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Hall of Fame - Class of 2011

Terry Anderson
Terry, valedictorian of her 1966 Forest Lake class, eventually returned to teach in her hometown, and in her 34 years working for the district she earned a reputation as a teacher who truly went the extra mile for her students and their families. It was not uncommon for Terry to visit her students at home during the summer, nor was it uncommon for her to hold get-togethers and summer picnics in order for her families to get acquainted before the upcoming school year. She was also a tremendous leader who found many ways to help mentor and lead her peers, including serving as president of the Forest Lake teachers’ union.
K. Vernon Banta
Vernon, a 1917 graduate of Forest Lake High School, is a great example of an individual who overcame tremendous hardship to excel. As a young college student, Vernon wished to pursue a career in civil engineering. But while working to earn money for school he was involved in an industrial accident that resulted in the amputation of his left hand. But rather than letting that hold him back, Vernon took a position with the State Employment Service, specializing in farm labor placement. As an advocate for those with physical handicaps, Vernon’s work led him to be named by President Harry S. Truman as Deputy Executive Secretary of the President’s Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, where he served from 1949 until his retirement in 1963.
Dean Barr
Dean has worked tirelessly on behalf of Forest Lake Area Schools over the years, both as a school board member and as a member of the community. Even before joining the school board, Dean volunteered his time to help the district set up a better auditing process for their budget. He served on the school board from 1996 – 2005 and, through his leadership projects such as the construction of Century Junior High and other building improvements were successfully completed. As the board’s treasurer, he also helped refine the auditing process and improve accountability. Since leaving the school board, Dean has continued to spend many hours as a volunteer, advocating for the school district, its programs and its funding.
Vernon Boettcher
Few people have contributed as much to Forest Lake Area Schools as Vernon Boettcher. A local farmer and mail carrier, Vernon has lived in this area his entire life, graduated from our high school and raised four children who also graduated from Forest Lake. He served on the Forest Lake Area School Board for an amazing 29 years, 15 of which were as chair, and he helped manage the tremendous growth of the district over many, many years. Since his retirement, Vernon and his wife, Fern, have continued to help support local education through his volunteer work and financial contributions Vernon still contributes his time to the school in his work with the Forest Lake Retired Educators Association.
Cliff Buchan
Cliff has been a reporter and editor at the Forest Lake Times for more than 30 years. His work in covering local events, government, politics and, of course, the local school system, has earned him numerous awards from organizations such as the Minnesota Newspaper Association, Minnesota Free Paper Association and Minnesota School Public Relations Association for his fairness, accuracy and diligence. In addition to his work as a professional journalist, Cliff has been an active member of the community, and his volunteer work has included participation on Community Scholarship Foundation board, The Forest Lake Area Children’s Fund and many other local organizations.
Earl Buys
Earl went from being the Forest Lake High School class of 1967 valedictorian to becoming a tremendously successful professional musician. After graduating from Forest Lake, Earl attended the University of Minnesota where he concentrated his efforts on piano performance. His career surged following college and he went from being a local Twin Cities star to a much larger stage in New York City, where he soon earned a reputation as an outstanding pianist and conductor. Earl has been piano accompanist to some of the most elite singers in the world, and has served as official accompanist for the leading opera competitions in the United States and Europe.
Jack Buys
Jack was known as one of those teachers who truly had a major impact on the lives of his students. A business and commercial education teacher, Jack was known for his ability to motivate his students with positive reinforcement and acknowledgement of their victories. For many years Jack was in charge of many of the fund-raising activities at the high school. An active member of the Forest Lake community, Jack will always been known for being a fantastic teacher, for his contributions to the community, and as his nominator wrote, for being “a wonderful human being.”
Dick Carlson
Dick Carlson was a 1956 graduate of Forest Lake High School who went on to become an outstanding English, Social Studies and Psychology teacher at his alma mater. Dick was known for both his vast knowledge of his subject area and for his extreme dedication to his profession and his students. Dick also loved theater and was active locally with the Masquers Theatre Company. But he may well be most known for his deep interest in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Dick’s research resulted in a unique level of expertise on this subject, and he spoke in many schools and communities on the subject.
