- Published on Saturday, 05 May 2012 14:04
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
(June and Stan's Wedding Picture - August 1952)
This story begins with: “Special Orders Number 98, Headquarters, Counter Intelligence Corps Center, Baltimore 19, Maryland 10 May 1951 - …Stanton O. Berg RA 16284530, Hq Co. 8579th AAU is granted fifteen (15) days ordinary lv eff o/a 20 May 51.”
Stan left Baltimore by Rail on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on Sunday May 20th, 1951 arriving in Chicago early the next orning. From Chicago, Stan took a connecting train to Rice Lake, WI on the old Chicago and Northwestern Lines arriving there on Monday evening the 21st. (Railroads were the normal transportation in those years.). Stan’s parents met the Train in Rice Lake that evening and provided the final transportation to their home in Barron.
On Tuesday morning May 22nd, 1951 Stan’s father Tom insisted on taking Stan with him to his favorite morning coffee place in Barron called Gullickson’s Café on 3rd Avenue. It was at this small restaurant that Stan was introduced to the “Special Lady” that Stan’s father Tom wanted him to meet. June K. Rolstad was that “Special Lady” who was then working as a waitress in this small restaurant.
(Photo low right - June - Stan swinging - "Old Apple Tree" - Rolstad Farm- Poskin - Memorial Day 1951)
What would make this a “Divine Appointment” rather than a simple “Boy Meets Girl” introduction? It is thought that “Divine Appointments” result from God intervening in our lives by way of the “Holy Spirit” that is at work in all of us. It is usually manifested by an unplanned meeting or encounter. Stan originally had his own plans for his leave time at home in Barron. In fact he already had plans for later that evening when he was to meet a young lady telephone operator after she completed her work shift at 9 PM..Stan accompanied his father Tom to the little Café on the Barron side street simply because he did not want to hurt his father’s feelings. However, after meeting June, Stan’s plans for the remainder of his leave were adjusted to permit him to spend the remainder of his leave time with June. Immediately after his Father's introduction to June, Stan made same day plans with June for an early evening "get acquainted" coffee meeting. This coffee "get acquainted" meeting was timed just hours before his previously arranged date for the day. A very busy day!**
** Note: No, Stan did not suddenly leave his telephone operator lady friend high and dry. It turned out that she had already decided to "tie a can to Stan's tail" as her local Barron boy friend from high school days had convinced her that he would be a better choice. He had already made definite plans for the future as an aircraft mechanic. On the other hand, Stan appeared to be a very questionable commodity as an Army service man nearing the end of his enlistment with no apparent plans for the future. Her Barron boy friend did go on to become an aircraft mechanic with NorthWest Airlines and they did later marry. They lived for a time in the Twin Cities until retirement and are now back in Barron. So it appears that all worked out well for everyone involved. June obviously saw something in Stan that this lady could not see.
Why would God who gives us a “free will” to conduct our lives, want to get involved in “Matchmaking” arrangements. In this case there appeared to be a lot of cutting and fitting and timing involved. June had just come out of a previous heart-breaking relationship. Perhaps God’s intelligence system told him of June’s future strong church activities of faith and charity would make June one of Satan’s prime targets for diseases and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. God would have known of Stan’s faltering faith that needed the support of a strong women like June…and God would have known that Stan would always stand by June through all of her eleven years of terminal illness…what ever the reason…June was Stan’s greatest blessing and one that forever changed his world. Stan likes to say, “June made my life an adventure!”
(Photo low right - June - Stan - Having a Kiss - Rolstad Farm - Poskin - Memorial Day 1951)
As indicated earlier, Stan and June did get together briefly the same evening (Tuesday) for coffee in order to get better acquainted. It was at this brief "Coffee" get together that they made plans for a more formal dinner date for the very next evening, Wednesday May 23rd at “The Spot”. “The Spot” was a charming little restaurant located in beautiful surroundings on the Lake shore of Lake Pokegama where the narrows lead into Lake Chetek. Their first date at “The Spot” involved a steak dinner followed by dancing to juke box music. This memorable 1st date evening ended by walking and talking along the shore of Lake Pokegama. **
** In the year following their marriage, June and Stan danced the 1952/1953 New Year in at "The Spot"...it was a great night of dining and dancing with some of June's brother's and sisters and their friends.
Following their first date, June and Stan spent time with each other every day of Stan's remaining leave time. Memorial Day the 30th was spent relaxing at June’s parent’s farm home in the country near Poskin.
June and Stan continued their relationship by correspondence after his return to Baltimore until Stan again returned home on Leave that fall on the 12th of November 1951. This November leave was for an additional 16 days and a second series of daily get-togethers. In November 1951, June was working as a waitress in Cameron, WI at “Huffy’s” Café. Cameron was a small town just a few miles east of Barron on US highway 8. June at that time was staying in a home with an elderly lady just across the street from Huffy’s. Stan would come into Huffy’s late in the day on June’s work days and wait for her to finish her schedule for the day.
