“Good things come to those who wait,” the old saying goes, and those who were waiting for a good rain got what they were waiting for last weekend. A brief shower, accompanied by a few rumbles of thunder, passed over Rutland and vicinity at about 8:30 on the morning of Friday, July 23, leaving anywhere from .1 to .15 of an inch of rain in its wake, not much, but enough to prime the pump. Mother Nature let loose with a real rip snorter, though, early on Saturday morning, about bar closing time. Dick Meyers reported that the lightning and thunder shook him right out of bed at about 1:30 a.m., just before the lights went out. Otter Tail Power customers in Rutland were without electricity for 3 hours, until 4:30 a.m., when the juice started flowing through the wires, again. When all the excitement had subsided, local rain gauges, as usual, recorded various amounts of rainfall. Roger Pearson’s gauge held .7 of an inch; while the gauge of his next door neighbor, Norbert Kulzer, held .8; and, Chuck Sundlie’s gauge, only 2 blocks south, held .9. Duane Lock reported that both rainfall events totaled 1.15 inch at his farm 3 miles west of Rutland; Nick McLaen reported the highest amount, 1.2 inch, 2 miles northwest of town; Mark Wyum had an even 1 inch in his gauge about 1½ mile northeast of town; Jesse Brakke’s gauge between Rutland & Cayuga showed .85 of an inch; Ted Lee reportedl.6 of an inch at his farm in Tewaukon Township, with no rain at all on Friday; and, Harvey Bergstrom reported .74 of an inch of rain at his farm 2 miles south of Cayuga. It was a timely rain, some might call it a “lifesaver” for the corn and soybean crops that are now in critical stages of development. It didn’t do pastures, hay meadows, lawns, gardens and tree belts any harm, either. We’re willing to take more.
Rodney Erickson has Had his spray plane down at 2 fair communities to our south, Fairmount NE and Fairberry NE, for the past few weeks, applying fungicide on fields of irrigated corn in that region. Fairmount and Fairberry are located southwest of Lincoln, the home of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football team. Those cornhuskers don’t want to find any fungus among us. Rodney reported that he expected to be done there by August 1, unless additional opportunities to apply fungicides, herbicides or pesticides present themselves.
The title of “Best Ribs In Rutland” will be up for grabs during the annual Rutland Rib Fest on Saturday, August 7. The event was not held in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, but is coming back in 2021, better than ever. The Lariat Bar, Pete & Michelle Denault, owners, is the sponsor of the event. According to Alex Rohrbach, bartender & waitress at The Lariat, there will be rib vendors, sweet corn vendors and other vendors and live music on Main Street, and lots of fun for all. Don’t miss it. Rib Fest in Rutland on Saturday, August 7.
The brief rain shower that passed through Rutland and vicinity on the afternoon of Monday, July 19, was the equivalent of a bloop single that spoiled what would have been a perfect game for the Drought team this past week: no rain; no fog; and, no dew. Although the rain came down hard for a few minutes, it did not leave even a slight measurable trace in any of the local rain gauges. The haze that has been hanging in the sky for the past week is not any kind of moisture in the atmosphere, the weather gurus tell us, but is smoke from the fires in western Canada; eastern Canada; and, the northwestern U. S. The fires have already consumed hundreds of thousands of acres of timber and, with no rain in sight, are expected to continue until there is either significant rainfall, or all of the timber is consumed, whichever occurs first. In the meantime, the thought that, “Every day that it doesn’t rain is one day closer to the day that it will,” is keeping hope alive out here on the Great American Desert.
The harvest of Hard Red Spring Wheat commenced last week, and mixed results, ranging from poor to worse are being reported. Despite some reports of yields as low as 9 bushels to the acre, trucks filled with wheat are rolling down Main Street in Rutland, heading for the Wheaton-Dumont Co-op’s facility here, Rodney Erickson’s refurbished Rutland Elevator. The relative success of the harvest seems to be directly tied to when the crop was seeded. Cameron Gulleson reports that Gulleson Brothers have harvested some fields that were planted just before the one good rain this area received back in April, and those fields have yielded from 15 to 30 bushels to the acre. That is a long way from the 50 to 70 bushel wheat yields to which local producers have become accustomed, though. Old timers remember when 20 bushel wheat would have been a bumper crop, and a $2.00 price was boom times. This year, though, the only bright spot in the picture is that the reports of skimpy yields have pushed the price of wheat up to nearly $7.00 per bushel in some markets, so there’s always some good news, even if you have to look under the rocks to find it.
