One of the first things that our committee does at their first meeting of the year is to choose Grand Marshals. It is an honorary title given to people who the committee feels has been, or still is, a big part of the Glenwood City community. We have honored a variety of local residents over the years including: business owners, doctors, school teachers and administrator and local farmers. The Grand Marshals are distinguished guests for the entire weekend of Rustic Lore Days festivities with their biggest honor is leading the Grand Parade on Sunday. This year, we are honored to have John and Faye Steffen as our 2023 Rustic Lore Days Grand Marshals. Please read more about our honorary Grand Marshals below. To view our previous Grand Marshals, please click here.
2023 Grand Marshals
The Glenwood City Rustic Lore Days Committee is pleased to announce the 2023 Grand Marshals, John and Faye Steffen, who will lead our home-town festivities this year!
John was born in Minneapolis, MN to
George and Monica Steffen (Grand
Marshals in 1980), but quickly found
Glenwood City to be home as he moved
here when he was 3-years old. John is
a middle child, as he is the fourth of six
children. John attended school in
Glenwood City, graduating in the Class
of 1963. Following graduation, John
enrolled at the University of Wisconsin
– River Falls for one year. However, it
was at this time that the draft was
upcoming for the Vietnam War, of which
John received his draft notice. John
enlisted in the United States Air Force
prior to being drafted. John served for
3.5 years from 1965-1969 in the Air
Force as part of the First Mobile Communications Group. As a part of this unit, he would set-up communications prior to Air Force troops arriving. This communications group’s coverage area ranged from Hawaii to India and Korea to New Zealand. Being a part of the First Mobile Communication Group meant that John was the first in and the first out, once the permanent communication structures were built. Following John’s service, he attended Eau Claire Technical College (now Chippewa Valley Technical College) for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration from 1969-1970. This aided John when we came back to his parent’s store – Steffen Hardware – where he was able to use his skills from both the Air Force and college to fix anything including residential, commercial and farming, appliances and equipment.
Faye was born in Baldwin, WI to Merton and Harriet Vrieze as the youngest of four children. Faye attended Baldwin Christian School for grades 1-8 followed by grades 9-12 at Baldwin-Woodville High School – where she graduated in the Class of 1967. Following high school, Faye went onto nursing school at Lutheran Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in Minneapolis from 1967-1970. Throughout high school and college, Faye would work as a nurse’s aid at the Baldwin Hospital. Upon completion of nursing school, she took her state boards and began working as a Registered Nurse.
It was during this time – while John was working at Steffen Hardware and Faye was completing nursing school – that they met each other. Their first-time meeting was in August 1969 which happened through mutual friends. They were dating for just two short weeks when John proposed to Faye. John just knew that Faye was the one and she knew he was too! It was during this time of dating and engagement that they spent a lot of time travelling to see one another. They were married on August 29, 1970 at the St. John’s the Baptist Catholic Church in Glenwood City. Following their marriage, John and Faye moved to Glenwood City officially making Faye a “Glenwood City-ite”. They first lived in the apartments by the telephone company, across from the old fire department. In 1972, they were able to purchase the nunnery from St. John’s Church. This is where they lived and raised their family for a total of 36 years until moving to their current Glenwood City home in 2008.
Following their marriage, John continued to work at the hardware store and eventually bought into the store with his father in the early 1980’s. Steffen Hardware was located in what is now Sunshine Fitness and Norm’s Barber Shop. During this time, the hardware store was a staple in the community for the maintenance, selling and ordering of appliances including: stoves, refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, seasonal equipment (lawnmowers, snowblowers, bicycles) and so much more. Steffen Hardware would also sponsor and donate to various groups and organizations in Glenwood City including little league teams, bowling teams, 4-H groups and more. You would also see Steffen Hardware as part of Rustic Lore Days in sponsoring candidates. John, his father and the entire Steffen family gave a lot of their time to the customers of the hardware store. In fact, John and Faye’s children learned the business at a young age, being trained in at the store when they turned 10 years old and working the weekends alongside their father. Faye was a nurse at Memorial Hospital in Menomonie from 1970-1979, where she served as a staff nurse and charge nurse on the medical unit. In 1979, Faye took a step back from full time nursing to raise their children and assist at the hardware store. She was fortunate enough to be able to provide nursing care at Glenhaven during this time as well. In 1987, when their youngest child, Aric was in school full time, Faye was able to go back into nursing full time with a job at Red Cedar Clinic in Menomonie, as well as filling in at Glenwood City’s satellite location when it came to town.