Thea Carpenter
Thea served for many years as a librarian in the district, and she was known as a dedicated and skilled staff member as well as being a strong advocate for students. The innovations in library science that she implemented decades ago are still being used in Forest Lake’s schools today.  Her dedicated support for the district has continued long after she retired. Today, at age 96, she continues to be active with her church and with the Forest Lake Retired Educators’ Association.
Floyd Cohoes
Though a fine history teacher, Floyd will be best remembered for his long term as Forest Lake High School Principal, serving from 1949 until 1972. Known as both a caring man and a strong advocate of discipline, he made it his goal to ensure that Forest Lake students not only graduated but that they were given the tools to become quality people. He also held high standards for himself, working to earn his administrative degree in 1970 even though at that time it was not required for his position. Floyd’s leadership resulted in the building of the current high school in 1972, which, at his insistence, included what was at the time a modern, state-of-the-art auditorium.
Jack Conley
This is the third Hall of Fame in which Jack has been inducted. In 1989 he was inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Coaches Hall of Fame, and in 2007 he became a member of the St. Cloud State Hall of Fame. A tremendous supporter of students and the school system, Jack was a highly successful basketball coach at Forest Lake from 1959 – 1971, and led some of the best teams ever from the school. In his very first year as coach, his team won its first 21 games, which still stands as a school record. He served as the high school’s athletic director from 1968 – 1984 and was named Minnesota Athletic Director of the Year in 1983.
Jim Crawford
As his nominator accurately wrote, “Jim’s whole life was built on service to others.” A student at Forest Lake High School in 1948, Jim left school during his junior year so he could join the U.S Navy. He earned his GED while in the Navy, and as planned attended college shortly thereafter, now able to pay for college through the G.I. Bill. His career included many years of service on the Minnesota State Patrol, where he became a chief, and two terms as Forest Lake Mayor. He was also dedicated to volunteerism, working with the Boy Scouts, American Legion and the Masons.
Ray Daninger
Ray honored Forest Lake Area Schools both as a fine graduate of our school system and also in serving his country and his community. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and then went on to become a very successful executive for the Westinghouse Corporation. Even while working a demanding job and raising his family, Ray made the time for public service, working with both the Forest Lake Township and on the planning commission. He later was elected mayor of Forest Lake, and he led the city during a period of rapid growth and expansion.
Bob Dettmer
Bob Dettmer was a physical education teacher at Forest Lake High School for 34 years, during which time he also established himself as one of the most successful wrestling coaches in Minnesota. Bob also served his country as a Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Army Reserve and was called to active duty in 2001 to help support Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2007, Bob was elected to the state legislature and still serves as member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, where he is Vice-Chair of the House Higher Education Committee.
Lloyd and Helen Erickson
This married couple earned a place in the Hall of Fame because of their extraordinary volunteer work at Linwood Elementary School. The Ericksons are as much a fixture at Linwood as any of the staff. Helen has been volunteering at the school every Wednesday morning for more than 20 years, and Lloyd has been helping out at the school for about 15 years on Tuesdays and Sunday mornings. Both have also been volunteer mentors in the Friends Make a Difference program, which is a partnership between the school and Fairview Lakes Hospital, and their dedication has set wonderful examples of community service for Linwood students and staff alike.
Reynold Erickson
From 1938 to 1976, Rey went from being a school custodian to an inventor to a district supervisor. He will be best remembered as the man who invented the very first folding cafeteria tables for schools, and the company that first produced and distributed his tables is still in existence today. But even after his invention took flight and his tables were being used in thousands of schools across the nation, Rey continued his work at Forest Lake Schools. He eventually became the district’s Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, and his enduring dedication ensured that district schools were never closed due to mechanical or heating problems.
Robin Erickson-Lind
Were it not for Robin, the Forest Lake Dance Team may never have been created. As a senior in 1985, Robin – through her perseverance in lobbying the school principal, athletic director and members of the school board –  was the driving force in creating the school’s dance team. Now, as owner of Dance Tech Studios in Forest Lake, Robin helps support the high school dance team during the season and also donates her time to the non-profit Twin Cities Dance Company she created to provide a venue for dancers who want to perform but not compete.