Eugene Erickson of Ithaca NY, accompanied by one of his sons, Jeff Erickson, visited in Rutland at Noon on Wednesday, July 14. The two were on a family history fact finding mission, and were in Rutland looking for information concerning Eugene’s mother, the late Ida (Helberg) Erickson. The original Helbergs were Swedish Immigrants who homesteaded on the Tewaukon-Ransom Township Line southeast of Rutland back in the 1890’s. The original farmhouse was in Tewaukon Township, and the barn was in Ransom. Their farmstead is now the site of Roger Nelson’s farm headquarters. Eugene’s mother was a daughter of these immigrants, and a younger sister of the late Theodore “Ted” Helberg of this community. Ida married Oscar Erickson of Dunbar Township, and they later settled at McLeod ND, in Ransom County. Eugene, now 92 years of age, grew up in McLeod ND and graduated from high school there. Oscar Erickson was a brother of Alvin Erickson, father of the famous “Uncle Ed” Erickson of Shuman Township who is noted as the inventor of the Eagle Ditcher and as one of the mastermind builders of the frying pan for Rutland’s “World’s Largest Hamburger” back in 1982. Eugene went to college at NDSU, at that time titled North Dakota College of Agriculture and Applied Science, in Fargo, graduating with a Degree in Agriculture in 1953. He then went on to graduate school at Michigan State University, and to a teaching career as a Professor of Rural Sociology at Cornell University in Ithaca NY, one of the most prestigious agricultural colleges in the world. Eugene has been retired for a quarter of a century, but he is still mentally & physically active, and, to look at him you would think that he is 62, not 92. While in Rutland, the Ericksons had dinner at the Rutland Seniors Center, and enjoyed visiting with many there, including Dick Meyers, who remembered the late Ted & Tina Helberg well. They had also stopped at the Sargent County Museum in Forman to do some research in the local newspapers from years ago. Jeff had found the obituary for his great grandmother, Karina Helberg, and from that had picked up some new trails to follow in their search for family history. When they departed Rutland, the Ericksons were headed for the Alan & Doreen Olstad farm, to check out their family’s connection to the Olstad family.
It really rained after the rain was over. The rain showers started at about 10:00 p.m. on Friday, July 9, and, after about .1 to .2 of an inch had fallen here, the TV weather reporters declared that it was all over. No more rain for the foreseeable future. the weather gurus may have their charts, insights, incense and incantations to guide them, but the weather gods are not to be trifled with. No one tells them what to do. After the rain was officially over, the clouds opened up to give Rutland and vicinity another .5 to .8 of an inch of much needed precipitation. Norbert Kulzer reported a full 1 inch in his rain gauge, while next door neighbor, Roger Pearson, measured .75 of an inch in his. Chuck Sundlie reported .8 of an inch in his gauge on Saturday morning, but he had dumped out what he estimates to have been about .2 of an inch when the rain stopped the first time. Harvey Bergstrom reported .83 of an inch at his farm 2½ miles south of Cayuga; Kurt Breker measured .62 of an inch at his farm 1 mile south of Cayuga; Mark Wyum received .6 of an inch at his farm northeast of Rutland; Chuck Anderson came in with the low reading for the event of .43 of an inch at his farm in Weber Township, between Rutland & Havana; and, Cam Gulleson’s rain gauge 1½ mile east of town gets the prize for the highest reading at 1.11 inch on Saturday morning. Several of the Assembled Wise Men around the coffee table at the Rutland Seniors Center on Saturday morning even observed that the grass was beginning to turn green, again. So, in the “Every Silver Lining Has Its Cloud” department, now they will have to start mowing lawns, again.
