FINDING INTERESTING INFORMATION
latest revision April 21,
The Des Moines Register
has announced that RAGBRAI
(the Register's annual great bicycle ride across Iowa—a
weeklong event) will go through Rolfe on July 23 with Humboldt as
the final resting place for the day.
The Register has sent
each town along the route a form for submitting information about
the community for publication. The Register apparently wants to know
the history of each place, eerie or unusual events, and famous and
infamous people connected to the berg. And like many projects of
this nature, the deadline for collecting and submitting the
information is a short one compared to the length of time it could
take to do an in depth, thorough, and fair job.
City council member
Gloria Gunderson is in
charge of filling out the form for Rolfe. It needs to be submitted
by March 1, and Gloria needs your help.
What do you think
should be included in a history of Rolfe? What eerie or unusual
events do you remember? Who do you think of as being infamous or
famous with connections to Rolfe? What else do you think the
Register needs to know about Rolfe?
There is a slightly
outdated description of Rolfe
posted on this web site. You could read it to jostle your thoughts.
You could also go to the section
of essays to get ideas.
There could be a range of names submitted—and not
just the typical ones of scholars and athletic stars. Here is just a
quick list from sitting at the computer at the midnight hour.
Dan Allen (RHS 1968) of Rolfe, who invented some kind of arm
The late Catherine Barr, a watercolorist from Connecticut
who visited her grandparents in Rolfe during the summers and
started the Barr Art Society in about the 1950s.
Sara Beckord Swails (RHS 1968), who was one person away from making the
cut to be on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team and
eventually was the women's track and cross country coach at the
University of Iowa..
The late Darlene Brinkman, a Plover High School graduate who was
married to Rolfe farmer Dave Brinkman, mother of 10
children, mayor of Rolfe, art instructor, and accomplished
water color painter. She died in 1993.
The late Al Budolfson (RHS 1938), who was a member of the 1938 RHS basketball
team that was runner-up at state and a basketball star at
Iowa State before becoming a banker in Ames.
The late Marie Budolfson (RHS 1928), who was a
career-long professor of home economics at Iowa State
The late Suma and Guy Butler were a fascinating couple.
The story is that Suma had been a White Russian princess who
escaped through Thailand and brought a lot of her wealth with
her and met Guy when he was in the military service. They
settled in Rolfe where he was a dentist, bank board member, and
a state senator. Guy died in 1961 and Suma in 1976.
The late Harold Calligan, a Rolfe sports announcer, and
his wife, the late Rose Calligan, who owned Calligan's Sundries store (it
had been Webb's Drug Store) with soda fountain and many other
The late Bob Dixon,
a Rolfe banker who was the driving force behind the formation of
the Iowa Independent Bankers Association.
The Duitscher family and their Dutchland Dairy
Jerry Farlow (RHS 1955), professor of
mathematics at the University of Maine, who is the author of at
least two books:
Differential Equations and Linear Algebra and
The Girl Who Ate Equations for Breakfast.
The Foremen, a barbershop quartet group of Rolfe
area men. Perry Johnson, Curtis Kerns, John Nielsen, and Garland
Westergard performed together from 1964 to about 1977.
They won the Central States District Competition and sang at
international (U.S. and Canada) competition four times. Their
highest international placing was 20th in a field of 900
Deane Gunderson (RHS 1935), a retired Rolfe area
farmer. In the 1950s, when four-row corn planters were still the
norm, he received media attention—including mention in a Time
Magazine article—for engineering an eight-row, cross-checking
planter. In the 1970s, he welded a large statue of Cy, the
cardinal bird that is Iowa State University mascot.
The statue was located at the Iowa State stadium, just south of
the goal posts, for several years. Also, one year, he was named
as Cy's favorite alum. In addition, Deane was treasurer of the
Iowa School Board Association for many years and was influential
in Republican circles.
The late Marion Gunderson was best known for her role as
the director of the Rolfe Public Library. In the 1970s, for the
bicentennial of the nation, she photographed many Rolfe
residents and made albums of the photos for the library. In
addition, she coordinated a community oral history project on
the topic of changes in transportation. Marion
also was known for her water color paintings and community work.
She died in 2004.
Virgil Hancher, who was a Rolfe graduate and became a Rhodes
Scholar and president of the University of Iowa.
Dallas Ives (RHS 1963), who worked as a
programmer for NASA in Houston from
the time he graduated from Iowa State in 1967 until he retired.
Jeanne Jordan (RHS 1969) of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who worked with her husband
Steve Ascher to co-produce the
documentary film Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern that was
nominated for an Academy Award and awarded both the Grand Jury
Award and the Audience Award for best documentary at the
Sundance Film Festival.
David Loxterkamp (RHS 1971) of Maine, who wrote the book
A Measure of My
Days: the Journal of a Country Docter and was once featured
on the cover of a major magazine—perhaps it was Life Magazine.
Jeff Loxterkamp (RHS 1979) of Maine—an accomplished artist, who
graduated from the University of Iowa.
Majorowicz, who is an artist married to Mike Majorowicz (RHS
1983) and owns the Wild Faces Gallery located at the south end
of Main Street in Rolfe.
The late Miss Edna M. Marcum, educator in the Rolfe schools
from about 1906 to 1966. She was the high school principal and taught
Latin and literature.
The late H.J. (Johnny) Nielsen whose band played for house and barn dances from the late
1920s through the early 1940s. Later Johnny and some of his
siblings (including Donna Heathman of Rolfe at piano with Bev
Westerman Fosnot of Mallard as piano backup) played with Mike's Little German Band
out of West Bend..
Eldon Obrecht, who was a double bass music professor at the
University of Iowa, a bassist with the Quad City Symphony
Orchestra, and a composer.
Curt Pederson (RHS 1973) has both an MBA and PHR
and is the Assistant to the Chair and Director of Student
Affairs in the Department of Psychology at Wright State
University in Ohio.
Troy Pedersen (RHS 1980), who won some kind of prestigious
ballroom dance competition.
Louise Piper, famous for her blue-ribbon pies at the Iowa
The Polka Dots,
a singing trio consisting of the late Phyllis Pedersen Pederson (RHS
1964) of Des Moines, Linda Robinson Cordes (RHS 1963) of various
Iowa towns, and Rita
Wax Kelly (RHS 1964) of Rochester, Minnesota. The Polka Dots
debuted on KRNT television and performed at the Iowa State Fair.
Norine Reigelsberger, a Plover High School
graduate and resident of Rolfe who won the Iowa Boy Cinnamon
Roll Search conducted by Des Moines Register columnist Churck
Offenburger in 1984. Norine received a $100 savings bond,
certificates, and a ribbon from the Register and Tone's Spices,
sponsors of the search.
The 1935 RHS orchestra that won a superior
rating in the Class C Division of the national music contest
held in Madison, Wisconsin. Bill McIntire (RHS 1936) of Denver,
Colorado, was the first chair, first violin, and therefore the
concert master. He remembers that Miss Inez Archer was the
conductor and the Rolfe orchestra played Haydn's
Moment Musicale, Mozart's Allegro, and had to sight read a piece
the students had never seen before. Bill reports, "Each member
of the orchestra received a silver medal. I still have mine and
cherish it much. It has never been out of my possession. I
keep it in a special box—I was a junior at the time, we traveled
to Madison in a special railroad car, leaving from West Bend, as
The 1937 RHS boys basketball team that was third
at the state tournament and the 1938 RHS team
that was the state runner-up.
The RHS girls track and field team from the late
1960s that won a state meet.
The RHS girls basketball team from the early
1970s that went to the state tournament.
The 1978 RHS
swing choir and
band that went to four Midwestern contests and won first place at all
Merlin J. Ricklefs (RHS 1954) is the former IBM
corporate director of Storage Products among several other
assignments. He is now retired and more recently 3M McKnight
Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota
at Duluth, Visiting Professor at Chulalongkorn University,
Bangkok, Thailand. Teaches, lectures and writes on Leadership
and Effective Management at several leading universities around
the world including China.
Stella Samson, jewelry designer.
Randy Shimon (RHS 1986) is a founding partner in
the law firm of Shimon and Lovaas, a professional corporation
located in Las Vegas. The company's
web site says, "The
firm primarily acts as an advocate for its clients in general
civil litigation, with an emphasis in construction, surety, real
estate, and other commercial litigation controversies. While our
primary focus is litigation, we also engage in strategic
planning with clients so they may avoid future controversies,
litigation and other legal challenges. Our practice also
includes counseling clients regarding construction, real estate
transactions, other business transactions, and forming new
businesses for clients."
The late Gordon Siefkin (RHS 1925) who was
Rolfe's second Rhodes Scholar and became an attorney.
Photo of Hancher and
Al Sroufe (RHS 1975) of Rolfe, a popular singer
and guitarist who draws together other musicians to form bands.
In the early 1940s,
was the first women in the community to drive a petroleum tank
truck on rounds to Fort Dodge and back and a school bus route.
In recent decades, she played the role of Mrs.Santa Claus,
making community holiday tours, including appearances on Main
Street and at the Rolfe Care Center. Also, children enjoyed
visiting her home for Halloween where she dressed as a witch and
gave out awesome treats.
Lee Thorson (RHS 1964) of Storm Lake, who is the conductor of the
and a member of the
Sioux City Symphony
The late Morris and Jane Webb, owners of Webb's Drug
Store with soda fountain, comic book room, paint and wall paper
department, and much more.
Stuart Webb (RHS 1949) of Minneapolis, who was a founder of the "collaborative law"
Inez and Jim Wilcox. She was well-known in northwest Iowa as a
Stanley salesperson. As one Rolfe woman said, "Inez could sell
an Eskimo a refrigerator." Jim was a livestock buyer and owned
the local stockyard. He was known also for holding weekday
cribbage sessions at the stockyard office.
Frankly, the problem with making a list such as this
is that there are many standards of success and what it means to
live a wholesome life. Any list will show the values, bias,
perceptions, and connections of the compiler. And in any list,
including the one above, it is difficult to determine the correct
That's why we are opening this list to you—so you
can add names and help us fill in the correct dates and other
Email your suggestions and information to
Gloria Gunderson and to the
RHS editor, Helen Gunderson.
(Gloria and Helen are sisters-in-law.) Gloria will cull the list to
submit a few key names to the Register. Helen will post a longer
list on this web site. It would be helpful when you submit names to
write a sentence or two about the person, and if available, send a
link to a web page about the person.