It was in 1950 and 1951 that the hit Song "The Tennessee Waltz" was at the top of the charts. The singing sensation Patti Page was the performer that put it up there. June and I loved to Waltz ...this song became our song. A very big coincidence to my mind is that Patti Page was born on the exact same day in 1927 that June was born.
It was during the November leave on Tuesday the 13th that Stan proposed to June and she accepted.. The Ring that Stan gave to June on this occasion was a rather small diamond because that was all he could afford at the time. June of course acted like it was a magnificent ring. Stan’s income in the Army at Enlisted Grade 4 (E-4) was only $125.a month! In later years this small ring was replaced with a larger one. A third and final ring was purchased for June on their 35th anniversary. June wrote this note in her 35th anniversary card. to Stan: “I guess I won’t ever forget my 35th. I love the ring! “ The rest of the message read: "For the man who holds a special place in my world, in my life, and in my heart...With all my Love!..June (Doll) 8-16-87." The term or name "Doll" was one of my favorite pet names for June! Since June passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s, I have made this last ring into a necklace that I wear around my neck every day of the year in memory and honor of June. At that time I had a large man's diamond ring that I was wearing. I removed the ring and placed it on June's finger at the funeral and it remains with her now at Lakewood.
(Photo below right is the Christmas Gift Portrait from June to Stan in 1951)
June and Stan enjoyed the Thanksgiving Holidays together before Stan had to return to the Counter Intelligence Corps Center in Baltimore. Stan remained on duty in Baltimore over the 1951 Christmas Holidays. June sent Stan a special gift for Christmas that year. The gift was an 8x10 inch picture of June that she had specially made up for him at a photography studio in nearby Rice Lake. Those were the days when color portraites were not yet readily available. Color was most often added by hand in the photo studio. June had this special gift photo- picture hand colored. The back of the picture has the "notes" made by the photographer at the time to assist him in doing the hand coloring. The notes read: "Eyes blue, hair brown, dress blue." This picture is now one of Stan's treasured possessions.
On 2 May of 1952, Stan was discharged from the army after completing four years of service. June and Stan were married on Saturday August 16th of that Year at the Wesley Methodist Church in Bloomington, Illinois where Stan was completing training for a new job with State Farm Insurance Companies. June took a train to Bloomington, IL that .arrived on the Saturday Morning of their Wedding day. Stan had made arrangements for the City/County offices to be open just to accommodate them for the issuance of the marriage license and rush through the required Illinois blood tests. Everyone involved was extra kind and considerate. It was a different time and a different mentality. Stan had rented a room for them in a beautiful large old home owned by an elderly lady, Mrs. Veach. When this lady heard they were being married that weekend, she simply moved out of her home for the weekend to give them total privacy for a few days.
June and Stan’s future marriage home’s followed Stan’s job assignments. First it was Chisholm, MN and then Duluth, MN and finally in Fridley, MN.
June was born on a small dairy farm near Colfax, WI in 1927 and grew up during the “Great Depression” years. June was the oldest of the the 6 surviving children of Haldis and Henry Rolstad. (3 died shortly after childbirth including twin girls.) Children in the 1920's were commonly born at home and mortality rates were high. June was confirmed in the Colfax Lutheran Church. June developed a lifelong faith and a love for the Lutheran church. June later became a member of the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fridley, MN where she was a member for over 50 years.
June served on the Redeemer Lutheran Church Board, taught Sunday school and was a Girl Scout Leader. June visited the Lynwood Nursing Home each Wednesday evening and had dinner with the residents. June was a part of the Redeemer’s afternoon ministry to the Fridley Convalescent Nursing home. She took her turn assisting with serving noon meals at the Marie Sandvik Mission in downtown Minneapolis. June delivered “Meals and Wheels”. June was Chair-woman for the church's “Ruth” and “Rebecca” circles and frequently hosted meetings in her home. June also assisted in the church kitchen, was a Sunday “Greeter” and a part of the Bell Choir. June was paired in an evangelistic team calling on church members and others. This was a part of Redeemer’s sponsored “Evangelistic Explosion” program. June's evangelism team member Dean remembers June:
(Photo low right - June and Stan at Lake Geneva, 1977)
“I remember for June, presenting the gospel was a very natural thing for her to do. People felt comfortable and not threatened by her because she was so genuine and related effectively with them. Her love for the Lord shone through her as she conversed with the people...she had a special spirit about her and always smiling.”
June participated in the internationally acclaimed and sponsored Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) for six years. During the last two years she was in early stages of her Alzheimer's. Her last year of participation was very difficult for her as Alzheimer's was slowly asserting itself and attacking her brain. The weekly studies were becoming more than she could manage. I remember trying to assist her the last year and being impressed with the depth of the studies and wondering how she had come as far as she had with this terrible handicap.
