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What We Are Doing Now

Send a paragraph (or more) giving an update on your life to Karen Olson.
Tell about your family, hobbies, interests, travel, etc., etc..
Your classmates want to know all about you!

Dean Blegen
At present, I am an accredited instructor at Western Technical College in La Crosse, Tomah and Viroqua, WI teaching a class that I developed called "Investment Myths & Principles I, II, III. I also own and operate a securities business in Westby, WI under the wing of Packerland Brokerage Services from Green Bay, WI.
A project that I've been heavily involved in for the past four years is a waste digester that has been built by USEMCO in Tomah, WI. The project grew out of my teaching and investment activities at Western. This technology promises to revolutionize how farms handle manure and other Ag waste year around by turning it into organic fertilizer and electricity. The market for this system is unlimited and is being helped along by Dairyland Power Cooperative in La Crosse.
My hobbies are landscaping, trains, and buying and restoring a couple of '56 & 57 Chevy trucks that resemble my Dad's milk trucks that I drove at age 16! (Some things make an indelible memory on us at age 16!)
Got married in 1966 to Sharon Ditmarson. Our son Christopher was born three years later. Sharon died from a brain tumor in 1973. Got married again to Jo Ellen Sherry in 1974 and son Ben was born in 1976.
I graduated from UW-River Falls in 1967, then taught school in La Crosse for three years. Was a World Book Encyclopedia Division Manager for 10-years. Started a wholesale jewelry business, which I still have. Began selling securities in 1984 which led me to today and Packerland and Western Technical College.
Retirement? Why? I can still work in either securities, landscaping, or promoting other business interests. As long as people are happy to see me, I will be there. So far people are telling me that I better not retire!
Wayne Hojem
Three weeks after graduation, I went to work at Jack's Super Valu. After working there a few years, I took a break and worked for the Spring Valley Public Schools as a custodian and bus driver for 4 years. Then I went back to Jack's and worked in retail grocery business for about 34 years. Still doing retail work at Shopko in River Falls.
Married Rita Ingli ('64) in 1963. We have two children, Mark (m. Laura Held) & Robin, (m. Greg Berger), five grandsons, two granddaughters and one great granddaughter.
Enjoy woodworking, Radio Control Airplanes and Genealogy. Thanks to Rita's help and interest, we have traced my father's family back to about 1750, in Norway. Located cousins in Norway and visited them in 2006 and toured some of Norway. A beautiful country!
Hope to retire soon!
Charles Olson - Judy Rudesill
I attended UWRF after high school graduating in 1965 with a BS in chemistry and mathematics. I also attended Iowa State University in their physical chemistry PhD program dropping out due to Selective Service pressure and also Judy (Rudesill) Olson expecting number one. I worked for Dow Chemical in Michigan for 30 years in organic chemicals production and also in product development for corporate marketing and R&D.
Judy developed lymphoma in 1993 and I was fortunate enough to receive a retirement deal from Dow in my circumstances and Judy and I spent her "dream" years retired at our cottage on Lake Charlevoix, MI. We also spent winters in Arizona, initially Mesa and later Casa Grande which I still return to when cold weather starts. Judy passed away in 2003 at age 59.
I enjoy fishing in the summer on "my" lake and also Lake Michigan which connects into my lake. I also enjoy golf in Michigan and Arizona. I have four children and 14 grandchildren.
After graduation from SVHS in 1961 Judy attended UWRF for one year, and then worked in the twin cities for three years. Judy and Charles Olson, SVHS 1961, were married June 5. 1965. Please see history of Charles Olson (above) for further important information. Judy worked at Dow Chemical for a year and then was a full time mother and home maker for 15 years volunteering as girl scout leader for many years, in the school libraries and many church positions. She became a church secretary in 1983 and in 1984 moved to a position in a medical office becoming office manager for several years before retiring in 1995. Judy passed away of lymphoma in 2003.
Karen L. Traynor A summary of 50 years in two paragraphs:
After graduation from SVHS, I entered St. Bede convent in Eau Claire. I remained a Benedictine nun till 1970 when I left and moved to Lawrence, KS to complete my MA in drama and English. I'd already taught four years as a nun and taught one more in Missouri before heading to Jamaica in '72 in search of love and adventure. I found them both and in '74, I married John Cole, a Canadian teacher originally from England. Leaving Jamaica in '75, we moved to Canada, where I taught till 2001, retiring after 34 years of teaching.
In August '01, I began writing a memoir of my life in the convent. I also became very active in the writing community in the Toronto, ON area. Finally, in the fall of 2009 Lifting the Veil was published, but it's done quite well since then, and I even came back to SV in 2010 to donate a book to the library. My second book, based on those Jamaica adventures, Southern Exposure, is being looked at by publishers right now. Here's hoping! John and I will celebrate our 37th anniversary in August. We've been around the world twice together and hope to keep traveling the road of life together for a long time.
Robert Britton
I retired in 1992 and moved back to my roots. Got married, for the third and final time, three years ago and now have a 3 year old, in July, grandson whom I babysit full time and love it. Spend my days watching SpongeBob SquarePants and day trading stocks. Never boring. Luckily I also short stocks and that is especially important on days like this when the market is down 250 points! I did go with my wife for 14 years before we married as we waited until her kids were out of high school. We have traveled quite a bit. Mostly we go to the Rocky Mountains camping and fishing in Canada or Wisconsin. I've lived in 11 states but none of them are are beautiful as Wisconsin.