Reunion 2008

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Former Campers and Counselors at Camp White Earth gathered for their second reunion on the weekend of September 12-14, 2008 at Maplelag Resort, Callaway, Minnesota.  We had 36 attending:


Payson and Lisa Adams

Tom and ZoŽ Adams               

Rich and Nancy Borstad

Bill and Gayle Chorske

Chuck Colby

Doug and Vicki Dypwick

Dick and Sue Flickinger

Steve Fox

Erik Fritzell

Pete Fritzell

Guy and Judy Hatlie

Ron and Caroline Johnson

John and Carol Koepcke Steve and Marilyn Koepcke

Tim MacDonald

John and Jean Nelson Chip and Rosa Maria Peterson

Fred Richards

Jim and Mary Richards

Eddie and Kay Schermerhorn

Pete Swanson

Paul Whitney


The short form:  I think everybody had a terrific time.


The gang started to gather on Friday afternoon at Maplelog Resort….got themselves checked-in, and returned to the Hospitality Room (an area setup adjacent to the lobby) to meet old camper and counselor friends.  There were ‘refreshments’ and hors d’oeuvres…. (prepared by Judy Hatlie and Vicki Dypwick).  Displays were set up depicting old photos and other memorabilia…  There was a good ‘buzz’ in the room.  And a few ‘whoops’! as old friends recognized each other, shook hands, embraced, and rolled out “I remember you when……..”



Pete Swanson and Chip Peterson conversing in the foreground; Paul Whitney and Tim MacDonald just behind them.


Guy Hatlie (center) with two of his favorite counselors, Bill Chorske and Rich Borstad in the display area. 



After lunch visit and coffee:  Foreground L. to R. Fred Richards, Chip Peterson, Ron Johnson.  In back:  Gayle and Bill Chorske, Rosa Maria Peterson, and Carolin Johnson.

Jim Richards with John and Carol Koepcke


Off to dinner….Italian Night at Maplelag!  It was terrific.  We sang grace, (“For health and strength, and daily food, we give the thanks Oh Lord”,and John (Nelly) Nelson “Slap off!” at the end of the meal.  


After dinner we had a short program. In my opening remarks I mentioned that this may be our last reunion with the camp site in a ‘recognizable’ state.  There is a renovation project about to begin which would include the replacement of many, if not all, the buildings that we are familiar with.  Here is a summary of the current project provided by Vern Hunter:   


“We have been asked by the White Earth Tribal Council to develop a master plan for a lodge, site sewer/water, buildings to be removed, bathhouse facility, etc. in preparation for bidding sewer/ water and a bathhouse this winter for hopefully spring construction. We appreciate the history, and recollections of obvious good times on this site. We are trying to conserve it as possible. Please feel free to come back with any comments, old photos, etc. Unfortunately many of the old dorms will have to be removed and the lake bank is receding. Any information to include in the report would be appreciated.“
Vern Hunter


We then moved on to have some fun…


Who traveled the furthest!!!?? Many people traveled very long distances to be here….These are the top 5 (according to Mapquest):


            Alhambra, California, 1889 miles…………....Pete Swanson

            Windham, Maine, 1711 miles…………….…Payson (Paidie) & Lisa Adams

            Tigard, Oregon, 1560 miles…………………Paul Whitney

            Woodstock, Vermont, 1534 miles…………..Bill & Gayle Chorske

            Thibodaux, Louisiana, 1460 miles…………...Tom & ZoŽ Adams


So, for his long trek to be with old friends…..Pete won a Maplelag shirt!! 

There is no doubt that the long distance traveled by many was greatly appreciated by all.  Thanks so much for making the effort to attend.


At the 2006 reunion I mentioned a few of the ‘excuses’ given for not attending the reunion….(beyond health issues and travel cost issues) it demonstrated what active/productive lives we lead, but some seemed humorous in ’06, and perhaps a few of the ’08 comments are as well….I thought I’d share a few this time…of course, they are anonymous:


            “We’re going to see the Fall colors in Vermont”

            “No”……..that was it, just “no”

            “We’re going to watch our son present a paper at a symposium”

            “I’m going to a professional conference”

            “I’m planning a trip to Minnesota….later”

            “Going to the dedication of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial; I was on the design committee”

            And my favorite:

            “We’re going to a pigeon race”


I read a couple of messages from folks that really wanted to be with us, but just couldn’t attend:


Whitey Kenagy… I also referred everybody to look through the ‘write-up’ and pictures he sent.  They were in the display area.