The 26th District Democratic-NPL Party’s Executive Committee met at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 8, in the Community Room of the Stock Grower Bank’s Rutland Station. District Chairman Jim Dotzenrod of Wyndmere had called the meeting to discuss the need to plan for the re-drawing of District boundaries by the Legislature later this year, the need to prepare for a possible legislative election in the event new District boundaries result in a significant change in the population of the District; and, to plan for a rally/fund-raiser in cooperation with District #25 on Thursday, August 19 at the Joel Heitkamp residence at Lake Elsie, near Hankinson. About a dozen members of the Executive Committee were present, including former legislators Jerry Kelsh of Fullerton and Al Peterson of Forman. Notices of the upcoming Rally/Fund-Raiser will be published on-line, as well as in the local newspapers in Sargent, Dickey, Ransom & Richland Counties. Officers of the 26th District Dem-NPL for 2021-22 are: Jim Dotzenrod, Chairman; Jayne Pfau & Cameron Gulleson, Vice Chairpersons; Bryce Carlson, Secretary; and, Sheila Wyum, Treasurer.
“All day we’ve faced the barren waste without a taste of water. Cool, clear water.” Sang The Sons Of The Pioneers years ago, and their words were about to become the 2021 theme song for Rutland and vicinity, until the morning of Tuesday, July 6, when the hot, dry barren waste was replaced by cool, clear water in the form of a 60 degree temperature reading and a misty, drizzly rain that was not a desert mirage but the real thing. It wasn’t a big rain, but, as The Assembled Wise Men observed, “It was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.” Roger Pearson reported .3 of an inch in his rain gauge on the east end of Gay Street, Mark Wyum reported .6 of an inch at his farmstead about 2 miles northeast of town, Jesse Brakke’s electronic gauge between Rutland & Cayuga recorded .46 of an inch of rainfall; DuWayne Baldwin reported .47 of an inch of precipitation south of Geneseo; and, Chuck Anderson’s gauge at the Anderson’s Weber Township farm 5½ miles southwest of town held .58 of an inch of blessings from Heaven; when the rain stopped. The relatively cool weather that is predicted for the rest of the week will allow the rain to soak in and do some good for the growing corn and soybean crops. According to Mr. Baldwin, the corn plants have perked up their ears and the beans are smiling.
Former Rutland community members Bill & Mary Woytassek paid a visit to their old friends in the old home town on Wednesday, June 30. The Woytasseks had been on a vacation trip to Granite Falls MN on the previous weekend, and decided to pay a visit to Rutland on their way back to their home at Detroit Lakes MN. They pulled in on the evening of Tuesday, June 29, parked their travel trailer in the Rutland RV Park, and then stopped in at the Rutland Seniors Center on Wednesday morning to catch up on the news and have coffee with the home folks.
Dave Kulzer, who has been visiting in Rutland since Monday, June 28, went out for lunch with the ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out) group at Noon on Thursday, July 1. Regulars included: Dale McLaen; Mark Wyum; Bruce Peterson; and, Bill Anderson. Guests were: Jackie Peterson; Kathy Wyum; and, Dave Kulzer. This was the first outing for the ROMEO group since March of 2020, and they chose to check out the fare at the Geneseo Bar, which they found to be excellent. Charter members of the ROMEO group were: the late Earl Cramton; the late Richard Bradbury; Mark Wyum; and, Dale McLaen. The resumption of their weekly meeting is one more sign that life is returning to normal since the covid-19 pandemic has loosened its grip.
Speaking of covid-19, the pandemic may havelessened its ferocity since vaccines became available, but it is still a threat to public health. Statistics released last week indicate that 99.2% of those who have died of covid-19 during the month of June had not been vaccinated, while only 0.8% of those who died of the disease during the same period had received a vaccination. Sargent County Public Health District Administrator Brenda Peterson reports that this County has not had an active covid-19 case since June 24, and her team is working to keep it that way. Sargent County has not quite reached the goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated by the 4th of July, but is continuing to work toward that goal, too. To make an appointment to schedule a covid-19 vaccination, call: Sargent County Public Health at 724-3725; Forman Drug at 724-6222; or, Sanford Clinic at 742-3267.Paul Anderson reports from Spider Lake, near Nevis MN, that his grandson, Rhys Elfering, and granddaughter, Arlo Elfering, ages 2 and 4 months, respectively, were his guests at the lake on Friday, July 2. Rhys enjoyed piloting Grandpa’s pontoon, the SS Swamp Rat, around the lake, according to Paul. Rhys & Arlo were accompanied by Paul’s daughter & son-in-law, Katie and Josh Elfering. The Elferings make their home in Seattle WA, and had flown back to the Midwest to visit family and friends over the Independence Day holiday weekend. Paul also reports that the Nevis area received 2½ inches of rain on the morning of Tuesday, July 6. The rain was very welcome, as that area has missed out on even the small showers that have been keeping crops in Sargent County green and growing.
