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Meeting Len and Mary Lagerstrom, your Pickle Fest Grand Marshals

By Kelsie Hoitomt

BOYCEVILLE – Saying “yes” to be Grand Marshals of the 2014 Pickle Fest weekend are long time residents, Len and Mary Lagerstrom.

The Lagerstroms were both raised in the Boyceville community and graduated from the high school in the 1960s.

Len grew up on the family farm along side his older sister Judy and younger brother Mike; they were the children of Vance and Klover Lagerstrom.

Growing up as a kid, Len spent his days doing typical farm chores and he continued to haul milk for locals in the area; Herb Dow, Dale Harrison and Sherman Hanson, which helped him earn some extra cash throughout school as well.

In school, he was very active in the local FFA chapter and he was also on the football and basketball teams.

Out of school, Len continued to work at an auto-body shop doing mechanic jobs in the area.

In the meantime, something more important than work was happening, Len was getting ready to marry to Mary Riek.

Mary grew up in Boyceville after being born in Chippewa Falls to Alfred and Alice Riek. She is the middle child with an older brother Jerry and a younger sister Ruth.

As a child, she did a lot of bike riding and took piano lessons. Then in high school, she busied herself by picking cucumbers and working at a root beer stand, which put some cash in her pocket.

The summer before her junior year, her mother ended up having severe heart problems so Mary stayed home and helped.

Mary kept active in school though with cheerleading, band and choir.

Alfred was the police officer in town so Mary remembered trying to be on her best behavior, but “that was hard to do in my high school years”.

Mary met Len when they were both in high school and happened to attend the same New Years Eve party during her senior year and his junior.

The two courted each other until October 26, 1963 when they decided to take their relationship to the next level and become husband and wife.

The wedding was held at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Boyceville and it was a small private ceremony.

A year later in 1964, they welcomed their first child, a son who they named Scott.

The following year, the couple moved to an apartment across the river to North St. Paul where Mary gave birth to two more sons, Kelly and Kevin.

Today Scott lives in Mondovi and has one child, Kelly lives in Downing with six children and seven grandchildren and Kevin is in New Richmond with two children.

Back in Minnesota, Len worked at another auto-body shop and he spent time as an insurance adjuster.

On the side, he helped Mary managed a 51 unit apartment complex as well for five years.

Prior to that, Mary’s first job in the cities was with the Boy Scouts of America. She also spent some time working at Shopper City.

After all three boys were born, Len and Mary built a house of their own in 1970 in North St. Paul.

The house and yard would be filled with people during the summer months when Mary played softball.

After league night, players and their families would come to the Lagerstroms’ to grill out and continue their camaraderie.

While the kids were growing up, Mary and Len took them to the races at Cedar Lake Speedway, Rice Lake Speedway and occasionally in Stillwater on their way home to St. Paul.

“We would load up the kids, have stuff for a picnic and sit in the back of the truck and watch the cars,” said Mary.

Since Mary and Len were always working, they enjoyed the more simple things in life with their children, which didn’t include traveling, but fishing was a great past time in the cities.

The Lagerstrom family lived in St. Paul for seven more years after that and then in 1978 they made the move back to Boyceville.

Len and Mary purchased the house and land where they currently live now and they also took over the Lagerstrom family farm.

“We had intentions of moving to the farm when we first bought the place, but it never happened,” Len said.

Instead of moving to the farmstead, Len drove back and forth to the farm each day and with the help of his sons, he managed around 180 acres, raised oats, hay and corn for his own stock and milked 35 cows.

And when they weren’t all helping at the farm, the boys were busy at school playing football, baseball, basketball and wrestling.

Then in 1994, the Lagerstroms decided to no longer farm so the animals and equipment were auctioned off and Len took a job at Foremost Farms.

Len worked there until 2010 when he decided to call it quits and “retire”. His retirement didn’t last too long as he took a job at Vets Plus for a few months and then he more recently became a part-time driver at Kadingers in Downing.

On the other side of the relationship, Mary was a busy body as well as she took a position as Treasurer for the Village of Boyceville.

She worked there from 1980 to 2009 with time as the Deputy Clerk Treasurer in those 29 years.

Towards the middle of those years, Mary took a part-time job at the Cenex (Countryside Co-op) gas station in Glenwood City.

She stayed behind the counter greeting customers there for 20 years until she decided it was time to stay home and enjoy herself.

One job the Lagerstroms did have in common was in their service to the Boyceville community.

Upon moving back in ’78, Len became an ambulance driver and fireman and Mary took a position as an EMT. Len drove for 23 years and Mary volunteered for nine.

Aside from spending a few days at Kadingers, Len shared that in his spare time he enjoys refinishing furniture.

As for Mary, she likes to read and play on the computer while inside and spending time planting and growing flowers around the house is her outside fun.

Together, the Lagerstroms may have some future traveling plans in their sights, but as for now, they plan to just see what happens.