One of the first things that the Rustic Lore Days 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, school administration 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 Dennis and Doris Berends as our 2021 Rustic Lore Days Grand Marshals. Joining them will be our our 2020 Rustic Lore Days Grand Marshals, Julian and Judith Bender. Please read more about our honorary Grand Marshals below. To view our previous Grand Marshals, please click here.
DENNIS & DORIS BERENDS
2021 GRAND MARSHALS
The Rustic Lore Days Committee is pleased to announce the
2021 Grand Marshals – Dennis and Doris Berends – who will
lead our home-town festivities this year! Congratulations to
them on being deserving of this honor!
Dennis was born to Duane and Barbara (Bobbie) Berends and
raised in Glenwood City on the family farm and is the oldest
of 11 children, all being boys. Dennis graduated from Glenwood
City High School in the Class of 1970. Following graduation,
Dennis completed one year of college in River Falls. Doris is
also a local to the Glenwood City and Downing areas. She was
also raised on a family farm, born to Harry and Bernice
Drinkman, where she was the youngest of 10 children. Doris is
also a graduate of Glenwood City High School in the Class of
1970. She then attended college at Stout for one year. Both
Dennis and Doris come from large, local farming families and
are proud to say that most of their family are as well – with
many still being in the area or close enough for a short car ride.
Dennis and Doris, perhaps unbeknownst to them, went to school
together in first grade; however, Dennis transitioned to the
Catholic school from grades 2-8 and then back to public school
to finish high school. In fact, these two were students impacted
by the hill school fire and were displaced to other area buildings
to complete first and second grade, which was housed in what
is now the Glenwood City Historical Society and one of the local churches. But if you ask them, they’ll probably tell you that they met during their time together in high school. They started dating after 11th grade with their first date – and favorite date spot – being at Cedar Lake Speedway for a lot of Saturday night dates. After 1969, you might hear them say that “everyone lived happily ever after,” but there is more to the story than that.
Dennis and Doris were married on August 28, 1971 – in fact, they just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary two weeks ago. When they were first married, Dennis was working at Forest Feed Mill and Doris was working at the Hahn’s restaurant which was at the four corners.
They soon began to grow their family with their five (5) children – Brad (Angie), Jodi (Tim), Gary (Ashley), Adam (Sarah) and (the late) Steve (Krista). Their children are all graduates of Glenwood City High School as well. Three of their children live within a one-mile radius of the Berends homestead, while two are just a short drive away. They have been blessed with 18 grandchildren – Nathan, Jacob, Tricia, Brett, Matt, Cassidy, Tristan, Baily, Nikki, Ava, Connor, Colton, Ella, Cooper, Max, Natalie, Dan and Anna and 4 great-grandchildren – Claira, Landon, Carson and Lyla.
In December 1973, Dennis and Doris bought their farm from Orville Wittmer – whom they had milked cows and done barn chores for while their family vacationed – which would become their forever homestead to raise their family. They now say that it might have been a “foolish” decision as they “couldn’t see all of the rock piles in December” which they would describe as their “best crop” on the farm. They had a dairy operation until 2000 when they sold the cows and started a small herd of beef. Dennis then went to work for 15 years at Downing Tractor Parts. Doris started working in 1990 at Glenhaven as a Cook and Activity Aide. She then worked seven years at Hiawatha National Bank, but landed back at Glenhaven in 2006 as the Office Manager and working back in the Activities Department before transitioning to her current role of Activities Director in 2017.
