennelag President George Sievers has begun to take shape. Located just north of the first roundabout on Mt. Horeb’s eastside, this rock sculpture will be difficult to miss. Stones were moved into place and tall grasses which will make the troll’s hair wave have been planted. Beneath the troll’s eyes are additional plantings which will be visible next year. Grass has been sown completing the vision of a troll rising forth from the hill.
Vennelag Lodge, in addition to many additional District 5 Lodges, as well as groups, and individuals have contributed to the funding of this project. Janice Sievers, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Village of Mt. Horeb are working jointly on bringing this venture to fruition. It only seems fitting that the Troll Capital of the World should be home to another great troll presence.
Look for a ribbon cutting ceremony to be held in the near future, possibly in conjunction with Mt. Horeb’s Fall Vintage Market, October 5-6, 2019. A dedication plaque will be placed near the troll with further details. A graveled parking area will be located behind the troll for those who wish to take photos. Many thanks are extended to all who have made George’s vision a reality.

Submitted by Cheryl Wille-Sclesser

Copy of John & Darlene's Biography from Stoughtons Norsee Afternoon Program
John and Darlene Arneson were presented with the "Community Appreciation Award" on February 10, 2019 by Mayor Tim Swadley.
 Thank you Diane Mauer for providing the information on Darlene and John.

John & Darlene Arneson Recipents of the Stoughton "Community Appreciation Award"

John & Darlene with their children Lars, Jens & Sigrid - and John's Mom Margaret Arneson-and Darlene's Mom Marilyn Maurer

In Memory of 77 year Sons of Norway Valhall member

Kristofer Garmager Sr., 93, of Rockford passed away Sunday, February 24, 2019 at Swedish American Hospital. Born September 21, 1925 in Norway; the son of Conrad and Gudrun (Bjoergen) Garmager. He married Sonya Johnson on October 18, 1947 in Rockford.
Kristofer immigrated from Norway to the U.S 90 years ago and was a proud Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp, having served his country during WWII. He is an alumnus of the University of Chicago, where he earned his Bachelor and Master's degrees; Magna Cum Laude. Kristofer retired from Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, Illinois, after 36 years of employment. He was a lifetime member of the Sons of Norway and a former member of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
An avid Chicago Bears fan, Kristofer enjoyed reading, golf and most of all, spending time with his family.
Survivors include his sons, Kristofer (Linda) Garmager Jr. and Timothy Garmager; grandchildren Matthew, Mariana, Douglas (Katie), Emily, Britton, Travis and Tricia; great-granddaughters, Savannah and Lillian and his sister, Gladys Veidemanis.
Kristofer was predeceased by his parents and his wife, Sonya Garmager.
Funeral Service 11 a.m. Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, Mulford Chapel, 1860 S. Mulford Rd., Rockford. Visitation 10 a.m. until time of service at the funeral home. Interment in Arlington Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Sons of Norway, Valhall Lodge #5-168, c/o 932 Manchester Street, Naperville, IL 60563, in memory of Kristofer and Conrad Garmager, to be awarded a local scholarship recipient. Condolences may be submitted at
Published in Rockford Register Star from Feb. 27 to Mar. 1, 2019

