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Transplant to Rugby

By Staff | Jan 7, 2011

Catherine Jelsing is a transplant to the Rugby area, yet she knew how to bloom where she was planted. Full of the ‘write’ stuff, Cathy started her own freelance writing business in the spring of 2007.

She had begun her writing career rather unobtrusively, as a part-time stringer for the Devils Lake Daily Journal in Devils Lake. Her degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead, was a bachelor’s degree in university studies with emphasis on mass communications, humanities and fine arts.

“I always loved writing and within a few months I fell in love with journalism,” she said.

Along the way she learned the newspaper business from the ground up, writing assigned stories, obituaries, birth announcements, weddings, etc. She went on to work as a newspaper reporter, lifestyle editor, wire editor, managing editor, film and theatre critic, lifestyle columnist and features editor. Cathy worked for The Forum in Fargo for 13 years.

Then she transitioned into public relations work starting with writing grants for Trollwood Performing Arts School in Fargo and ending when North Dakota State University recruited her to work for the NDSU Magazine. While there she learned all of the aspects of public relations writing.

The Jelsings moved to Rugby in 2004, where Cathy quickly captivated residents with her outgoing personality. In 2006, she worked at the Pierce County Tribune as an ad sales representative, a job she said she enjoyed. After preparing for it most of her career, she made the decision to start her own writing business, CJ Communications.

She didn’t rent an office downtown or build a fancy building to house her business. She opened her office in her husband’s family’s original home near Rugby. She lives there with her husband, Terry, who fulfilled a lifelong dream by establishing an art studio on that same family homestead. He is also the art teacher at Rugby High School.

Family is important to Cathy. She loves that Terry’s family lives all around them in the area. When she was growing up in Worthington, Minnesota, she may not have known thenn what she wanted to do for her life’s work, but she did know that she wanted a family someday. She was blessed with her own two children, daughter, Shana Zaiser who lives in St. Louis Park, Minn. and son, Will Zaiser. Both children are grown and live on their own. Then she was blessed again when she met Terry and his son, Matthew Johnson, and young daughter, Sunniva. She and Terry were married on June 9, 2000.

“It was sort of understood that someday we’d be moving to Rugby,” she said with her characteristic sense of humor. “It was certainly part of the discussion before we got married.”

Cathy found that she loves living in this rural area.

“Rugby is a vibrant community,” she said. “filled with wonderful, interesting people,” she said, “filled with wonderful, interesting people. I feel very fortunate to be where I am at.”

Since starting CJ Communications, she has written all kinds of materials for many different clients, from magazine articles to Minot State University brochures to a Minot restaurant menu. This fall she edited a book by Susan Wefald “Spectacular North Dakota Hikes: Bring the Dog!, which is being published by the North Dakota Institiute for Regional Studies.

Her current focus is on website writing. She’s helping Heart of America Medical Center and Haaland Estates develop new websites. In November she completed writing and organizing the content of the new North Dakota University System website. It was a challenging project, but one Cathy met with determination, strong organizational skills and hard work.

“People wonder if it’s easy to get sidetracked when you work at home,” Cathy said, “but when I get possessed with a project I find it hard to stop. I’d much rather write than do housework.”

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