Rolfe High School Alumni Web Site: Graphic by Wendy Bennett

What's New 2004
A chronological listing of postings to this site.

What's New
Time Capsules
Essay Section
Rolfe Alumni Reunion 2013
Last Graduation 1990
Where Are They Now
Memorial Board
Memorabilia for Sale
Web Financial Support
Project Credits

We received the above photo from Joel Freeman (RHS 1956). He says, "Found this picture of kids reading comics in Webb Drug Store. It was among a mountain of pictures my mother, Doris Freeman, saved. Brought back memories, I read a ton of comics there myself, especially on cold snowy days, sitting on that floor furnace!" Lower left to right: Mike Calligan, Pat Calligan, Dave Schott, Linden Accurso, Jim Schott, Gary Wolfe, and Gary Schoon. Click on the photo for a larger view.

December 23, 2004

  • RHS Alumni Web Site editor, Helen Gunderson, received an email today from MoveOn.Org. It includes suggestions for supporting our service personnel in active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with phone cards. It also suggests sending funds to the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies to provide vital services to displaced Iraqi civilians. We thought the ideas were important ones to share and have included an abridged version of the letter below. We are also willing to post other information about supporting service personnel or humanitarian efforts during this season. And we would be willing to post photos and letters from Rolfe-related service personnel who are in active duty.

Dear MoveOn member,

This is a cherished time of year, when we take time out from the workaday world to focus on our families and friends.

Our thoughts also naturally go to those in harm's way -- the young American men and women who won't be with their families this holiday season, and the Iraqi refugee families that face a long, cold winter.

For the 160,000 men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, even a holiday call home can be prohibitively expensive. That's why the United Service Organizations (USO) has launched "Operation Phone Home" to provide phone cards to every soldier who wants one in time for the holidays. With just a few days left, the USO is still trying to hit its goal. To send a phone card, just go to:

After MoveOn members and many others donated millions of frequent flyer miles to bring soldiers home during their leave, the Pentagon was compelled to fully fund all future flights themselves. Your leadership made the difference then, and it can do so again.

War takes its toll on civilians as well as soldiers. Massive numbers of Iraqi families that have been displaced by the escalating violence. Because conditions are so dangerous, humanitarian relief organizations have withdrawn from Iraq, and the Iraqi winter is closing in. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is one of the very few international organizations still daring to bring vital services directly to Iraqi civilians.

You can make your donation to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and earmark it for Iraq, at:

The IFRC is racing to help hundreds of thousands of refugees survive the winter by providing blankets, heaters, and basic medical supplies. In the face of increased insurgent violence targeted at government schools, the Red Crescent has mounted an effort to equip every school with first aid training and basic medical supplies. They've also been charged with maintaining the rapidly growing number of orphanages in the most war-torn parts of the country.

Most of our holiday traditions revolve around the simple metaphor of bringing light into the darkness. For us here at MoveOn, you're the single greatest source of light we know. We're awed and honored to be working with you. Because of you, we know there are brighter times ahead.

Have a wonderful holiday.


Adam, Ben, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Justin, Laura, Mari, Noah, Rosalyn, and Wes

The Team
December 23rd, 2004

December 15, 2004

  • Nancy Shelgren Martin (RHS class of 1951) has informed us that the 2005 Rolfe High School alumni all-class reunion will be on July 9 and 10. The committee will hold its first meeting tomorrow night. We will try to keep the this web site updated with information about the reunion and possible class reunions that will be held that same weekend.
    Many RHS alumni, faculty and staff members, and friends have already posted their contact and related information in our RHS web site where they are now section. We welcome other RHS or Rolfe connected people to add their information. If you want to update your information, simply go to the section, fill out the form, and submit your material. Then drop an email note to Chris Simonson and ask him to remove your older entry or entries. He probably will do the removal process about once a week rather than immediately upon receipt of your note. However, Chris is quite prompt in responding to requests for help with the site.