Moisture continues to be in short supply in the Rutland area, but .25 of an inch of rain on the morning of Saturday, June 26, and another .15 of an inch on the morning of Monday, June 28, provided continued sustenance to growing crops, and continued hope to worried farmers and their anxious bankers. The forecast for the next couple of weeks calls for clear skies and temperatures into the 90’s, a forecast not likely to produce a lot of smiles on the faces of local grain and livestock producers. Although predictions of the quantity and quality of the crops currently growing are chancy, the old prediction that it always rains after a long dry spell is a sure bet. So, put your money on the arrival of rain. It may not be enough, and it may not be in time, but it will arrive. It never fails!
Former Rutland area residents Doug & Nancy Glarum of Battle Lake MN were visitors in their old home town on Wednesday, June 23. They had been over to Havana to pick up some locally produced meat from Drew Smith & Lacey Block at Ranchers Rebellion Beef. Nancy reports that she is still working for the abstract company, but she has been transferred from the company’s Detroit Lakes office to the office in Perham MN, giving her a shorter commute to and from work. During their time in Rutland they enjoyed lunch at The Lariat Bar, and then sparked an impromptu reunion with old friends on Main Street as: Bill Anderson; Chuck Sundlie; Lori McLaen; Ione Pherson; Jerry & Patty Woytassek; and, many others; stopped to greet their old friends. They report that their daughter, Megen, and her family; and, their son, Brent, and his daughter; now work and make their homes in West Fargo ND, where Brent has recently purchased a new home.
Ms. Katie Wolters resigned her position as Postal Clerk in charge of the Rutland Post Office as of Wednesday, June 9. Ms. Wolters had been at the Rutland Office since Lori McLaen was transferred to the Gwinner Post Office in the spring of 2020. With all 5 of Katie’s children now in school, she has decided to head back to school herself, to further her own education with some college classes. Former Rutland Postal Clerks Lori McLaen and Bert Siemieniewski will be serving as the tag team managers of the Rutland Office until a permanent clerk is hired to replace Ms. Wolters. Patrons of the Rutland Post Office are sorry to lose Katie’s services, and wish her well in her new endeavors.
Take me out to the ballgame! Rutland’s Roosters are flying high once more. On Tuesday, June 22, the Roosters took on a tough and seasoned team from Havana at Lou Sanderson Field, and finished them off in 2 games, both by the 10 run rule in 5 innings. A week later, on Tuesday, June 29, the hard-hitting Lisbon team was at Lou Sanderson Field, looking for a chicken dinner, but the Roosters put 2 more games into the Win column, again by the 10 run rule after 5 innings. It appears that the Roosters have hit their stride and will be heading into the 2nd half of the season with a full head of steam. Keep your eyes open for the next home game. The team at the Lou Sanderson Field concession stand has been practicing their art, too, and can now get a bratwurst from the grill to the customer faster than Bobby Richardson & Moose Skowron could pull off a double play.
Speaking of smoothly operating teams, Cogswell native Brad Arneson, now a District Manager with the Bobcat Company, had his team of dealers from the State of Missouri up at the Coteau des Prairies Lodge south of Rutland from Tuesday, June 22 to Friday, June 25. The Bobcat dealers met with company representatives to discuss new developments in the industry in a relaxing setting. A total of 14, including Bobcat experts from Gwinner and Fargo were at the Lodge for the meeting. Others in the group with ties to Sargent County included Forman native Brady Seavert, son of Judie (Anderson) Seavert and the late Ron Seavert, and Regional Manager Shane Christensen, son of Sonja (Anderson) Christensen and the late Charles Christensen. On Tuesday, June 22, the entire group was at The Lariat Bar for their evening repast. The Coteau des Prairies Lodge is proving to be a popular venue for business meetings as well as social gatherings. For information about the Lodge, check out the cdplodge.com web site, or give Olivia a call at 701.680.1175.