Diane Fleisher… Kitchen girl in 1959 and 60.  She admonished us to “fess up”…whoever got into the ‘kitchen girl cabin’ and took Nancy Fabre’s girdle and ran it up the flag pole!


John Nelson led us in a few songs while we set up the video provided by Tom Putnam from 1954.  We did pretty well with the old songs….  The video, although rather short, showed the campers and counselors at ‘flag raising’, campers getting their nails checked, and marching off to breakfast, all in their ‘Sunday Whites’.  The nurse performing the inspection is believed to be RoseMarie …later to be the wife of Chuck Kubes.


In 2006 when we gathered I chose to focus my remarks as a tribute to Niels Thorpe….read his eulogy and former counselors shared memories of Coach.  This reunion I focused my remarks on Rudy ‘Pete’ Pedersen, November 19, 1901 – July 9, 1986.  In my view, it seemed that while ‘Coach’ was the spiritual leader of the Camp, Pete was the principle business administrator. Both terrific, influential and unforgettable people.   Below I have depicted the obituary and article from the Minneapolis Tribune, and a poem written by a former student of Pete’s.


Text Box: Mpls Trib Obit:  Pedersen, Rudolph E., age 84, of Minneapolis and Nisswa.  Grew up in Askov, MN.  Member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, University of MN graduate, past President of University Masonic Lodge, member of Zuhrah Temple Club, Scottish Rite Temple & Retired Teachers Assoc., Co-owner & director of Camp White Earth for Boys.  Teacher, swim, & golf coach at Southwest High School, 1940-1962.  Received Mpls Star & Tribune Quarter-Century Citation for outstanding coaching.  Survived by wife, Grace (Gerhauser); stepdaughters, Cokey (Mrs. Thomas Thiss), Excelsior, Janet (Mrs. Robert) Allen, Edina; grandchildren, Kim, Jill, and Guy Griffiths, Eric, Ted, Peter, & Michael Thiss; sister, Mrs. Sigrid Winther, Plentywood, MT; brother Holger Pederson, Pasadena, CA; nephews & nieces.  Services Saturday 1:30 PM Lakewood Chapel.  Visitation Ĺ hour prior to service.  Interment Lakewood Cemetery. Memorials preferred to Courage Center or MN Foundation.  Arrangements with Werness Brothers Chapel.Text Box: RUDOLPH E. PEDERSEN DIES AT 84; SOUTHWEST HIGH TEACHER, COACH
Rudolph (Rudy) E. Pedersen, 84, Minneapolis, a former math teacher and coach at Southwest High School for more than 20 years, died Wednesday of heart problems at his home.
Pedersen taught at Southwest from 1940, when the school opened, until he retired in 1962.  He also was the boys swimming and golf coach. 
After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in education in 1926, Pedersen taught in Duluth schools for four years before joining the Minneapolis school system.
In the late 1920s he and the late Niels Thorpe, a former Gopher swimming coach, started Camp White Earth for Boys near Detroit Lakes, Minn.  It operated until the late 1950s, said Pedersen’s stepdaughter, Janet G. Allen.  Many university athletes including Gordy Soltau, Cal Stoll and Joe Salem worked there as counselors.
“He coached and advised so many young people, it was as if he had numerous children,” she said.  “Every time he’d go out for dinner or go anyplace, people would remember him.”
He is survived by his wife, Grace; stepdaughters Cokey Thiss of Excelsior and Janet Allen of Edina; sister Sigrid Winther of Plentywood, Mont., and brother Holger of Pasadena, Calif.
Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lakewood Cemetery Chapel, 3600 Hennepin Av. S. Memorials may be sent to the Golden Valley Courage Center or the Minnesota Foundation.

Text Box: A poem written and presented at the funeral service by Bob Thiel, Student (1963)
Mr. Rudy was a teacher, a coach, a friend,
He aided all his students to develop into men.
Working with minds, and bodies, ‘til both grew hard and strong.
Respected by his fellows, a man who did no wrong.
Our counselor has left us now, but always in our heart,
A special place for him will be,
In us he’s left his mark.




























Following these readings I shared a couple of personal memories of Mr. ‘Pete’ Pedersen.


I then asked for a moment of silence in Pete’s memory and those Campers and Counselors known to have passed before us.  …I read the following names.