In Memory of

Nicholas Peter Baldukas
RACINE - Nicholas 'Nick' P. Baldukas, 70, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 12, 2019 surrounded by his loving family and friends. A lifelong resident of Racine, he was born on April 21, 1948, son of the late Peter Nicholas and Gladys (Kanyuh) Baldukas. Nicholas was a graduate of Wm. Horlick High School "Class of 1966." His working career was primarily at Twin Disc, where he ushered in Computer Numeric Control (CNC) manufacturing. During his 21 years there, he continued studying engineering, attending Bradley University, UW Parkside, Carthage and numerous workshops and seminars at major manufacturers around the US. He also worked at Styberg Engineering before switching careers to land development and general contracting. He designed and developed Mallard Shores on property he and his wife owned surrounding Halter Lake.
Nick loved his new career and continued designing and building high end homes in southeastern Wisconsin, until illness required him to retire.
In 1985 he married Dr. Ann-Mari (Ingebrigtsen), his soul mate and loving companion. Together they pursued their common love of tennis, hiking, skiing, travel and spending time at their lake home on Castle Rock Lake where he developed lasting friendships, especially with Dave and Karen Janssen. He loved taking off on road trips throughout the US and going to Norway to meet with Ann-Mari's family and friends. Nick loved speed, whether driving his corvettes on deserted country roads or speeding over Lake Gogebic on his snowmobile with Ann-Mari urging him to go faster. He shared his love of motorcycles taking grandson Morgan and son Peter on motorcycle trips, or exploring wide swaths of the US, riding next to his special friend, Gary Grissom. When it came to going fast, Nicholas was very competitive. A good example is his jet ski race with a friend on Castle Rock Lake, when lo and behold his friend out ran him. The very next day the garage was strewn with jet ski parts and Nicholas was hard at work engineering a faster ride. And he succeeded, leaving his friend in his wake during the next day's "friendly race." Nick's lifelong friend Dale Zierten, some years ago invited him to join a group of early school friends for coffee and discussions of the past. He loved meeting with his morning coffee buddies.
Nicholas was an active hands on father/grandfather, who coached his sons softball team and attended multiple sports events to cheer on his children and grandchildren. These events included t-ball, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and basketball. His reputation for being able to fix anything, resulted in late night calls from the children's friends with car trouble on the interstate. He always came to their rescue.
Nick was an active member of the Greek Orthodox Church, an altar boy as a child, working the annual festival and serving on the church council for many years, as the treasurer. He was a member of Twin Disc Twenty Year Club, Kiwanis, a two time past president and Lt. Governor, Sons of Norway, where he also was past president and member of District 5 Board of Trustees.
His joviality, zest of life and desire to be of help to family and friends, were hallmarks of his personality. Nick had a true love for the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, hiking and swimming. He was a hard working, dedicated man, who always gave life his best. He had a love for the outdoors, his family, his pets and for life. Here was a person who probably wouldn't say "there was something I wish I had done." Nicholas and Ann-Mari enjoyed hosting parties on their beautiful covered porches, especially the annual Sons of Norway Picnic, the September Multiple Myeloma Support Group Picnic and as well as family cookouts, with swimming, fishing, horseshoes and trampoline.
Nick is survived by his beloved wife of 33 years, Ann-Mari and their children, Dana Baldukas, Pamela (Andrew) Patch, Nicole (Jonathan) Eckblad and Shane (Victoria) Peirce; grandchildren, Dr. Thomas (Shvaughn) Paulick, Daniel (fiancé Alexis Jensen) Eckblad , Ariel Harrington, Amanda Eckblad, Petra Harrington, Cassidy (Scott Schindelar) Crowell, Morgan Patch, Megan Patch and Peter Eckblad; great grandchildren, Kenneth, Declan and Brynn Paulick, Chase and Brecklyn Peirce, Atlas and Isle Schindelar, and Rylee Lempke and Alexandra Eckblad; sisters, Vivian (Tony) Merlo, Sharon Baldukas and Demetra Baldukas; sister-in-law, Randi (Aage Breiby) Ingebrigtsen of Norway. He is further survived by a Goddaughter, Xanthi Merlo, a special nephew "son," Kristian (Lynn) Wergeland Digranes, who is a Park High School graduate and he also attended Gateway Technical College and UW Parkside before returning to Norway where Kristian is currently a canine police officer in Oslo. Nick is further survived by many nieces, nephews other relatives and many dear friends.
Nick was preceded in death by his son, Peter Nicholas Baldukas on November 29, 2004.
Funeral services will be held at Kimissis tis Theotokou, Greek Orthodox Church, 1335 S. Green Bay Road on Monday, January 21, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Fr. Athanasios Pieri officiating. There will be a visitation at Sturino Funeral Home on Sunday evening from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. with Trisagian Prayers at 7 p.m. Nick will be laid to rest next to his son at Graceland Cemetery following services.
In lieu of flowers or those wishing to remember Nick in a special way - donations to the following have been suggested: Kimissis tis Theotokou Church, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, National Kidney Foundation &, Sons of Norway District Five, Contact Mike Palecek, 262-886-5547, Kiwanis Club of Racine anis-Club-of-Racine-170911539484
A special heartfelt thank you to Aurora St. Luke's Hospital and Aurora Zilber Family Hospice for their exceptional doctors and staff. Nick was blessed to be in their care.
We're sure you all will remember Nick's famous optimistic words
"I never had a bad day in my life."

