In due time I became the mother of Nancy Joyce (Geiken), Larry Paul, Richard Ray and Kathleen Ann (Doughty). They were born in the Fairmont, MN hospital. My grandchildren are Brian and Karen Geiken, Shane and Joshua, sons of Richard Geiselhart, and Leif and Alan Stockdale, sons of Kathleen.

Special events in my lifetime have been the Great Depression and bank crash recovery, World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars and Gulf Crisis. In my early childhood we lacked electricity, telephone, running water and furnace. The Rural Electrification Association came to Winnebago and Winneshiek counties at the same time. The man on the moon became a reality. My parents were thrify and saved so many old fashioned things and ideas. This made my life seem inclusive of a wider span of years.

Changes in my life were TV, VCR, phone answering machine, digital alarm clock, microwave oven, automatic washer and dryer, cameras, and computer and laser printer. I’ve switched from Christmas tree candle holders that were burned for a maximum of 30 minutes to cool white lights with automatic timer set for hours of illumination.

Beginning as a 4-year-old first grader I’ve advanced to a Masters in Education and traveled throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Advances in medicine have taken me from Dr. A. J. Russ and Grandpa Mills’ advice to surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

My riches are having a wide variety of experiences. My goal is to record these experiences in an interesting style. My parents’ life struggles were different than mine. Theirs was more physical hardship and perhaps less mental. Life moved more slowly then. Times have made us think more globally. My Norwegian Grandma Knutson voiced her opinion “I like Charlie's Altha but she isn’t Norwegian.” My Dad played the harmonica and organ by ear and Mom played it the “right way.” Change is a certainty in life.

Gilbertson, Elmer and Esther (Erickson)

(Esther Gilbertson)

Bio Photo

Elmer A. Gilbertson and Esther V. Erickson, daughter of Carl and Alma Erickson, were married 30 Dec 1938. They met at an ice cream social in Burr Oak, IA. Esther and Elmer had 4 sons: Davis Carlyle; Wayne Dennis; Leslie Neal; and a stillborn son born 25 Apr 1955.

Bio Photo

Elmer and Esther Gilbertson

We lived on a farm on the State Line road in Burr Oak Twp. 17 years. Then we moved to Madison, SD where Elmer worked at a wholesale greenhouse. I attended the teacher's college there and graduated from Dakota State College in 1958. Davis graduated from Madison High School on the same day. We then moved to Austin, MN where I got a teaching job with Austin Public Schools. We have been in Austin ever since although I retired from teaching in 1979. After moving to Austin Elmer worked on a carpenter crew out of Canton, MN - (Merlin and Sabert Halverson crew). We are still landowners in Winneshiek Co.

Our boys were all born in Winneshiek Co. Davis was born at home with Dr. Lennon of Mabel in attendance. Mrs. Glen Rollins helped after he was born. Wayne was also born at home on a -20 degree night in Jan. Elmer had to pick up Dr. Lennon at Prosper with the team and sled. Mrs. Soiney helped after the birth. Leslie was born in the Decorah, IA hospital as was the baby boy who was stillborn.

Our first years on the farm were difficult. We were just coming out of the Depression and money was scarce. Elmer had purchased the farm before our marriage but we were paying so much a year. The deal was very reasonable but still in those days it was difficult to pay. At first Elmer worked the fields with horses. Later on he got a tractor. He milked cows and raised a few pigs and chickens. I taught 2 years before our marriage on a High School Normal Training Certificate. I went back to teaching in 1949 and taught 5 years before we moved to SD.

Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as birth dates of people that maybe living is not included. See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

Please, contact the County Coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021