In spite of her many personal church activities, June always made light of and ignored her own achievements. June’s personality never strayed far from that of the farm girl from Colfax, Wisconsin that I first met in 1951. June was totally without guile or pretense. I know of no other person in my lifetime that has or comes as close to the Bible definition of the virtue of humbleness...often described as the "greatest of all virtues and the least sought after!"
(Photo low right - June and Stan - 1990 - 38th Anniversary)
I always considered myself well organized but I will never know how June was able to keep up her many church activities and still be a great wife, daughter, mother and grandmother. She did it all with out short changing of any activity and managed to always look bright, sharp, smiling and beautiful. I remember one of her neighbor friends telling me how much she admired June, wanted to be like her and how June was always so well organized. Maybe God was showing June the way!
For many years June traveled with me in the US, Canada and Europe to attend forensic science conferences as a part of my forensic science career. I know that June while being perhaps a bit amused at my references to her as my Administrative Assistant, did at the same time appear pleased with this designation. In reality, what would I have been without her and the support she always gave me? London was a city we visited 8 times and it became June’s favorite city. June established a life long friendship with the Bruce family of nearby Bexley, Kent. June loved to dance and we danced the night away at such exotic places as the Rossia Hotel in Moscow in 1969. This was during the first ever Soviet-American Symposium in Forensic Science and at the height of the "Cold War." June had a handshake with Pope Paul VI during an audience at the Vatican in 1973. She was a part of official receptions by Her Majesties Govt. In Edinburgh in 1972, the President of Italy at Rome in 1973 and at the House of Lords in London in 1999. June spent a week at Oxford University in 1984, residing in the student housing at the historic Christ Church College.
(Photo low right - June and Stan 50th anniversary year and early years of Alzheimer's)
June’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis came in January 1998. June knew at a very early date, the blackness and the depth of the distant approaching Alzheimer’s storm clouds. She displayed a concern for me. I remember well that Sunday (Ca. 1999) when she brought home the “Care Notes” pamphlet from our church - “Handling Grief as a Man.” She said nothing; just left it out for me to find and to read. I remember the time that she detected one of my episodes of emotional sadness as I watched her illness progress. She tried to console me by saying “Don’t worry, I will be alright Stan!” I am sure at the time, we both really knew otherwise.
Thereafter, I slowly lost June, tear drop by tear drop during her long and exhausting journey into the shadows of Alzheimer’s that lasted almost 11 years.
For the first seven (7) plus years I took care of June at our home. The first 5 years of these years were relatively easy years that only required accommodation for her short term memory problems. We continued to travel extensively and did the many things we had put off in past years. In Years 6 and 7 the disease started closing in on us as we saw June’s personality changes and eventually hallucinations and behavioral changes. In year 8, June went into a nursing home. As the disease progressed she had seizures, lost ability to walk or talk, had difficulty swallowing, eating, and became incontinent. During the last year and a half, she rarely opened her eyes or even responded. Aspiration pneumonia a common Alzheimer’s complication ended her life.
June gave me a lifetime of unconditional love during our 56 year’s marriage and a life with only the regret that it is now over and that June has had to suffer the horrors of Alzheimer's.
I owe June and God an unending debt! Her passing was as if a most beautiful symphony that played during our life together, had now ceased to exist!
Before her Alzheimer's diagnosis our world and her character and personality were represented by a vast sea of bright and beautiful lights. After her Alzheimer's diagnosis, these bright lights all begin to slowly dim. As June slowly slipped deeper into the shadows of Alzheimer's, the lights gradually flickered out one by one. Eventually the time came during the last two years of her life, when the brightness that marked our world and June’s life was replaced by one of darkness.
In the last year, June rarely ever opened her eyes to a world that was then alien and strange to her. June had become so tired, exhausted and weary that in the last months of her life she lay like a wounded soldier on a battlefield.
God mercifully took June home on the 23rd of October 2008. June's passing leaves me with an emptiness that can never be filled!
I am reminded of the lines from the Poem of "Love" by John Frederick Nim:
"For should your hands drop white and empty - All the toys of the world would break."
While June is now gone from this world, her influence in my life is far from over. The wedding ring that June gave me 60 years ago has never been removed from the ring finger of my left hand in all those years except perhaps briefly to show it off or to clean and polish it. I am requesting that it not be removed when my final bell tolls and I go to join June at Lakewood. I visit her grave at Lakewood Cemetery every Wednesday with Roses in the warmer seasons and in winter I clear her marker of snow. Every Sunday morning at our Redeemer Lutheran Church, I offer my thanks to God for his hand in making June a part of my life. On the back of every attendance card is space for prayer requests...one category of requests is: "Thanksgiving for:". I mark and request a prayer of thanksgiving "For my wife June!" June is the focal point of a number of charitable activities conducted in her name and that also promote Alzheimer's awareness. In that regard, our joint checking account remains joint with both June and Stan's names on the account and on all the checks that are issued from the account.