El Ewert
Among the most fervent supporters of the school district, El is a community volunteer who contributes much of his time and energy to the district. A veteran of WWII, he has spent many hours speaking with young people about his time in the military and has participated in many activities for students. He was chair of the  Chemical Awareness Campaign Poster Contest, which was sponsored by the Forest Lake Lions Club. He also regularly attends school concerts, plays and sporting events, and he is often called upon to sing the national anthem at events.
Jeff Gauvin
Jeff, a 1977 graduate of Forest Lake High School, is an executive with Wells Fargo who, in addition to working in a challenging profession, has also devoted time and money to helping worthwhile organizations. Jeff earned both his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Minnesota and went on to establish himself in the field of financial services. Recently, Jeff donated $5,000 to The Education Foundation of the Forest Lake Area (TEFFLA) in memory of his younger brother, Scott - also a Forest Lake graduate - who passed away in 2010. Jeff’s donation was matched by his employer, so the total donation to TEFFLA was $10,000. The money will be used to for a variety of local educational purposes.
Virgil Grove
Known for his dedicated leadership as a teacher, counselor and sports coach, Virgil was instrumental in establishing much of the Guidance and Counseling Program currently in place at Forest Lake Area High School. He was known for always making sure that the best interests of students was always the first priority, and programs such as the Community Scholarship Fund and Career Resource Center were products of his hard work when it came to advocating for students.
Rich Hahn
From 1980 to 2009, the name Rich Hahn and “band” were more or less synonymous in Forest Lake. His 29 years at Forest Lake Area Schools continued the long legacy of popularity and success for the high school’s band program. Rich’s leadership brought a resurgence of the high school’s marching band and he created lasting memories for many of his students through his organizing of performing tours in Central Europe and Scandinavia for the Wind Ensemble. His bands were invited to perform at 15 professional football games, two Rose Bowl Parades, the 1984 Cotton Bowl, the World Series and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
Gene Hallberg
Gene was a 1953 graduate of Forest Lake High School and has gone on to become a very successful local businessman. As owner of Hallberg Marine, and as a long time supporter of the school district, Gene has contributed both his time and money to help Forest Lake students succeed. Among the most visible of these contributions was Gene’s donation of a Zamboni ice rink vehicle that is used at all hockey games at the city’s new ice arena.
Gwen Hansen
It is no overstatement to say that, as a teacher, Gwen is truly a legend at Forest Lake Area Schools. Highly regarded by her former students as well as her colleagues, Gwen taught science in the district from 1965 until 1997, starting her career at Forest Lake Junior High and then moving to Forest Lake High School where she was a biology and chemistry instructor. Known for being a demanding teacher, Gwen held high expectations for her students and was instrumental in the lives of so many students who went on to high levels of success in the professional world. A founding member of the Instructional Improvement Council and later the Educational Growth and Development Council, Gwen was also a tireless advocate for students who needed a more non-traditional approach, and she created the first GED program in Forest Lake in 1968.
Mark Hansen
Mark is no longer with us, and the fact that his death came as he was volunteering with the Meals on Wheels program speaks volumes about his dedication to others. As committed as his wife, Gwen, was to science curriculum, Mark was as much of an advocate for the arts. Not only was he was greatly responsible for art being taught at the junior high school level in Forest Lake, but the current K-12 art curriculum is largely due to his work as a curriculum coordinator. His work also extended far beyond his school, as his election as president of both the Art Educators of Minnesota and National Art Education Association would demonstrate. He was also a member of the Minnesota Alliance for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Douglas Harper
This graduate of Forest Lake High School has established himself as a pioneer in the field of Visual Sociology. He earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and political science from Macalester College and his Ph.D. in sociology from Brandeis University in Boston. Now an acclaimed scholar, lecturer and author of four books, Doug has held full-time and visiting appointments in the sociology departments of schools such as Cornell University, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Bologna, Italy. He currently serves as a sociology professor on the staff of Duquesne University, and he is involved in a study of drug addiction and rehabilitation in depressed areas of suburban Pittsburgh.