Lodge of the Month Nordkap 378

Photo: Marge Sorensen (left) with Nordkapen editor Bob Giles and Carmen Collins, who succeeds Marge 
In Appreciation of Marge Sorensen, Stepping Down as Treasurer
By Louise Giles
We often heard that no one is irreplaceable.
Yet that’s often how I’ve thought about Marge Sorensen, who’s stepping down after some 20 years as Nordkap treasurer.
I know Marge personally as a friend and great resource for our lodge, always cheerful, upbeat, fun-to-be-with, and ready to lend a hand.
But as treasurer, Marge has endlessly paid our bills, balanced books, prepared reports, filed required forms, counted receipts, reimbursed expenses, and researched complex financial questions, often working well into the night to keep Nordkap’s finances up to date.
She did all this while also volunteering like other lodge members to cook, serve, and help clean up at many lodge events, like the Steak and Corn roast, Scandinavian Market, Midsummer Celebration, 17th of May, and regular monthly meetings.
Beyond that, she’s served in years past as editor of our newsletter and a Nordkap delegate to the 5th District Sons of Norway convention; shopped for food for lodge events and stored it in her freezer; single-handedly prepared and served a special luncheon for Nordkap’s more senior members; and attended and hosted countless Board meetings at her home.
Marge handled all her Nordkap duties with the same professional demeanor she showed in her business career, first as a salaried employee at Ford Motor Company, then as a travel agent, when she guided clients to dream vacations around the world. Marge was always the person you wanted to tell you where to go!
She’s a great traveler herself—exploring far afield, often with family members, to places like China, Budapest, and Russia, to name but a few. With her late husband Pete she was a member of the Players Guild of Dearborn, where she handled costumes for the amateur thespians.
Besides Nordkap, Marge’s been an active member of the Finnish Center Association, the Swedish Club, the Jenny Lind Club, and Scandia, the Swedish women’s chorus. She’s a mother and a grandmother. And she’s proven many times over the truth of the old saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” We asked a lot of Marge, and she always delivered. We are fortunate that she plans to stay active in our lodge. And we are equally fortunate in the talented person our Board has chosen to become our new treasurer: Carmen Collins.

Lodge of the month Fossellyngen Lodge

Fossellyngen Lodge Member Shirley Engelman spoke to lodge members on the disposition of Norwegian books and cultural artifacts, upon the closing of the Norway House in Milwaukee.  All of the items are now safely in worthy places.
Article submitted by  Daryl Wunrow, Lodge Historian

Lodge Banner Contest

The District five Board of Director's would like to encourage each lodge to create a Lodge Banner to display for publicity purposes during their lodge events, Conventions, etc. To maintain a standard for the Lodge Banners, we have provided some specifications below.

We are encouraging each Lodge to participate in this Contest and display their Banners at the 2018 Convention where they will be voted on by the delegates.
If your lodge already has a Banner that meets these specifications, please bring it to the Convention. Three prizes will be given.  (1) $100.00 "People's Choice"  gift card and (2) $50.00 "Honorable Mention" gift cards.

If you don't have time to create a Banner by the end of June, look at what other Lodges have made for idea's.

Banner Specifications

1. Suggested Size: 3’ x 6’ finished banner.

2. Hang  banner vertically on a 1” dowel with 2 eye screws (one on each end) for hanging purposes.
3. A Base to hang the banner

4. Material: Any material except paper.

5. Lodge name should appear somewhere on the banner.

6. Banner theme should relate to the individual lodge.

7. Banners can be made in any color.

8. Banners will belong to their lodge, but will be displayed throughout the District Convention.

Questions?  Contact District Publicity Director, Christina Fairchild


Lodge of the month: Solvang Lodge 5-457

Solvang Lodge 457 met at the Bekkum Library Community Room on February 27, 2018 with a lively 56 people in attendance.  After a business meeting was called to order by Cedric Veum  the lodge chose delegates, Cedric Veum, Roger Hanson and Ruth Amundson to attend  the 5th District Convention to be held at the La Crosse Center June 27-30, 2018.  Wergeland Lodge 28 from La Crosse will be hosting the convention with the help of Solvang Lodge.  Their Pot O’gold was won by Larry Leum. Ruth Amundson had a fun quiz for the members about cities in Norway. Their program for the evening was presented by Emma Christin Svendsen, Maiken Maeland Vigre and Herman Henrksen from Norway.  They were happy participants in the Student Exchange Program while in High School here and have chosen to return to the USA to attend UWL (University of Wisconsin- LaCrosse) at this time.  They shared stories and pictures of their lives, favorite foods from Norway and experiences living here. The members enjoyed visiting with this friendly group while lunch was served by Dave and Jan Dregne and Larry and Rachel Strangstalien. 
David Torgerson (Photographer)

District 5 Leaders…Did you know that there is a place you can turn to for program ideas for your Lodge?