    The RHS web site also has a chat room. Right now, there is one flaw with the room. Some text remains on the system even a few days after people sign off. We will try to fix that so that the only people who can see the text are the people involved in the conversation. If any of you would like us to post an announcement in the "what's new" or "reunion" sections of the RHS site, inviting people from your class, era, or decade to a conversation at the chat room at a specified time and date, email us with your request and relevant information.

    Also, we have an essay section coordinated by our editor, Helen Gunderson. She would love it if more of you would write something. Don't let memories of Miss Marcum or other English teachers intimidate you. Also, even if you have already written a piece for the site, it would be great for you to write something new. For instance, it would be great to have another one of Jerry Farlow's stories about his 1950s escapades. Perhaps he could even get his mother, Dorothy, to write a piece. Or it would be great to have the thoughts of people who have not previously written for the RHS web site writing project. Perhaps Dallas Ives (class of 1963) could write about his perspectives following a career at NASA or someone such as Janis Sue Wilson (class of 1958) could write her perspectives after making her home in New York City. Of course, we welcome any perspectives from Rolfe or any other place on the map that at least generally honor the guidelines for the essay section.

December 9, 2004

  • Added a corrected version of the reflection that Helen Gunderson wrote on December 7 as well as a printer-friendly version of the piece.

December 7, 2004

  • Added a reflection by RHS web site editor, Helen Gunderson (class of 1963) with thoughts about her Mother's death and what Helen has learned from various prairie restoration projects that serves as fodder for a potential parable about life and death.

  • Edited Marion Gunderson's obituary to include the towns where her adult children reside.

December 1, 2004

November 30, 2004

  • We have learned of the death this morning of Marion A. Gunderson, age 85. Services are pending at Powers Funeral Home in Rolfe. Marion had been director of the Rolfe Public Library for several years until she retired in 1998. She and her husband Deane (RHS 1935) lived on a farm southwest of Rolfe since 1945. Marion moved to the Rolfe Care Center the day after Thanksgiving in 2003. Deane continues to live on the farm. They have six adult children who graduated from Rolfe High School Clara (1960), Charles (1962), Helen (1963), Marti (1966), Peggy (1969), and Louise (1973). Helen is the editor of the RHS web site. Earlier this year, she created a calendar for 2005 of Marion's watercolor paintings. Images and a biography about Marion from the calendar are posted on Helen's business web site. Images from the 2004 calendar of Marion's paintings are also on the web site. Marion also wrote an essay a few years ago for the RHS web site.

    A memorial service is tentatively planned for 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning December 4th at the Shared Ministry of Rolfe.

  • An invitation from the Rolfe Library -

  • "A Cup of Christmas Tea"
    Please join the Friends of the Library for a Holiday Open House and Celebration of the Completion of their Automation, a gift from Marion Gunderson.
    Saturday, December 4th
    2:00-4:00 in the library
    Tony and Kim Keller will be presenting
    "A Cup of Christmas Tea" at 3:00 pm
    Refreshments will be served.

November 8, 2004

November 2, 2004

  • Helen Gunderson, class of 1963 and editor of the RHS alumni web site, also edits an unofficial web site for Gilbert, Iowa, where she lives. The town of 987 people is just north of Ames. She has written an election-day essay that offers a grassroots, year around, attitude toward divisiveness. She may eventually revamp the essay for this site; however, interested people can go to the Gilbert Gazette now and read the piece.

October 26, 2004

  • Photographer Helen Gunderson (RHS 1963) has created a color photography calendar for 2005 that includes rural Iowa scenes of grain elevators, corn cribs, barns, and field work. Several of the images are from the Rolfe area.

September 25, 2004

September 6, 2004

  • Added an obituary for Rev. David L. Peterson who was recently a pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran in Rolfe.

  • Created a page for the kindergarten picture of the Class of 1974 taken in 1962. (Actually, only half of the class.)

August 22, 2004

July 22, 2004

June 18, 2004

  • Added obituaries for 1940 RHS graduate George Dornath from Alaska and Orville Pohl who was the custodian at RHS from 1966 to 1983.

June 1, 2004

  • Update to the inventory of tornado damage.