Pete Hegseth
Pete was an outstanding student, athlete and leader. He graduated top of his class from Forest Lake High School in 1999 and was an all-state basketball player. He went on to attend Princeton University where he lettered in basketball and played in both the NCAA and NIT basketball tournaments. But possibly most notable was his military service, which included serving with the New Jersey Army National Guard in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and on active duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He also has worked as Executive Director for a national veterans’ organization and has made several appearances on national television as an advocate for veterans’ issues.
Marion Howell-Davidson
Marion is the oldest living alumnus of our school district, having been born on Feb. 2, 1902 – that means she is 109 years-young. To put things in perspective, Marion was 10 years old when George Simmons became the first Forest Lake graduate in 1912. Marion was the salutatorian for the Forest Lake class of 1919.  She now lives in New Richmond, Wis., and is recognized as one of the oldest living persons in the country.
Karla Hult
Karla is known throughout the Twin Cities as a top reporter for KARE-11 news. This Forest Lake graduate was co-captain of the Rangers tennis and track teams, participated in speech and band and was a member of the high school’s student council every year she attended. Following high school graduation she enrolled at St. Olaf College, where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and English. She later earned her master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and worked as a newspaper journalist for several years before moving to the broadcast realm. After short stints at TV stations in Mankato and Austin, and at a station in Toledo, Ohio, she joined WCCO-TV as a reporter and, in 2007, moved to KARE-11. Karla, who graduated with the Forest Lake class of 1991, also gave the commencement address at 2011 Forest Lake Area High School graduation.
Bruce Johnson
Bruce is a 1964 graduate of Forest Lake High School.  In 1967 he volunteered for active duty in the U.S. Army and served during the height of the Vietnam War in both the armored cavalry and infantry divisions. In 1968 he was wounded in action and returned home shortly after. In 1976 Bruce moved back to Forest Lake and became owner of the local State Farm Insurance branch. As one of the top agents in Minnesota, Bruce achieved great professional success, but through his success he never stopped supporting his community, and over the years the Johnsons have donated thousands of dollars to worthy local causes including an annual scholarship offered to a graduating Forest Lake senior.
Donley Johnson
Most of Donley’s 31 years at Forest Lake Area Schools were in the position of Director of Personnel and Administration. During his career, he helped create the district’s excellent mentorship program and worked diligently to help expand professional development opportunities for all district employees. Since his retirement in 2005, Donley has served the community through volunteer work with The Education Foundation of the Forest Lake Area (TEFFLA) and serving on the school board of Lakes International Language Academy (LILA).
Marlene Johnson Smith
Like many women of her era, Marlene’s goal, following her graduation from Forest Lake High School in 1953, was to be the best housewife and mother possible while her husband, Willard, ran the family business. But when Willard died, Plastic Products Company ran into financial trouble and Marlene was faced with the possibility of losing the company. Rather than selling, Marlene dug in her heels and helped turn the company around, making it into the thriving business it is today. In the meantime, she was able to donate money to help support worthy local organizations such as Family Pathways, the Rotary Clubs, the Good Samaritan Society, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, and many, many others.
Rollin Johnson
A member of Forest Lake’s second graduating class in 1913, Rollin was a standout basketball of his time and was the first Forest Lake player to score 20 points in a game. Following high school, he attended college and then law school before opening up a law practice and then, in later years, becoming a Minnesota State Representative and the Minnesota State Railroad and Warehouse Commissioner. He was also a candidate for Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Laurie Kumerow
Though Laurie has been a member of the community for a relatively short period of time, her volunteer work has had a lasting impact. Seeing a need for a new ice arena, she became involved with the Forest Lake Athletic Association (FLAA) and was a powerful force in the effort to finally build the new center. Her most active contributions on behalf of the school district have been her dedicated efforts in leading local pro-education organizations that advocated for local educational levies.
Regina Laroche Theune
Regina excelled at both speech and theater, earning back-to-back state speech titles, won in 1979 and 1980. Her poise, charm and eloquence served her well in the 1980 Minnesota Junior Miss competition, and her first place win earned her the right to compete at the America Junior Miss Pageant that same year. This success, it should be noted, came as she faced the many challenges associated with being one of the first African American students to graduate from Forest Lake High School.