Following the closure of Steffen Hardware in 1998, John and Faye still managed to stay busy as ever. John continued to work in the maintenance field at Jon-De Farms in Baldwin working on farm equipment, appliances and supplies. John officially retired in 2010. Faye completed a lengthy career in healthcare, totaling 36 years as a Registered Nurse with Menomonie Hospital and Clinic. Faye worked a few more years following John’s retirement, retiring herself in 2014.
The Steffen’s have four (4) children (or the “four AJ’s” as they call them) – Amy, Angie, Abbey and Aric. Their children are all graduates of Glenwood City High School. Two of their children still live in Wisconsin, while the other two are some distance away in North Carolina and New York. John and Faye have been blessed with four (4) wonderful in-laws and eight (8) grandchildren ranging from the age of 2 to 20. When the grandchildren are around, you’ll hear a lot of “Opa” and “Oma” – Dutch terms for grandpa and grandma.
John and Faye have both been active members of our community – both before and during retirement. John was a member of the Glenwood City Community Club during the snowmobile derby and early days of Rustic Lore Days as well as the Glenwood City Fire Department for approximately 15 years – assisting with beer and brat stands and snowmobile races setup. He is currently a member of the VFW, American Legion – member for 52 years, Knights of Columbus – 4th Degree Knight, past officer, active in events such as fair stand, tootsie roll drive and fall dinner, and an active member of the St. John’s the Baptist Catholic Church – as a maintenance worker, usher, choir member and Eucharistic Minister. When you hear the church bells ring, you can thank John for this. From a young age, he and his brothers would physically ring the church bells by “grabbing the ropes and riding them down the belltower” multiple times per day, before the bells were automated. John still provides maintenance on the church bells to this day. Faye follows in being just as active as John within our community. Faye was an active member of the band booster club – served as officer in multiple roles, chaperoned marching band and field competition trips and coordinated fundraisers, Glenwood City Women’s Club – member and officer which worked on blood mobiles/drives, assisted with queen events/queen’s tea and conducted fundraisers such as the Christmas Tour of Homes which supported the Glenwood City Library. Currently, Faye is also an active member at church as a reader, sacristan, Eucharistic Minister, choir member, past preschool choir director and member of the Council of Catholic Women.
In retirement, John enjoys taking care of his yard, fixing and working in his shop, feeding the birds and enjoying nature in their yard. Faye spends her free time reading, baking and planting flowers and tending houseplants. Both John and Faye enjoy helping out with their grandchildren here in Wisconsin when needed as well as travelling to see their family out of state.
John and Faye are both “very honored” to be selected as this year’s Grand Marshals for Rustic Lore Days. Faye states that “we’ve loved living in Glenwood City – the people, the community, everything that is and has been” as just a few of the reason they have, and continue to, support and enjoy this wonderful community. They especially enjoy when new families move into the area – this provides them an opportunity to welcome them and share their knowledge and experiences of the community. John and Faye also enjoy sharing the great history of the people and businesses that they have been a part of in this great community of Glenwood City. Both comment on how honored they are to be recognized and we’re honored to have them serve as our Grand Marshals for 2023. Join John and Faye as they get “Rockin’ and Rollin’” for Glenwood City’s Rustic Lore Days on September 8-10, 2023!