The following poem or writing, describes June better than any description I have ever seen:
"June, In the Footsteps of an Angel"
“June, you did not wish for riches nor the glow of greatness,
but wherever you would go,
some weary heart would be gladdened at your smile,
or a shadowed life would know sunshine for a while.
And so your path is like a track of light,
as an angels’ footsteps passing through the night.”
Note: The idea for this poem about June came from some early day archaic English writings on an old Norman Church wall in the Hamlet of Upwaltham, Chichester, West Sussex on England’s South East Coast. The moment I read the words, I thought, here was an excellent description of June. Her humbleness, her kindness to the sick and elderly and her signature smile. I simply added the title, and rewrote the original wording into a poem about June using updated English and revising as I thought appropriate. - 2011)
June's passing left as survivors, four (4) children, (David, Daniel, Susan and Julie), 10 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. (David later passed on in October 2012 as a victim of cancer.) The last seven great grandchildren including two sets of twins were never able to meet their very special Grandma! Small children always had a special place in June's heart. The 10th great grandchild, a little girl born on the 1st of August 2012, was named "June" in honor of her great grandmother "June".
Stan’s Introductory Comments: By publishing these “Reader’s Comments,” it is not my intention to in any way suggest that the marriage relationship and the love that June and I had/have for each other and experienced during our lifetime together is in any way superior to similar relationships of other’s. It is merely a collection of the reactions of readers to this page in June’s website. Some are simple appreciative comments; some are generous and kind comments reflecting the care and concern of others. Some comments are a sharing of the reader’s own experiences. Many reflect the love of God. These comments often reflect the human and the caring side of the readers. It is my hope that if June is able to look in on us, that she can see and understand how much I appreciate the love and the life that she gave to me and that I miss her very much…there will never be another to take her place! If anyone is searching for evidence of a caring and loving God, need they look further then these comments?
Neale Lundgren: (Atlanta, GA - 7 May 2012) - "Thank you Stan, for sharing this wonderful story of June (your angel) and yourself. I am happy and sad at the reading of it, happy that June's mental suffering has ended; sad, that you are separated from one another in the body; then happy once more that both of you are connected still in spirit and continuing your love, yes? All my best wishes to you, Stan (and as well, to June, your beloved)"
Nancy Carrillo: (New Bedord, MA - 6 May 2012) - "That symphony goes on unending in your heart Stan, that was a great story on how you met... almost reminds me of the notebook movie, wonderful."
Debra Brown Leen: (Bangor,Maine – 23 May 2012) - “Your story is wonderful! I love to read about you and June and your amazing love story!!!! it is truly inspirational!!! Happy 61st anniversary of your first date!! June's spirit is right there with you......feeling the love...”
Ursula Zarecki Sypniewski: (Toms River, New Jersey - 23 May 2012) - “Stan, you and June were destined to meet and be together forever! She is waiting for you in a special place! But she is patient and knows that you are needed here with us! Today when you reminisce about her, reflect on all the happy times!”
Gilda Yen Torino: (Manila, Philippines - 23 May 2012) - “Such a very beautiful love…”
John Stevens: (Twin Falls,Idaho - 23 May 2012) - “Beautifully written and I am pleased you let us share June with you. Thank you Stan.”.
Dianne Cogar: (Springfield,Ohio - 23 May 2012) - “Beautiful memories Stan, your heart stays full and focused.”
Anabela Loureiro: (Toronoto, Ontario - 23 May 2012) - “You brought tears to my eyes and a love song into my heart. You are a…man Stan God Bless.”
Debra Apuli: (Hopkins, Minnesota - 23 May 2012) - “You are so blessed to have had this beautiful relationship!”
Sandy-alzheimers-support: (23 May 2012) - “Love hearing about June, Stan.”
Patricia Higgins - Glasgow, United Kingdom - (20 February 2013): "BEAUTIFUL LOVE STORY STANTON."
Amy Stiel Almas - Waterford, Michigan - (18 May 2013): "Love this!"
Marion Reinartz - Cologne, Germany - (19 May 2013): "What a date! I got married at 23th of may ... sweet memories Stanton ... Keep well and look after yourself! "
Buddy Bear - Dublin, Ireland - (19 May 2013): "Beautiful Stanton what a handsome couple you are, June with her beautiful smile her eyes dance as she smiles."
Stephanie Grier Bunker - Prescott, Arizona - (19 May 2013): "I love reading your stories."
June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website on the drop down menu under the "In Memoriam" label - or Click on: