Swedish Heritage

Darrell grew up by Cannon Falls, MN on a farm with his parents and three brothers. The farm had pigs, cattle, crops. His home church was Spring Garden Lutheran Church in rural Cannon Falls, a congregation with a deep Swedish culture (Darrell’s heritage is 100% Swedish). Darrell still tries to visit the church when he can.

His biggest blessing from God has been his wife, his family, his belief, and the good life he has had.

Darrell attended Gustavus Adolphus in St Peter, where he met a girl from Buffalo, named Karleen. After college he served in the army for two years, and then worked as an accountant for Nash Finch, near Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

Karleen grew up on a farm west of Buffalo. She attended country school, just as Darrell had done, near her home. She went to church at Carlslund, the church that her great-grandfather had helped start in 1866.

Darrell and Karleen were married in 1958 at the church which had changed its name from Carlslund to Zion. They made a home in Karleen’s former schoolhouse, and had four children in four years, Ramona, Conrad, Daniel and Nathan. Darrell left Nash Finch, went to the Buffalo Coop Creamery, and eventually managed Centra Sota in Buffalo. The family enjoyed camping for two weeks each summer, with all the kids in tents, then in later years in a camper, and eventually traveled to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland, and other European countries. Over time, the Anderson family grew to include six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Darrell has served at Zion in many capacities over the years; as Sunday school teacher and superintendent, church council member, and Stephen Minister. In the late 1960s he was part of a group that were trained to teach the Bethel Bible series at Zion. Other leaders included his wife, Karleen, John and Joyce Edwards, and Ruth Cornell.

After retiring, Darrell enjoyed odd jobs, including building on to his country school house. He collects ‘old things’ and has a house and barn full of items that Darrell and Karleen collected together over the years. Darrell himself collected Lipton tea pots, cast iron fry pans, and country school memorabilia.

Darrell has continued to volunteer at Zion in many ways since retirement. Most visibly, he had been head usher at the early worship service for thirteen years until this past spring. He also helps prepare the newsletter mailing each month, takes people to the doctor, is involved with the White Elephant room at Harvest of Hands, works in the kitchen, and has served on various committees. The most memorable was the building committee for the ‘new’ church which was built in 1989.

There were people opposed to that and people happy about that and some in the middle so it all had to be worked out. As Kenneth Johnson said at that time “The building is not the church, the people are the church.”

Darrell’s longest running volunteer involvement is with the annual Lutefisk Dinner, which he has been involved with for 25 years. He has made meatballs every year, peeled rutabagas, sold tickets, and now serves as host.

Darrell is interested in the history of the church. He was involved with events for the 100-year and 125-year anniversaries, and hopes to be involved in the 150-year anniversary of Zion in 2016. One highlight of the 100-year anniversary in 1966 was a pageant, with the first act was in Swedish. The pageant was put on again in 1991, but entirely in English.

Karleen died of cancer 16 years ago, and granddaughter Ashley passed away last year.

Darrell is looking forward to his upcoming 64th class reunion, and says that of his graduating class of 42, 24 are still living and try to attend reunions.


Thanks to Lynn Ogden for help with this story.