Dennis and Doris have been active members of our community throughout their years. Dennis became a Knight of Columbus in 1974 and began assisting at the Knights of Columbus fair stand at the Saint Croix Country Fair in 1974. He has also served as the KC Financial Secretary for 19 years. He and Doris both serve on the State KC Raffle Committee, which raises much money to help people who have had fires, illnesses, hospital bills, to name only a few. On top of his service to the Knights of Columbus, he also served on the Emerald Town Board for 10 years. While Dennis was on the town board, Doris assisted with elections. She also served as General Leader for the Bellringers 4-H Club for 18 years, as well as a project leader for ceramics, leather, and explorers. Her 4-H group participated in window paintings for many businesses during Rustic Lore Days as well as making signs advertising the fair. She was also one of the original members of the Emerald Crossroads Homemakers, which started in the 1970s. Doris also has a few other titles within the community, as she may be known as the “weed queen” or the “pumpkin lady”. The first comes from her time spent working with students on their infamous 8th grade weed project where she helped generations of students from 1996 to 2019. Dennis would tease her about taking kids out looking for “weed”. As to the pumpkin lady nickname, this name started in about 1973, when she was asked to grow big pumpkins for the Catholic Church in the fall. For the past 30-40 years, she has been doing just that and Dennis has been the one to haul them into the church, with help from Gary, in the fall. Related to church, both have taught catechism classes for a total of 45 years combined. Now they are doing the Focus portion of marriage classes at Saint John’s Catholic Church. Dennis has been a coach for the Special Olympics organization and a caring and compassionate citizen by donating a kidney to a local resident. Doris is a member of the Glenhaven Auxiliary and serves presently as president of the Council of Catholic Women at St. John’s. It goes without saying that these two have been actively involved in many aspects of our small-town community throughout the years and we thank them for their service.
Dennis is now fully retired from Downing Tractor Parts; however, still finds plenty of farming to do to keep busy. Doris doesn’t know what retirement is like yet, but has plans to retire from Glenhaven soon. They will stay busy by raising a few beef cattle and spending time in the gardens in the summer, hopefully to have less weeds. They will continue to bowl on the Ma and Pa league in town with their friends and hope to get back to Canada to enjoy a favorite pastime – fishing. Dennis and Doris plan to stay busy with their grandchildren as well – babysitting and getting to more of their school and athletic events, enjoying the titles of grandparents.
Dennis and Doris were both “greatly honored and very very surprised” to get the call to be considered and selected as this year’s Grand Marshals for Rustic Lore Days. With joyful tears, Doris stated that it’s “good to be a part of such a generous community” as she knows that Glenwood City has a lot of generous people who do a lot for the community, especially Glenhaven through all the years that she has been there. Glenwood City is a good place to live, raise a family and connect with your neighbors near and far. The couple commented that, “you’ll never see us in the cities” and we are grateful that they have spent their lives here in our community. We’re even more grateful to honor them as our 2021 Glenwood City Rustic Lore Days Grant Marshals. Join Dennis and Doris Berends to “Stand as One; Reunited in 2021” as we celebrate Glenwood City’s Rustic Lore Days on September 10-12, 2021!
JULIAN & JUDY BENDER
2020 GRAND MARSHALS
The Glenwood City Rustic Lore Days committee is excited to
have two long-time community members serve as our Grand
Marshals this year. We are pleased to announce that Julian
and Judy Bender are our 2020 Grand Marshals for Glenwood
City Rustic Lore Days!
Julian is originally from Denver, Colorado where he was born
and raised in a small family with one brother. He graduated from
East High School in 1963. Following his high school career,
Julian went on to attend the University of Northern Colorado in
Greeley, Colorado. This school has a long-standing history in
teacher education and at the time was one of the premiere
teacher education institutions around. During his time at
Greeley, Julian was drafted to serve in the United States
Army for almost 3 years. Upon his return, he was able to
complete his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 1970 as well as
later furthering his education with a Master of Arts in School
Administration in 1974.
Judy is originally from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio where she
was also part of a small family, being an only child. Judy
graduated from high school in the Class of 1966 with over 900
classmates. Following high school, Judy also attended the
University of Northern Colorado pursuing her degree in
Elementary Education. She graduated from Greeley in 1972
with a Bachelor of Art in Elementary Education.
