Teacher recalls pupil from 70 years ago [UPDATED]Published 10:01am Thursday, March 8, 2012 Updated 11:54am Thursday, March 8, 2012
Fergus Falls resident David Anderson is a 1941 graduate of Elbow Lake High School who took bookkeeping from teacher Ruth Lange. Anderson, 89, and Lange, 98, can talk about those days since they both reside at the Sheridan House (senior living) in southeast Fergus Falls.
“David was a good student” said Lange. “I taught David the fall of his senior year in high school.”
Lange talked about those days in Elbow Lake, over seven decades ago, while enjoying coffee with Anderson and their friends, Harland and Mabel Helland. Each of them is thankful for the good health they enjoy, both physically and mentally.
“Ruth was an excellent teacher,” said Anderson. “It’s amazing how much we remember from those days. Back then Elbow Lake had a good school system. That’s still the case today.”
Elbow Lake is now part of West Central Area Schools. The high school is located in Barrett and grade schools are located in Kensington (WCA Elementary South) and in Elbow Lake (WCA Elementary North).
Both Anderson and Lange grew up in the Elbow Lake area. Anderson’s father, Victor, was a plasterer. Lange’s father, William (W.H.) Goetzinger, was a judge.
Lange went on to college and graduated with a teaching degree from Macalester College in St. Paul. She later obtained a library science degree at the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks. Lange taught bookkeeping and typing at Elbow Lake High School from 1937 to 1940.
It was while teaching in Elbow Lake when she met her future husband, Herbert Lange, a fellow teacher. The couple later moved to Faribault where Herbert taught school at the Shattuck Military Academy. Ruth worked in the library at the school.
During the summer months they spent time at their home at Ten Mile Lake, near Dalton. They retired there and later moved into the Sheridan House. Herbert died in 2007.
Anderson’s daughter, Diane Munckton, is a former employee of Sheridan House who made the connection for her father and his former teacher. Sheridan House is part of the Lutheran Brethren Homes campus that also includes Broen Home and Alcott Manor in Fergus Falls.
Anderson played basketball at Elbow Lake High School. He was one of three children and later worked for Otter Tail Power Company in construction and repair. He retired in 1985.
His wife, Ardis, is a native of Onalaska, Wis., near LaCrosse, and was the 13th of 16 children.
David and Ardis attend Fergus Falls Otter home varsity hockey games. Their grandson, Korey, is a senior and played on this year’s Otter boys hockey team.
“David, Ardis and Ruth are special people,” said Mabel Helland. “We’re so fortunate to have them as neighbors here at the Sheridan House.”