Elsie LeHecka Vogel
As a business owner, community leader, volunteer, historian and author, Elsie wore many hats. In 1993, as part of Forest Lake’s Centennial Celebration, she wrote the book, “Reflections of Forest Lake,” which stands today as the definitive history of the city. Elsie, who graduated from Forest Lake High in 1932, was well-known in the community as the owner of Skateland, but she was also a charter member of the local VFW and volunteered her time as an election judge and member of the Forest Lake Library Board. In honor of her years of service to the community, Elsie was named Forest Lake Woman of the Year in 1984, and in 1994 the local Lion’s Club named her Citizen of the Year.
Earl Lellman
Earl’s name and work is woven throughout Forest Lake’s history. As a high school student, Earl was a founder of the Forest Breeze student newspaper, served as editor of the very first school yearbook in 1930 and he wrote the words to the school song that is still being used today. In his adult life, after returning from active military service in World War II, Earl pursued his love of journalism by becoming a reporter at the Forest Lake Times. Through the 1940s and 50s, Earl went from reporter to editor and finally to publisher and co-owner of the paper until his retirement in the late 1960s. His wonderful writing kept his readers informed and entertained, and his work recorded the full history of the community he loved. Earl, at age 98, remains a local icon.
Inga Lennes
Dr. Lennes is the classic example of a Forest Lake student whose broad base of interest and success in academics, activities and athletics led to greater things in her adult life. A 1992 graduate of Forest Lake High School, Inga was an outstanding student, a state champion in speech, and a four-year letter winner in
swimming and captain of her team before moving on to college and her eventual career in medicine. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College and earning her M.D. from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Inga established herself as a leader in the medical field, earning award after prominent award and rising among the ranks of esteemed Boston medical professionals. She now works as Director of Clinical Quality for the Cancer Center of Massachusetts General Hospital and is also an instructor at the Harvard University Medical School. She also has devoted many hours to volunteer work.
Jim Lichtscheidl
Jim has become one of the Twin Cities’ most popular actors, having starred in many productions at the Guthrie and Park Square Theaters. He is well known for his annual solo production of “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol”.  Jim has appeared in several motion pictures, with possibly his biggest acting break coming in 2009 when he was cast in the movie “A Serious Man.” Written, produced and directed by Hollywood icons Joel and Ethan Cohen, the film was nominated for two Academy Awards.
Jim Lindstrom
If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, then the fact that many of Jim’s former students followed in his footsteps into the music field should be testament to his inspirational teaching style. But it wasn’t just the students who benefitted from Jim’s leadership. Along with directing the award-winning Forest Lake High School Choirs for 40 years, he has spent the past 30 years directing the choir at Faith Lutheran Church and sharing his musical talents at many community events. When he wasn’t leading singers, Jim was leading his peers as President of the Forest Lake Education Association, a position he held for many years.
Wendy Linz
Wendy’s formal education started in Goose Lake Elementary School – a small, two-room schoolhouse located in Scandia. Over the years, Wendy – a 1975 graduate of Forest Lake High School – slowly worked her way through her post-secondary education as she raised a family with her husband Bruce. The couple faced many challenges as Wendy attended college while Bruce, a U.S. Marine, was stationed overseas through the late 1980s and early 1990s. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1991 and taught for nearly 20 years before finishing her education doctorate degree last year. Today, she is an adjunct professor at the graduate school of the University of Memphis.
Dean Maki
This 1983 Forest Lake High School graduate once said his first major challenge in life was becoming the starting goalie on the Rangers varsity hockey team. In the following years, Dean’s hard work produced success after success, both academically and professionally. Dean graduated from St. Olaf College in 1987 with a degree in economics, and later earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University. He eventually went on to work for the Federal Reserve Board under Alan Greenspan and, after a few years at the Fed, moved to the private sector to become a Wall Street economist. In 2009, Bloomberg News named Dean – who had been hired by Barclays Capital to serve as the company’s Chief U.S. Economist – as the nation’s top economic forecaster.
Fred Marfell
As an English teacher at Southwest Junior High, Fred was known for his unique style and his innate ability to inspire students through his love of writing and literature. He always took an active interest in his 7th and 8th grade students and encouraged them to express their creativity in their writing. As one former student wrote, “he was the teacher who taught me how to write, and taught me what it meant to love writing. He was a rare person because he took so much time to share his passion for learning and writing with his students.”
Fran Miron
Through good times and bad, the city of Hugo has benefited from Fran’s outstanding character, work ethic and tremendous leadership. He graduated in 1972 and, like many of the Mirons who have attended Forest Lake High School, Fran was deeply involved in studying agriculture and in the local FFA organization. He went on to earn an Agriculture Education degree from University of Minnesota and soon returned to run his family’s dairy and crop farm – a farm that had been in his family for more than 120 years. His active involvement in his community led to his election as mayor of Hugo, and as mayor, Fran will long be remembered for his steadfast leadership during the devastating 2008 tornado that hit the city. His ability to bring his community together during this tragedy will long be remembered.
Stan Motschenbacher
Like his contemporary Virgil Grove, Stan was a passionate educator and recognized leader in the counseling department at Forest Lake High School who touched the lives of students and staff alike. In addition to helping build the school’s guidance office, Stan was also very active in his professional organizations, such as the Suburban Counselors’ Association and the Minnesota School Counselors’ Association. Stan has been active in numerous church endeavors over the years, and has frequently shared his singing talents within the community.
Rollin Nelson
Known at Forest Lake High School as both an amazing classroom teacher and a talented musician, Rollin was also considered among the best band directors in Minnesota and few can match his legacy of success. From 1948 to 1980, Rollin’s concert bands were frequently among the best in the entire Midwest, winning dozens of top ratings in state music competitions. His marching bands in 1966 and 1967 were ranked among the top five in the entire nation, and he also taught scores of individual musicians who also earned top ratings in solos and ensembles. After his retirement, Rollin continued to contribute to the Forest Lake community by leading the Forest Lake City Marching Band to state, regional and national championship titles.
Jim Noll
As teacher, soldier and war hero, Col. Jim Noll has served his country in many ways. Prior to his recent retirement, Jim was a shop teacher at Southwest Junior High School. But both before and during his time as a teacher, Jim served many tours of duty in the U.S. Army. He fought in Vietnam in 1968 as a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne division and was wounded twice during the 3 ½ month battle for Firebase Ripcord. During that battle he earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. In 1971 he returned to teaching and joined the Army Reserve at Ft. Snelling. In 1991 Jim, then a Lt. Colonel, returned to active duty and was named commander of the 13th Psyops Battalion. He was the highest ranking Minnesotan to serve in Operation Desert Storm.
Joan Paulson
Joan will long be remembered as a pioneering force for the advancement of girls’ athletics in Forest Lake. A gifted teacher and coach, Joan’s incredible perseverance paved the way for varsity athletics for girls, as she single-handedly started many of the Ranger girls’ teams that continue to be successful today. She coached volleyball in the fall and girls’ basketball in the winter season, producing very competitive teams in both sports. But the achievements of her softball teams were probably her greatest claim to fame. Joan led her softball teams to appearances at state in 1991 and 1995, and in 1997 her team placed second at the state tournament.
Johann Peikert
In 2009, this Forest Lake graduate was named the top physician in the entire Mayo Clinic system for patient satisfaction, scoring an amazing 99%. Dr. Peikert, during his high school years, was active in sports and band. Following his graduation in 1982, he went to Gustavus Adolphus College and then to the University of Minnesota Medical School where received the school’s scholastic achievement award. In addition to being a highly successful doctor, Johann regularly participates in medical missions to foreign countries, traveling with his son to Guatemala in 2009, and with another son, to Mexico in 2011.
Stan Petersen
A stellar athlete and student leader, Stan set the standard for the modern student-athlete. Blessed with great talent, Stan lettered in football, basketball and baseball during his years at Forest Lake High, as well as leading his classmates as senior class president in 1946 and president of the student council. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Pacific before eventually returning home to attend college at Macalester and St. Cloud State. Stan enjoyed a long and illustrious career as a teacher and baseball and football coach before becoming the school district’s first full-time Community Education Director. His legacy includes personally founding the local Little League summer program and designing many of the area baseball fields that are still in use today.
Lysle Peterson
His ambition to become a doctor would lead Lysle, a 1938 Forest Lake graduate, to college and then medical school. But he far surpassed many of his peers when, in 1949, he would publish the world’s first successful method for accurate and continuous recording of arterial blood pressure. Dr. Peterson went on to an esteemed career as a doctor, then a professor of physiology at the Bockus Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, where in 1969 he received a $2 million grant from the National Heart Institute to develop a computer simulation of the human circulatory system. This development would eventually help pave the way for the invention of the artificial heart years later. Dr. Peterson was regarded as a worldwide authority on the subject of blood pressure and the human cardiovascular system until his death on Nov. 11, 1994, in Houston, Tex.
Randolph Peterson
A mere 10 years after graduating from Forest Lake High, and subsequently college and law school, a still-young Randolph Peterson was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives. He served in the legislature from 1981 to 1990 before being appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, where he still serves. He has been re-elected to his position four times – in 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010. In addition to his professional work in public service, Judge Peterson has also been a major contributor to the Forest Lake Community Scholarship Foundation, and he was a driving force in the creation of the Maynard Peterson Memorial Park in Anoka County, which stands as a tribute to his late brother.
Dan Poepard
Dan’s career started as a social studies teacher in 1970. From there, he became a high school counselor and in 1985 became the district’s Director of Community Education. Under his leadership, the Community Education program grew and prospered, becoming one of the top programs in the state. As a baseball coach in 1994, Dan coached the local American Legion team to its first and only Third District championship and was widely regarded as one of the best of Forest Lake’s many excellent baseball coaches. In 2005, he received the On Behalf of Youth Award from the Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau.
Britta Ramseth Reierson
Britta currently works as a family physician for Park Nicollet Clinic in Golden Valley. Britta’s high school years included activities such as playing on the girls’ tennis team and participating in speech, theater and band. In 1991 she was co-valedictorian of her graduating class and also was honored by the Minnesota State High School League as a AAA award winner for distinguished achievement in athletics, academics and the arts. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College and earned her medical degree from the University of Minnesota. In addition to working and raising a family with her husband, Britta volunteers at a mentorship program for medical students at the University of Minnesota and every Wednesday helps out at Delano Elementary School.
Doug Ramseth
Though not a former Forest Lake student or staff members, Doug somehow adopted Forest Lake Elementary as his own. This dedicated community member had an interest in promoting literacy and graciously agreed to volunteer at the school one day a week. One day became two, two days became three, and within a few years he was helping out at the school five days per week. Known for his upbeat and positive demeanor, Doug has also worked with the school’s mentor program, helping staff members and students succeed.
Neil “Bud” Robinson
Bud was a beloved school bus driver and volunteer who will always be remembered not only for his years of public service and dedication to the community, but also for his uncanny resemblance to Kentucky Fried Chicken icon Colonel Sanders. “The Colonel,” as he became known, had worked a full 30-year career with the U.S. Postal Service and many years as a volunteer firefighter and EMT even before beginning his work as a bus driver for the school district. In total, Bud put in 31 years as a volunteer firefighter and 33 years as a school bus driver, all while committing many hours of public service to hours mentoring young people through organizations like the local Boy Scouts. Bud died in 2008, but his memory will live on forever in Forest Lake.
Tim Robinson
Tim Robinson, a 1961 graduate of Forest Lake High School, currently serves as professor of Psychology at Gustavus Adolphus College, and has been a leading researcher in his field.  He was a 1965 graduate of Gustavus and has served on the school’s faculty since 1969. From 1999 until 2008, Professor Robinson served as Director of the Nobel Conference, the first annual conference in the U.S. to be officially sanctioned by the Nobel Foundation of Stockholm, Sweden. He also wrote the definitive book on the history of the conference.