May 26, 2004

May 26, 2004

  • More materials regarding the tornado. There is a map of the path of the storm, an unofficial inventory of the sites that were hit, some interesting documents from the National Weather Service in Des Moines, and a couple of video clips of the tornado as it moved along the south side of Rolfe.

May 25, 2004

  • Initial photos and a report after touring tornado damage and cleanup efforts in the Rolfe area.

  • Email from Jennifer Trenary whose farm place was hit by the tornado and a link to her photo gallery of images of the damage and cleanup.

May 21, 2004

  • A tornado moved through the Rolfe area and nearly wiped out the town of Bradgate tonight. We have pieced together some information from various sources and provided a report. We hope to provide more information later this weekend.

May 14, 2004

  • RHS alumni web editor, Helen Gunderson, has begun posting what she calls a quasi-webcam of her container garden. It's not a live, 24-7 project. However, she will occasionally photograph the garden that's on her deck and post some images. The resident of Gilbert, a town of 1000 people located on what she calls the northern slope of Ames, Iowa, is neither a novice gardener nor someone who really knows what to do to make a garden grow. But she looks forward to the summer fun of being closely attuned to nature and what the plants are doing, photographing the effort, and sharing the images. And she'll be working with friends on a neighborhood zinnia plot for Gilbert's 125th anniversary where all the residents are encouraged to plant zinnias for the occasion. She will post photos of that project and other zinnia beds around the town.

May 3, 2004

  • Photos of 2003 Greater Rolfe Days parade by Helen Gunderson.

  • The Pocahontas Record-Democrat has sent us files of the articles it has written about the status of the Rolfe school building and discussions by the school board and public about the future of the facility. We will post those articles in the near future.

April 29, 2004

  • Posted an obituary for Helen Phillips, former owner of The Gift Galley.

April 28, 2004

  • Posted an obituary for 1960 RHS graduate, James R. Schott who lived in Otho, Iowa

April 19, 2004

  • Chuck Offenburger has written a beautiful memorial on his web site that provides great insight into his brother Dan and Dan's values.

  • Bruce Beckord (RHS class of 1961) emailed us tonight to report the death of former Rolfe business woman, Helen Phillips. She was the former owner of the Gift Galley and died today in Pocahontas.

  • We took a photo this afternoon of the Rolfe school building. It was empty and cordoned off with a plastic, orange warning fence.

April 11, 2004

  • We have been informed of the April 8 death of Dan Offenburger who was a social studies teacher and coach at Rolfe from 1962 to 1965 and have posted some information about him.

April 2, 2004

  • Posted an obituary for Lena Roach, Rolfe elementary teacher, "Miss Roach" and RHS class of 1936.

March 27, 2004

March 19, 2004

  • We've posted a talk, Toward a Theology of Power, by Roger Mohr. He begins with a reading about power from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, a 6th Century BCE philosopher. He then speaks about his volunteer work on a construction project using strawbales in an intentional community. He concludes with the premise that, "The purpose of power is to bring people together to make our lives better." Roger's background includes a career in construction; however, he is currently a student at Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary, the Unitarian Universalist divinity school in Chicago. He also serves as chaplain at the University of Iowa Hospitals. He presented his talk on March 14, 2004, at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Ames.

March 11, 2004

  • A conversation with Harold Dreith, a 88-year-old man who farmed in Oklahoma for much of his life. He and his wife Lydia moved to Rolfe to be part of the community where their son Ron and Ron's wife at the time, Joan Cleal Dreith, lived. Joan is a 1962 RHS graduate. Harold tells about his German father emigrating from Russia to the United States, education, farming, courting Lydia, and other reflections.

March 5, 2004

  • We learned of the death of Marshall Farley who was on the RHS faculty from 1969 to 1984.

February 29, 2004

  • Added a couple of photos taken by Terry Applegate ('83) of the Rolfe school building damage. More may be added soon.

February 26, 2004

  • A report on damage to the exterior of the Rolfe school building and the evacuation of the facility.

February 23, 2004

January 11, 2004

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