  • An easily accessible resource provides a compiled list of presenters for Lodge leaders to assist with their monthly meetings. It is located under the Programs Tab at the top of District 5 webpage:
  •  This resource will become more powerful as local lodges submit the names of recent presenters to Richard Fairchild, our webmaster, for posting!
  •  Speaker names that you would like to share should be directed to Richard at:
*** Note: Please consult with the individual(s) before forwarding their personal information.  
As the Chair of the Fraternal Affairs Committee, I am asking all District 5 Lodges to provide the District with a list of 3 speakers your lodge has welcomed over the course of the past 1.5 years. These additions will be added to the existing list, strengthening programming for all. We ARE stronger together; please help your fellow lodges provide quality experiences to their members.
Thank you,

Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
Chair, District 5 Fraternal Affairs Committee
Circle City Lodge member Roy Samuelsen singing "Jeg elsker deg"  or "I love you" to his wife of 61 (next month 62) years, Mary.   There many emotional tears on the cheeks of more than one person in the audience during this song!!    Enjoy!
The first one is of Dr. Greg Martin demonstrating how Grieg took a folk tune (first piece played) and them embellished it into a new composition (second piece played). 

Cleng Peerson 5-525 Lodge of the month

On Sept. 28th, Cleng Peerson # 525 in Norway Illinois, was visited by an genealogy tour group from Norway. The group was in the United States for two weeks and ended with a two day stay in Salt Lake City, Utah. While in Norway Illinois, the group visited The Norsk Museum, the Cleng Peerson cemetery and the Norway cemetery. The group finished up at the Norway store before heading to the Norway Community Building for a luncheon made by Cleng Peerson lodge members. Go to the Photo Gallery to view additional pictures.

In Memory Of

 Past District 5 Board Member and Publicity Director
Kenneth Eugene Nyland,  March 23, 1933 - July 2, 2017

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, July 27, 2017 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 506-12th. Avenue, New Glarus, WI.  Friends and family may attend a visitation from 4-7 PM on Wednesday, July 26, 2017at Ellestad Camacho Funeral Home, 500 N 8th Street, Mt. Horeb, WI.

Kenneth Eugene Nyland,  age 84, passed away in peace on Sunday, July 2, 2017 at Agrace HospiceCare.  Ken was born on March 23, 1933 in Madison, WI.  

In 1991, Ken retired from IBM after 25 years and from the U.S. Navy after nearly 40 years of proud service to his country.  One of the highlights of his career in the Navy was meeting five of the original six astronauts, and being present for the recovery of astronauts from two Mercury missions. Through hard work, he rose to the rank of Master Chief as he circumnavigated the globe from the Mediterranean to Japan to Hawaii to Bermuda. Many friendships he made while in the service lasted his lifetime. At home, Ken loved spending time with family and attending as many of his children’s and grandchildren’s functions as possible.  He got a kick out of traveling to visit his wonderful family and friends.  He enjoyed talking sports and politics with anyone.  If you were willing to hear the answer, he would always tell you what he thought, and he was no-nonsense about it. Over the years, Ken was involved in many community roles.  Some of these were being Municipal Judge, belonging to local organizations, VFW, American Legion, Sons of Norway, AFS, and more. In 2015 Ken was able to participate in the Badger Honor Flight out of Madison.  Ken was honored and thrilled with the trip and felt blessed by the respect shown everywhere to him and the other veterans. In February, this year he was overjoyed when his AFS daughter Adelle and her husband Aren were able to visit from Guam.  Then, in April Ken and family were able to have family photos taken.  It was a beautiful day and Ken delighted in sitting and talking with everyone.

Ken is survived by Carol, his wife of 53 years, son: Greg (Patricia) Wickersham, daughter: Amy (Tom) Nyland-Schmook and four granddaughters: Valerie (Dale Miller) Klitzke, Cassie Wickersham, Tamara Schmook, and Erica Schmook, one great-grandson, Bode Miller, and his sister Patricia (Jerry) Raether. He is also survived by his AFS daughter Adelle (Aren) Palik and their children, Sonja (Eddie) Musrasrik, Ryan Palik, Lloyd Palik, and Jason Palik.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, July 27, 2017 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 506-12th. Avenue, New Glarus, WI.  Friends and family may attend a visitation from 4-7 PM on Wednesday, July 26, 2017at Ellestad Camacho Funeral Home, 500 N 8thStreet, Mt. Horeb, WI.   Memorials may be sent to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, New Glarus, where Ken and Carol were Charter Members.      July 14, 2017 by Cristina & Diego | Filed under Obituaries.

