2013 Alumni Awards

Outstanding Graduate Award was given to Irving Olson (Class of 1932)


In 1921, Irving Olson, age 6, started school in Taylors Falls School District walking across fields and through woods to get to Jericho, a one room country schoolhouse. Knowing only Swedish, here he learned to read and write in English. In 1928 he started High School in Taylors Falls, graduation in 1932, attending the university of Minnesota in the fall and walking 4 miles to campus each day. Irving enjoyed his studies, excelling in economics classes but when his father dies at the end of his first year Irving returned home to take over the Olson farm with his 3 younger siblings.

Being an avid reader, Irving became self-educated. In the mid-forties he was manager of the Almelund Creamery, served on the Taylors Falls School Board where his children Kathleen and Jim attended, and was Chisago County Assessor. In the early fifties he worked for the MN tax department traveling to the many counties. In 1955, he became City Assessor of Duluth and 3 years later Minnesota Property Tax Director.

Another Taylors Falls graduated, Alden Slattergren, recommended Irving for a position in Kabul, Afghanistan with the Public Administration Service where Alden had worked. This was the beginning of work and travel in the world far beyond Minnesota. In 1963, Irving, Mary and young children, Jennifer and Rod, moved to Kabul where Irving was an advisor to the Afghan Government writing property tax laws for their 1964 constitution. Over the next 16 years he worked in Thailand (5 years), Iran, Grenada, Philippines, and Afghanistan (5 years total). Alwyas, Irving was accepted, well liked, enjoying the peoples in these faraway land and hearing their stories to add to his many stories.

During this time, he also worked on his Swedish heritage passion, researching his genealogy, discovering and visiting relatives in Sweden and publishing two books, one being the locally known yellow family history book, Smolenning Slekt, which includes many families from Chisago County. In the late 1970’s, Irving and Mary retired back home in his favorite communities of Taylors Falls, Palmdale, Shafer, and Almelund. They became active in the TF Historical Society, St. Croix Falls Hospital Board, Chi Ka Saga, American Swedish Chapter, First Lutheran Church in Taylors Falls, and restoring his immigrant grandparent’s log home.

Always a reader, he continued his lifelong learning and storytelling. With his eyesight failing his last few years, he laboriously gathered information on the country schoolhouse and its students and finding lost information on the Military Road in this area. At the time of his death in 2002, Irving was blind.

On behalf og the Irving Olson family.... sons, daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, we extend a thank you to the Taylors Falls School Foundation Committee, including Duane Olson, and Eleanore Swenson COllins for nominating our father. We humbly accept this award and appreciate this recognition of Irving’s life journey beginning with his excellent education at Taylors Falls High School.


Outstanding Staff/Faculty Award was given to Sig Rimestad (Faculty)


1950 - Graduated from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND in 1950 with a degree in education He then earned a Masters degree from the University (UND) in 1955. Sixth year University of Northern Illinois, DeKalb, Il. With five years experience in North Dakota he qualified for the Minnesota Superintendent's certificate.

1955 - Clearbrook, MN- 23 teachers built a new High School building, awarded a grant to attend workshop for administrators.

1962 - Winnebago, Il - 54 teachers.

1967 - Eveleth, MN - 120 (80 non-contract) built a new vocational school with local and federal grant money. Sig was involved in a lawsuit in 1972-72, won, and reinstated back salary.

1973 - Grygla, MN hired to start a new high school and develop curriculum. One of the first high schools in the state to require all students, boys and girls, to take one of the 6 offered each year of vocational courses. A joint program with city, a building large enough for city offices and maintain both school and city equipment, and a large enough shop area for students to build a house that would be sold at auction.

1977-1992 - Accepted the position at Taylors Falls until the merger with the Chisago Lakes School District in the summer of 1992. Programs new to Taylors Falls were elementary grades in exchange for a day with a Jewish school. “Wed Revolution” - reading in a discussion group one hour per week. School Board approved program to help students having a difficulty in school. 1 hour extra pay, 2 elementary and 2 secondary teachers selected by faculty.


Outstanding Citizen Award was given to Terry Berg (Class of 1963)

Terry graduated from Taylors Falls High School in 1963. Terry’s role as an outstanding citizen began there. While in school he was an honor role student. In school life there was hardly an extracurricular activity where he was not a participant. Terry’s most notable achievements were in athletics and he was arguably the best all-around athlete to ever graduate from Taylors Falls. He also assumed leadership roles as co-captain of the basketball and football teams.

Terry was dedicated to serving and after high school set his sights on becoming a minister in the Lutheran Church. He went to the Lutheran Collegiate Bible School at Teaneck, New Jersey after high school. In 1968 he graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Terry attended Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul (1968--1969). He transferred to the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago where he graduated in 1972. Terry was ordained into the Lutheran Church in America on June 4, 1972.

Terry married Karen Chadwick on August 20, 1966. They have three sons: John, David and Stephen and five grandchildren. John and David followed in their father’s vocation.

Terry served numerous parishes: First Lutheran Church, Dollar Bay, Michigan (1972-1977); Redeemer Lutheran Church, Kingston, New York (1977-1979); Fox Point Lutheran Church, FOx Point, Wisconsin (1979-1990); Habitat for Humanity, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1990-1991); Interim Pastor for the Greater Milwaukee Synod (1991-1993); Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, West Bend, Wisconsin (1993-2007).

Terry was compassionate and passionate about ministry and the people he served in his congregations. The focus of his ministry was through justice issues - touching people with the love of Christ. meaningful worship where all of God’s people felt welcomed, and stewardship - everything we have is a gift from God.

This quote from the sermon Terry preached when he retired summed up his approach to ministry and life. “If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room.”

Terry died on November 14, 2010.


Extra Curricular Award for the Years 1915-1952 was given to James A. Dahl (Superintendent, 1952 )

Mr. Dahl was the first Superintendent of the new school in 1952. He and his wife taught in the school until 1959 under a package contract. The final compensation for both combined was $10,000 per year. As you can see, there has been some inflation.

Extra Curricular Award for the Years 1953-1992 was given to Judith Roush Nelson (Class of 1963)
Judy Roush Nelson was my classmate and friend for 12 years at Taylors Falls School and 4 years at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. As a classmate at Taylors Falls, Judy was always ready to become actively involved in “everything” from creating Valentine boxes to playing trombone in band to cheer-leading and chorus ensembles.

At Stout, she was a hard working student and participated in several college organizations. She had parts in several theater productions and served on campus housing boards.

Judy became a Home Economics teacher and moved to Seattle, Washington where she taught in middle school. She married and had two children. Judy, unfortunately, left us too early. She was always there when I needed her, she was my classmate, my pal, and most of all a good friend and a great ambassador for Taylors Falls High School!



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