Lee Sandager
Forest Lake’s legacy as a state leader in agriculture education is due in large part to Lee’s tremendous dedication and leadership. From 1950 to 1980, he established one of the most successful agriculture and FFA programs in the state. Among his great contributions was continually modernizing the agriculture curriculum and pushing the district to build state-of-the-art facilities including an ag shop, a greenhouse, and outdoor environmental learning center, an arboretum and school-owned land for soil management and crop production. Lee was named Minnesota Agriculture Teacher of the Year in 1976 and was one of the first members inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame.
Dave Schwartz
Dave never really saw a need to leave the community he loved, so right after his graduation from Forest Lake High School in 1966 he immediately set upon becoming a police officer in his home town. His hard work and talents paid off in the law enforcement world. In 1979 – a mere 10 years after starting his career – he was named the city’s Director of Public Safety, a position he held for 24 years. When he wasn’t preventing crime, he was volunteering with local organizations such as the Youth Service Bureau and finding ways of providing scholarships to young people.
Christopher Sieber
Chris excelled in drama and music during his years at Forest Lake High, so few were surprised when his move to New York eventually landed him starring roles on Broadway. Two Tony Award Nominations later – one for his performance as Sir Galahad in the Broadway production of “Spamalot”, and the other for playing Lord Farquaad in “Shrek, the Musical,” – Chris’ resume includes appearances in a number of movies and TV programs, including a starring role on the 1998 ABC television series “Two of a Kind.”  Chris has also returned to visit his alma matter several times to talk with Forest Lake students.
George Albert Simmons
George was our very first graduate in 1912. He was the grandson of one of the first settlers of this area, also named George Simmons. Following his graduation, the younger George Simmons became a successful local businessman, working in the family’s store, which was located at the present-day site of Rolseth Drug in downtown Forest Lake.
Mark Struble
Mark is one of the many community leaders Forest Lake Area Schools has produced. The former business owner and mayor of Wyoming also served on the district school board. A 1948 graduate, Mark was a trombonist, homecoming king and football linebacker all rolled into one. He joined the U.S. Navy following graduation and served for four years before attending and graduating from the University of Minnesota.
Wayne Thompson
Dr. Thompson’s diverse interests and hard work were evident in his success in so many areas during his high school years in the 1940. A gifted athlete, he lettered in basketball, baseball and track. He not only took first place in the region in the 880-yard event in 1948, but followed up the next year with a second place finish and also first place in the 100-yard dash. But athletics was not his only skill, and he also excelled in speech and participated in several school plays. Following high school he earned both his bachelor’s degree and medical degree from the University of Minnesota. Not only did he go on to become a very successful orthopedic surgeon, but he was known for his tremendous heart and often would randomly make visits to comfort patients in Forest Lake. He also aided Forest Lake sports teams by volunteering his time in tending to injured players.
Jim Trudeau
A presence in the Forest Lake area his entire life, Jim Trudeau established himself over the years as a true community leader in two areas closest to his heart – law enforcement and bettering of the lives of young people. Elected to three terms as Washington County Sheriff, after serving several years as Forest Lake Police Chief, Jim’s popularity reflected the respect and admiration held for him by the public he served. But his greatest gift to the young people of our community may have been his role as founder of the Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau, an organization that continues to play a critical role in our community in helping at-risk children and their families.
Laurel Walker
As a parent, Laurel was actively involved in her children’s education, and many hours of her time were spent volunteering and helping support the activities of the schools they attended. But even after her children graduated, Laurel was committed to the school system. She clearly recognized the need for a strong community organization to support the schools, and it was largely through her efforts that The Education Foundation of the Forest Lake Area (TEFFLA) was created. As Executive Director of this non-profit organization, Laurel helps raise money through private donations that are used to benefit students throughout the community.
Joan Wennberg
This Wyoming Elementary 5th grade teacher was known as an excellent teacher and was highly regarded by her peers as a great mentor. Always willing to help, Joan not only helped her fellow teachers excel at their art but she served as a great morale builder at her school, frequently inviting people from school – teachers, custodians, cooks, administrative assists alike – to her house for meals and conversation. Joan’s dedication to literacy has been cemented in Forest Lake history through the district reading program that still bears her name.