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■ Helen Burgstaler

Age: 80.

Live: Rural Aitkin. “I was born and raised in this area. I was born in Ross Lake Township in Crow Wing County and live in Dean Lake Township. I have four generations of family who attended Aitkin High School.”

What did you do with your life in Aitkin: “We were farmers all our lives and my husband, Edwin, worked in the Crosby mines. We were dairy farmers for many years and now we do beef cattle. We have more than 500 acres. My daughter owns it now.”

Are you still a part of the farm: “We still own cattle, we have about 75. I do the calving (calf birthing.)”

A calving story: “This year we had 52 calves in four weeks, that is a lot. I was up all night. I stayed up every night until 4 a.m. and then my daughter would stay up with them from 4-7 a.m. and then I’d watch them during the day. A lot of the them (cows) hate you (during this time).

“Once they are born you have to puncture the sack that is around its head. You have to stay and watch them otherwise they’ll (the calves) die.”

Proudest achievement: “My family: Husband, Edwin, six children, 10 grandchildren and eight greatgrandchildren. “We have four generations who attended Aitkin High School.”

Other things you are involved in: “I‘ve been an election judge since age 18. I’ve been the treasurer for Dean Lake Township for about 20 years, treasurer for a few years at the Aitkin Country School and now I am treasurer of the Class of 1950, the year I graduated.”

Why have you been an election judge for so long: “I enjoy meeting people and I am a firm believer that people should vote. I don’t care who they vote for, as long as they vote.”

Most memorable childhood memory: “We were poor, but we didn’t know it. Everyone was poor. Life wasn’t as busy as it is now. I remember my older brother taking me places. He’d pull me in a wagon when he went to mow the lawn. I wrote to him every day when he was in World War II. He was always my hero.

“My mom made fried chicken for supper every Sunday and homemade ice cream. It was always a treat.”

When you were a child your family made: “Our own ice cream, maple syrup and cut our own wood. We had horses so we also did haying.”

Everyone loves your: “Potato salad.”

Something you regret: “I quit high school when I was 17. I quit because I got married. I later got my GED (General Education Development).

Favorite color: Blue.

— Compiled by Jennifer Stockinger, Staff Writer. Follow me on Twitter at

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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