As you can imagine, Greeley is where these two met. Judy describes a gathering at her place in August of 1969 where party goers listened to music and played Bridge. Judy may tell you that Julian wasn’t “invited” to the party; however, Julian will claim that he most certainly was. Following the gathering, Julian told Judy that he would see her in the morning. Judy figured that wasn’t going to happen, but to her surprise “there he was” the next day.
Following their completion of college, the couple moved to northern Illinois where Julian started his teaching
career and their family began as well. He started searching for administrative positions in 1974. He held two principalships prior to arriving in Glenwood City in 1984. During this time, Judy was doing some occasional
individual tutoring in surrounding school districts but was even happier to have the ability to be a stay at home mom with their two daughters. When their youngest was in middle school, Judy secured the Title One teaching position at Glenwood City Elementary and went on to teach reading and first grade. Julian served as the High School/Middle School Principal for 18 years until retirement in 2002. Judy continued in her elementary teaching position until her retirement in 2010. If you ask Julian, he might say that this was a time when Judy was supporting him, and he improved his cooking skills.
Julian and Judy have two daughters – Jennifer and Stephanie – both who graduated from Glenwood City High School under their father’s principalship. Jennifer graduated in the Class of 1988 and now resides in Minnesota with her husband and two children. She serves as the Business Manager at her local church in the Forest Lake area. Stephanie graduated in the Class of 1991 and also resides in Minnesota with her two children. Stephanie
is a School Counselor at the middle school in Eden Prairie. Thanks to their daughter, Stephanie who was a Glenwood City Princess 1989-1990, Julian and Judy know the ins-and-outs of Rustic Lore Days, more specifically from the royalty perspective. Julian and Judy have been blessed with four incredible grandchildren: Tyler, Sam, Reese and Garrett.
Since their retirements, Julian and Judy have found many ways to keep themselves busy. Julian didn’t end his education career after retiring. He became a supervisor for student teachers at the University of Wisconsin—River Falls from 2002 to 2011. It is truly wonderful that Julian provided these student-teachers with knowledge and guidance as they begin their teaching careers. Both Julian and Judy have also served as members on the Glenwood City Library Board – Judy for 10 years and Julian followed with a 13 year term. Judy was instrumental in bringing the More On-Line Resources for Everyone (MORE) system to the Glenwood City Library.
Once retired, the couple continued their love of traveling all over the country, as well as the world. Some of the most memorable travels have been to Hawaii, England, France, Italy, Germany, Australia along with multiple cruises that have taken them to the Baltic, the Caribbean, and China. In addition to their worldly travels, Julian continues to be an active member of the Glen Hills Lion’s Club where the Lions sponsor the Rustic Lore Softball Tournament and Chicken Dinner. Julian also enjoys reading a good book, hitting the golf course and woodworking. Judy still stays active in our community today too. She is an active member of the Glenwood City Methodist Church serving as the treasurer, Bible study leader, UMW chairperson, and lay leader. She is also a great help during Rustic Lore Days in coordinating the City Wide Garage Sales during the celebration weekend and will continue to do so this year while serving as Grand Marshal. Both Julian and Judy love being grandparents and seeing the grandchildren participate in concerts and sporting events.
While Judy and Julian may not be natives of Glenwood City, they have sure planted their roots since their arrival in 1984 and have become familiar faces within the community. “It’s a shock to move to a small town at first,” they said, mostly due to being born and raised in such large, urban communities. However, Julian and Judy found an abundance of reasons for staying around as long as they have. “Glenwood City is a great place to raise children and allows everyone to know everybody,” said the Benders. Julian and Judy were thrilled, surprised, and honored to be the Grand Marshals for Glenwood City Rustic Lore Days this year. The Glenwood City Rustic Lore Days committee is pleased to have Julian and Judy Bender as 2020 Grand Marshals as we commemorate our annual traditions. Please join us on September 11-13, 2020 as we get “On The Right Track” for Rustic Lore Days 2020!