Annis, Jerry

Peterson, Rudy

Cargill, Jim

Phillips, T-Ray

Dietrick, Bill

Putnam, Andy

Dillard, James

Putnam, Harry

Eckles, Pete

Ratner, Pete

Edwards, Tommy

Schermerhorn, Jim

Gale, Sam

Seymour, Peter

Griffing, Phil

Sherman, Jim

Hyatt, Jean

Stoll, Cal

Ingles, Ed

Swanson, Merrill

John A. Kalin (Poika)

Thorpe, Bill

Johnston, Reggie

Thorpe, Johnnie

Kennedy, David

Thorpe, Niels (Coach)

Lewis, Burr

Bobbi Jo Waltz

Mossman, David

Wood, David

Nelson, Tom

Wright, Dick

Peterson, Mildred



After a few announcements regarding future events we adjourned.  Nelly lead us in the singing of “Taps”

Saturday morning:  After a great breakfast of Norwegian pancakes, lingonberries from Sweden, hot cereal, sausage and a variety of fresh juices….we ‘waddeled’ out and formed up for a self guided tour of the old Camp site.  We were able to walk the entire site…all the way to the softball field.  Paul Whitney gathered up a few chunks of lead from the rifle range, while others roamed through the cabins and old Lodge.  Clearly, the walking of the Camp site was the highlight for many….it stimulates a ton of memories.


At noon we were treated to a luncheon buffet at New Horizons Resort, formally Bowman’s as many of us remember it.  Chris and Linda May were terrific hosts, and created a wonderful Indian taco lunch with all the trimmings including butternut squash soup, wild rice waldorf salad and dessert.  Although the outside has been remodeled, it’s very recognizable; and the inside retains its old charm familiar to all campers and counselors.



Vicki Dypwick holding court with Tim MacDonald and Pete Swanson

Chuck Colby visiting with the Petersons, Chip and Rosa Maria.

Left to right:  Pete Fritzell, Judy Hatlie, Kay Schermerhorn, Eddie Schermerhorn,

Guy Hatlie, and Fred Richards 


Guy Hatlie and Paul Whitney….campers together for 6 summers; hadn’t seen each other in over 50 years!

The Nelsons, Jean and John….’Nelly’


Saturday afternoon was at leisure.  Saturday evening we had a Maplelag walleye and brisket dinner, with Russian cream for dessert!  Good Heavens!


Jim Richards, the owner of Maplelag then built a huge campfire down by the Little Sugarbush Lake, a beautiful setting as the sun set.  We sang a couple of old camp songs, told numerous stories and listened to the beavers ‘slapping the water’ and teasing the dogs.  Many great stories were told….  Rich Borstad gave a very poignant talk of his experiences at Camp and the feelings he has carried with him over the years; he spoke of the memories and the impact that Coach and Johnnie, and Pete had on his life; the many lasting relationships he made; and what a rich experience it was for the counselors as well as the campers.  It was clear he spoke for many of us sitting there, gazing into the fire, each with our good memories of Camp White Earth.


We closed with “Taps”:           

Day is done, gone the sun,

From the lake, from the hills,

From the sky;

All is well, safely rest;

God is nigh.



Sunday morning……


Sunday mid-morning:  We were treated to the Maplelag Sunday morning brunch.  An excellent lineup of specialty foods.  Following brunch, and the final “slap off”, it was time to check out, relate a couple more stories, and say our farewells.  Of course we all promised to get together again….and next time with more old campers and counselors….. 



Sunday morning coffee, the newspaper, and visiting old friends:  L. to R. Jean Nelson, Sue Flickinger, Vicki Dypwick, and Dick Flickinger.


Well, here we are…”On the Rocks”…Across the top L. to R.:  Sue Flickinger, Nancy Borstad, Dick Flickinger, Rich Borstad, Guy Hatlie, Tim MacDonald, Judy Hatlie (red), Chuck Colby (partially hidden), Pete Swanson, Tom Adams, Gayle Chorske, Bill Chorske, Zoe Adams (hidden behind Bill Chorske) Caroline Johnson, Ron Johnson.  Across the middle:  Jean and John Nelson, Steve Fox, Vickie Dypwick, Chip Peterson (red jacket), Lisa and Payson Adams.  Across the bottom:  Mary Richards, Doug Dypwick, Fred Richards, Rosa Maria Peterson, Paul Whitney, Jim Richards, Marilyn and Steve Koepcke.