Work has commenced on the Rutland Community Club’s mural on the north wall of the Rutland Oil Company building on Main Street. Artist Shelly (Pherson) fink, assisted by her mother, Ione Pherson, applied the primer and base coat on Wednesday, June 23. The mural itself will be a work in progress for the next several weeks.
Kelly Hawkinson of Kalispell MT visited in Rutland, at the home of her uncle, Bill Anderson, on Thursday & Friday, June 24 & 25. Kelly is the daughter of the late Harvey Anderson and one of the granddaughters of the late Earl & Irene Anderson of this community. Among her numerous jobs, Kelly is employed as Secretary and statistician for the Professional Bull Riders organization at many rodeos across the western half of the United States. On Saturday, June 26, she performed her duties at the big rodeo in Binford ND, northeast of Jamestown. Binford is about the same size as Rutland, but draws about 5,000 rodeo fans on each day of its 3 day annual event. Kelly drove back to Kalispell on Sunday, June 27, and was at work at her regular employment on Monday morning.
Saturday, June 26, was a big day for celebrations of life, and for celebrating milestones of life. In Rutland, a memorial service was held for Teresa Gilbertson, a sister of the late Catherine (VanVlanderen) Jacobson of this community at Nordland Lutheran Church with the Rev. Julie Johnson officiating. Interment was in the Rutland Cemetery. Mrs. Gilbertson had grown up in the Geneseo-Lidgerwood area, but had spent most of her life in California. She was a maternal aunt to Carolyn Christensen, Calvin Jacobson, Diane Smith and Pam Maloney of Rutland, and Boyd Jacobson Jr. of Starbuck MN. In Forman, a graveside interment service for the late Mike Seavert, a friend of many in this community, was held at the Forman Cemetery on Saturday, June 26, also with Rev. Julie Johnson officiating. Mr. Seavert had passed away on Saturday, June 12, about a month before his 71st birthday. On the afternoon of Saturday, June 26, about 250 to 300 of the friends of the late Harris Lee Anderson gathered at the Anderson family’s farm home east of Havana to celebrate the life of a man who had been friend to many. Harris had served as a 4-H leader, Township officer, County Commissioner and Chairman of the Sargent County Health District Board. He was active in both the Rutland and Havana communities. The gathering at the Anderson farmstead on Saturday afternoon was impressive, and an indication of the esteem in which his fellow citizens held Harris Anderson. Later on the afternoon of Saturday, June 26, the friends and family of Ted & Joan Lee of this community hosted a 50th Anniversary party at The Green Lantern Hall in Geneseo. . The Rutland community extends congratulations to Ted & Joan on their Golden Anniversary, and wishes them many more happy years together.
Rutland native Wayne Susag was a visitor in his old home town during the week of June 27-July 2. Wayne, who resided in Minneapolis for 43 years, reports that he has recently acquired a new home and relocated to Desert Palm Springs CA. He said that it’s hard to believe that his younger sister, Sandy, is catching up to him in the age department. Wayne and his brother, Joel, intend to head out to the home of their older sister, Carolyn Story, at Billings MT for the Independence Day holiday.
Dave & Pat Kulzer of Condon MT, accompanied by their dog, Buster, arrived in Rutland on the afternoon of Monday, June 28, at the conclusion of a 3 day trip from northwestern Montana to southeastern North Dakota. Unlike earlier days, when they used to make the trip in one long, grueling day, they now travel at a more leisurely pace. They report that Montana is dry, and getting drier, with forest and prairie fire concerns rising by the day. After spending a few days in Rutland, at the home of Pat’s brother, Paul Anderson, at 309 Gay Street, they intend to drive over to Lanesboro MN for a reunion of the descendants of Myrtle (Aus) Kulzer near where her grandfather homesteaded after his arrival from Norway back in the 1870’s. Dave’s brother & sister-in-law, Norbert & Bev Kulzer of Rutland, also plan to attend the reunion. Dave & Pat intend to be back in Rutland on Tuesday, July 6, and to begin their return trek to their home in Montana’s Swan River Valley on Saturday, July 10. Buster is a good passenger, and is happy to just go along for the ride.
According to Joel Susag, a member of Fort Ransom’s Sodbusters Association, a bench will be dedicated to the memory of the late Clayton McLaen of this community at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 10, on the opening day of the first Sodbusters’ horse farming demonstration and exposition of the year at Fort Ransom State Park. Clayton McLaen, who passed away in 2008, loved his horses, and was a charter member of both the Sodbusters Association and the Fort Ransom Chapter of the North Dakota 7th Cavalry. The bench that will be dedicated was handcrafted by local wood artist Alan Olstad of Rutland. Joel would like to see a substantial group from Rutland on hand for the dedication ceremony.
So, here we are, at the mid-point of the year already. As Orvis Pearson says, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you are to the end, the faster it goes.” 2021 is no exception to that rule. Some upcoming events in Rutland include: Rutland City Council meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 5, in the Rutland Town Hall; the 2nd Farmers Market of the year beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 11, in the City Park adjacent to the Rutland Town Hall; and, Rutland Community Club meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, July 12, at the Rutland Town Hall.
Meanwhile, on the international scene, have you ever wondered what Americans in other countries do on Independence Day, the 4th of July? According to frequent Rutland visitor, Rolf Odberg of Halden, Norway, Americans in Norway gather near the statue of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States that is located in Frognerparken, the huge city park in Oslo, the Capitol of Norway. Each year, the American Coordinating Council of Norway (ACCN) organizes a 4th of July observance in Frognerparken that is described as “the largest Independence Day celebration outside the United States.” The Lincoln statue, created by sculptor Paul Fjelde of Valley City ND, was presented to Norway as a gift from the people of North Dakota by the State’s Governor, Louis B. Hanna, in a ceremony in Oslo on July 4, 1914, during the centennial year of the Norwegian Constitution. Andrew Miller of Rutland, a Norwegian immigrant, and his daughter, Charlotte, were members of the delegation that accompanied Gov. Hanna to Norway for the purpose of making the presentation. The base of the statue has the words, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth,” on the left side, and, “Presented to Norway by the People of North Dakota USA, July 4, 1914,” on the right as you face the statue. A replica of the Lincoln statue in Oslo, also created by Paul Fjelde, is located in Hillsboro ND. So, wherever you may be on July 4th, celebrate the independence, history and accomplishments of our Country. With all of its faults and all of its virtues, it is still, as Lincoln described it, “The last best hope of humanity.” If you happen to be in Norway, head over to Frognerparken in Oslo for the largest Independence Day celebration outside the United States!
Well, that’s the news from Rutland for this week. For additional information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com, and take a look at the Rutland Facebook page while you’re at it, too. Don’t forget to patronize your local Post Office, and remember to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.
The Summer Solstice arrived at about 10:30 p.m. on Fathers’ Day, Sunday, June 20, starting off the official 2021 summer season with the coolest temperatures in a month. The day had begun with a much needed rain, the initial blast at about 2:30 in the morning being reinforced with a couple of showers during the day. Norbert Kulzer reported .75 of an inch in his rain gauge, while his next door neighbor, Roger Pearson, reported that his gauge held .6 of an inch when the rain ended. Jesse Brakke’s electronic rain gauge at his farmstead between Rutland & Cayuga recorded .65 of an inch from the event. The rain was timely and most definitely welcome. The only thing it could have used to make it better was another inch or two of water.
Speaking of water, those who have been practicing the piscatorial arts on local waters have been having scant, but occasional, luck since the ice melted. A pair of anglers from this community, however, Roger Pearson and Lary Arneson, have been taking their boat to South Dakota in recent weeks, and have returned home with several limits of walleyes and even a few northern pike. Roger said that the number of boats on the lake they have been fishing have increased dramatically in the past week, indicating that the word has leaked out despite the traditional Fisherman’s Code of Silence. Roger can’t ethically disclose the location of this fishing hot spot, but admits that it would be a Bitter Lake, indeed, that did not offer up a limit of walleyes to a worthy fisherman once in a while.
Last week it was reported here that longtime Rutland resident Gretchen Vann had departed this life, suddenly and unexpectedly, on Saturday, June 12. Additional information is now available on the Price Funeral Chapel internet web site. Gretchen had passed away at Sanford Hospital in Fargo on Saturday, June 12, 2021, after suffering a heart attack on Friday evening while at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Margie & Zach Johnson, in Gwinner. She had attained the age of 67 years, 4 months and 5 days at the time of her death. Gretchen Wolterdina Vanderwolf was born on February 7, 1954, in Boskoop, The Netherlands, to Hein and Antonia “Toni” (DeHus) Vanderwolf. In 1956 the family, which then included Hein, Toni, Gretchen’s older brother Klaas, Gretchen, and, Toni’s mother, Klaas’ & Gretchen’s grandmother, Wolterdina DeHus, immigrated to America. They first made their home on the farm of Gretchen’s great-uncle & aunt, Harry & Lydia Hoffman, near Rutland, in Ransom Township. The Vanderwolfs were hard working and ambitious. Hein worked for several local farmers and eventually obtained a job on the Great Northern Railway’s steel gang, then rebuilding the track from Aberdeen to Breckenridge. Hein was readily identifiable, as he was the only member of the steel gang wearing the traditional Dutch wooden shoes. After 2 years in Rutland, opportunity called the Vanderwolf family to move to Beaverton OR, near Portland, but they always remembered Rutland as the community that gave them their start in America. They had made a number of good friends here, among them Arnold & Bee Banish and Jack & Karen Saunders, and most summers they spent their vacation in Rutland. Gretchen recalled that the Vanderwolf family did not go to Disneyland, Six Flags Over Texas or other vacation hot spots. They went to Rutland instead! Gretchen grew up in Beaverton and graduated from high school there in 1972. She always had a good relationship with her cousin, Kathy Brakke, in Rutland, and she came to stay with Kathy and her family after her graduation. She went to work at the Bobcat, then Melroe, Company in Gwinner. She met and married Kenwood Peterson of Milnor, and they made their home on the Peterson farm near Milnor. They had a daughter, Antonia. Gretchen and Kenwood later parted, and she moved back to Oregon where she went to work for the Stevens Company, owner of Leupold optics and Stevens gunsights. She met and married John Stevens, and they made their home on Sauvie’s Island, along the Willamette River, near Portland. They had a daughter, Margie. Gretchen was later briefly married to James Vann of Portland. In 2005, Gretchen, her parents, brother, and sister & brother-in-law, Debbie & Noel Liermark, moved back to North Dakota to be closer to her two daughters, both of whom resided in Sargent County. She had a dream of giving something back to the community that had given her family its start in America a half century earlier. She acquired the property on the corner of First & Gay Streets, took down the existing structures and, in 2007, opened The Rutland General Store which had groceries, hardware, fabric, and many other items in stock. The store also had cooking facilities and gourmet meals were prepared there. In 2009, the Rutland Café, which was next door to the General Store, was acquired, renovated and added to the General Store’s capabilities. Gretchen operated the business until the end of 2015 when she closed both the General Store and the Cafe. She subsequently worked at the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon and at Four Seasons Villa in Forman where her outgoing personality and upbeat sense of humor made her popular with the residents. Gretchen is survived by her 2 daughters: Antonia Hajek of rural Havana; and, Margie Johnson of Gwinner; by 6 grandchildren: Nicolas Peterson; Josephine Hajek; Jayden Hajek; TJ Johnson; Easton Johnson; and, Cyprian Johnson; by a brother, Klaas Vanderwolf of Forman; by a sister, Deborah “Debbie” Liermark of Rutland; by numerous cousins in America and in The Netherlands; and, by many friends. She was preceded in death by her parents. Visitation was at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 21, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland, followed by a prayer Service at 7:00 p.m. The funeral for Gretchen Vann was at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland with the Rev. Julie Johnson officiating. A Noon lunch was served by the Nordland Lutheran Church Ladies at the Rutland Town Hall following the service. Interment was in the Rutland Cemetery, near the graves of her parents and grandmother. Terry Price of the Price Funeral chapel of Forman and Britton was in charge of arrangements. In her Last Will And Testament, Gretchen instructed her daughters, “I want to be remembered in death as I was in life, bold, brash and daring. (and possibly broke!)” The Rutland community extends condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of Gretchen Van, a woman who dared mighty things, and who never allowed adversity to hold her back.