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Confirmation class reunites 67 years later

By Staff | Sep 6, 2013

Submitted photo Back row (From L to R): Maryls Haagenson Johnson, Marlene Haagenson Tollefson, Shirley Holmly Walsh, Shelby Holmly, Lois Braaten Jacobson, Lola Braaten Ruff. Front Donna Thompson Moline. Not pictured: Leroy Braaten and Janice Thompson Dempsey.

Seven of the nine members of the 1946 confirmation class of Ox Creek Lutheran Church recently reunited in Rolette.

The church was in rural Rolette, near the border of Rolette and Pierce Counties.

The class was confirmed on Aug. 11, 1946, by Reverend H. E. Okland, who later moved to Vining, Minn.

There were three sets of twins of the nine confirmants.

The following information on the group was submitted by Lois Braaten Jacobson.

We, as a class, participated in one year of confirmation instruction on Saturday mornings, memorizing the Luther Small Catchism and studying church history plus attended Summer Vacation Bible School for six hours every day for four weeks at the church. An oral quiz in the presence of entire congregation completed our studies.

There were nine young people in the class including three sets of twins plus three others who were all 13 years of age at the time of confirmation of faith. All of them are now active senior citizens and all are now the age of 80. Their parents or grandparents were Norwegian immigrants who founded Ox Creek Lutheran Church in 1889.

No one in the class married a member of their own Ox Creek congregation. All were married just once, no one was divorced. Three of the women have lost their spouses. Four live in North Dakota, two in Minnesota, one each in Montana, California and Washington. Most of them still keep in contact with classmates with Christmas cards and phone calls since almost everyone in the class was related to at least one other classmate.

Everyone in the class was raised on a farm and learned the necessity of being involved in the work on the farm in order to survive during the Depression. Three are retired teachers, two are retired private business owners, two retired church (ELCA) staff workers, one a church organist, and two are farmer’s wives. They all attended elementary school in a rural one-room school in Rolette and Pierce County. They are high school graduates, college graduates, one with a Master’s degree, and two Associate in Ministry degrees.

Most of their children have four year college degrees and Master’s degrees. Among the grandchildren there are three ordained pastors in the ELCA, engineers, nurses, teachers, businessmen, bankers, and computer specialists, all working to make this world a better place for future generations.There are numerous grandchildren living all across the United States.

Members of 1946


Class, Ox Creek Lutheran Church

Leroy Braaten, Vancouver, WA

Lois Braaten Jacobson, Walker, MN

Lola Braaten Ruff, Moundsview, MN

Marlene Haagenson Tollefson, Devils Lake, ND

Marlys Haagenson Johnson, Wolford, ND

Shelby Holmly, Carlsbad, CA

Shirley Holmly Walsh, Rolette, ND

Donna Thompson Moline, Willow City, ND

Janice Thompson Dempsey, Craig, MT

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