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.


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
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.

Should this be the District 5 Sons of Norway Theme Song?
What Do You Think?  
"Norville -Take me back" 
owner and author:  
Ottar Johansen owns all the rights to the song, and wrote it
It is on his label New Cut´s the video,
Monday Membership Moment
The Monday Membership Moment has turned into the Tuesday Tip for Success!
Lodge leaders, if you are searching for a way to re-energize your lodge, plan a getaway! Do something fun together. Travel allows members the time to get to know one another better.
In District 5, some options are Norskedalen in Coon Valley, WI, the Norsk Museum and store in Norway, IL, and Livsreise in Stoughton, WI. Schedule a meal and entertainment next door at Mandt Lodge. Visit the Koshkonong Prairie, a site of Norwegian immigration in the 1800s, in Eastern Dane County, WI. Ask the Koshkonong Prairie Historical Society for more help in planning your visit. See the Waldemar Ager Association Museum in Eau Claire, WI, or Colonel Heg Park, Racine County, WI. The Minnekirken in Chicago, IL, still uses Norwegian as part of their liturgy, and the church has recently completed a major renovation. Travel to see the Viking Ship in Geneva, IL. Enjoy the beauty of Door County, WI, and see the stave kirke on Washington Island. At UW Green Bay one can visit the Viking House. On September 22-23, the Midwest's largest Viking encampment will be held there. Journey to the Troll Capital of the World- Mt. Horeb, WI. Enjoy lunch at the Grumpy Troll Brew Pub or Skål Public House. Ask someone from Vennelag Lodge to join your tour and give you insights on the trolls. See Norwegian artifacts at the Driftless Historium. Ha en flott tur!
Monthly "Monday Membership Tip"
"Local Radio or Newspaper" - Finding content is always hard for local papers, why not help them out by submitting stories they can feature?
Often times, the cost for this is minimal or free.
 Reminders for lodges:

The best weather of the year is now! Plan meetings over the summer months and enjoy extended daylight hours!
Consider organizing a road rally, a scavenger hunt, or a photographic journey. Use the natural spaces in your area. Organize night sky viewing with an astronomy club in your area.

Variety is the spice of life. Therefore, refrain from using the same activities consecutively. Instead, take the risk and do something different!

Partner with another not-for-profit and plan a youth event such as a Barneløpet in your community. Share the costs and the glory of the event!

Pictures and more pictures! Please take photos of your summer friluftsliv events and forward them to Karen Eberhardt, our D5 publicity director.

It’s Parade Season-Make sure your lodge liability insurance is up to date. Check all parts of your float for safety issues. Make sure your tires and rims are street legal. Refrain from throwing candy from your float. Instead, ask your members to hand the treats to children by walking alongside your float.

Summer Food Events- Be sure to follow all local food service guidelines and be cognizant of any COVID-19 protocols. Check with your county’s health department for further guidance, including any for lodge bake sales. Offer takeaway options.

Form a Membership Committee. Your committee should be meeting three times per year. Plan a recruitment breakfast or lunch at a local restaurant or your lodge. Honk your horn! Tell what makes your lodge a proud community partner.

We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Honor your senior members with notes and small gifts such as a plant, a bag of candy, bookmarks, or gift cards.

Establish a virtual presence.  If your lodge does not have a website, consider a Facebook page. They are easy to establish and maintain. Check the District 5 Facebook page each Monday for membership tips. Adapt ideas for use.

Educate prospective members on why our organization is called the “Sons” of Norway.  History matters.

Send follow-up communications to anyone who has visited a lodge meeting, one of your classes, or a special event. Create a database for these contacts. Send your newsletter to those who express interest. Postcards are a cost-effective way to send lodge messages.

Money back! If you plan to order membership pins, submit your bill for the shipping costs to me, and the district will reimburse you! Consider ordering your membership pins in bulk for multiple years. Reward your loyal members with this small token of appreciation.

Member Surveys give you an accurate picture of what your members want and need from the lodge. The SofN international website has a sample survey, but your membership committee could design one specifically for your needs.

If you need assistance, please ask!

Tusen takk og ha en god helg-(One thousand thanks and have a good weekend)!
Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
District 5 Vice President