Alumni Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane
March 21, 2012
In an article for the Sentinel Tribune, Lee and Phyllis Bakken, both of
class of 1964, take a stroll down memory lane as they recall their
wedding day as they approach their 50th anniversary. Unlike most weddings today theirs took less than three months to plan!
Lee and Phyllis Bakken stroll down memory lane
By Tom Merchant for Sentinel Tribune.
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- By Tom Merchant
Next year Lee and Phyllis Bakken will celebrate their 50th wedding
anniversary. Times were much different when the couple married. A full
traditional wedding could be planned much easier then compared to today.
grew up on a farm between Westbrook and Storden, while Lee grew up just
12 miles north on a farm near Walnut Grove. Though they grew up just 12
miles apart the couple didn’t meet until they were in college at
Augustana in Sioux Falls.
Lee said, “my cousin Kathleen Bakken set me up with a blind date with
Phyllis, she thought we would make a good couple.” They recalled going
to the movie ‘Jesse James,’ “It was great movie but I don’t remember
it,” he chuckled. “After that I should have known I would end up living
on a farm,” Phyllis laughed.
The date must have turned out
well, as the couple dated for about two years when they became engaged.
Lee proposed to Phyllis on her parents living room couch in front of the
Since both Lee and Phyllis were in college,
they scheduled their wedding over spring break which was three months
after they were engaged.
Phyllis said, “with Lee and me both
in school my mom got together with Lee’s mom, and they planned the whole
thing. Having planned two of her sisters’ weddings, it wasn’t that hard
to plan theirs.”
At her bridal shower Phyllis recalled that Flossie Gertner gave her a six pence to put in her shoe for good luck.
Phyllis recalled the day of their wedding was a beautiful spring day, and people were wearing summer clothes.
Saturday morning Lee and his best man ended up helping Lee’s dad with
some hog chores, (use your imagination). “Dad always was able to find
things for us boys to do when we came home,” Lee said. Of course the two
were a little late for rehearsal Saturday morning for the evening
The wedding went smooth without any
problems, however it started late because it took longer than expected
to seat all the guests.
Back then the wedding photos were taken after the wedding, so the wedding party was delayed getting to the reception.
reception was a typical church basement affair of that time. Of course
with the candle light ceremony there was no dance either.
Phyllis said, “at the reception Flossie Gertner said to me, ‘you became Mrs. Bakken at 8:27’.”
couple never had a honeymoon since Lee had to be in the twin cities to
register for classes at the University of Minnesota, and Phyllis was
starting a new job at Honeywell in Minneapolis.
When asked about recollections of the day, Phyllis said, “it was just a fun day, I wasn’t stressed out at all!”
They both said “all our friends were there and every one was happy and in good spirits.”
couple offered this advice for people getting married today. “You have
to get along, there’s a lot of give and take — never go to bed mad.”
living in California for a few years they moved back to Minnesota to
farm on Phyllis’ home place where they raised four children, Curt, Kari,
Keela, and Kelly.
Editors note: The following story is reprinted from the April 25, 1963 issue of the Westbrook Sentinel.
Mr. and Mrs, Bakken will make their home in Minneapolis
a candlelight ceremony on Saturday, April 13 marriage vows were
exchanged by Miss Phyllis Elaine Nelson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Willie
C. Nelson, and Lee M. Bakken, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lenor Bakken, Walnut
Pastor Allan Nelson, Lake Crystal, cousin of the
bride, performed the double ring ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church in
Westbrook. Pastor Earl C. Grefsrud gave the sermonette.
Peterson was organist and accompanied Mrs. James Johnson, East Grand
Forks, ND as she sang "Entreat Me Not to Leave Thee", Wedding Prayer"
and “The Lord's Prayer".
Miss Nelson was given in marriage by
her father in the presence of 350 guests. Her floor length gown of
white silk organza and chantilly lace over taffeta and nylon net
featured a sweetheart neckline with a princess panel front. The three
quarter length sleeves and bouffant skirt were ornamented with bows. The
cloud veil of imported silk bridal illusion was attached to a graduated
crown of pearls and orange blossoms. She carried an orchid on a white
Bible, gift of the groom. Sharon Madsen, Albert Lea, was the bride’s
Carol Nelson was her sister's maid of
honor. She wore a street length sheath dress of turquoise silk organza
over taffeta with an overskirt featuring an envelope side closing with a
bow for accent. The turquoise, half hat of curled petals was ornamented
with a fabric rose and circular veil.
Gary Ol-son, Luverne, sister of the groom, and Mrs. Vernon Pass-more,
Westbrook, friend of the couple, wore dresses identical to the maid of
honor. All attendants carried colonial bouquets of Fuigi mums.
the groom as best man was Norris Oerter, Sioux Falls, SD and Harris
Heggerston, Minneapolis, and Dave Nelson, Brookings, SD were
groomsmen. Ushers were John Bakken, Walnut Grove and Greg Fordham, Grand
Michael Bjerum, Albert Lea,
nephew of the bride, was ring bearer. Candlelighters were Betsy Svien,
Lakeville, cousin of the bride, and Kim Bakken, brother of the groom.
bride’s mother chose a holiday blue lace dress with matching
accessories and the mother of the groom wore an aqua lace dress with
white accessories. Both wore orchid corsages.
ceremony a reception was held in the church parlors with Mr. and Mrs.
Sever Knutson as dining room host and hostess.
Mrs. D. W. Bjerum, Albert Lea, sister of the bride, was in charge of the guest book.
Mary Nelson, Sioux Falls, and Beverly Anderson, Albert Lea, served the punch, which was prepared by Mrs. LeRoy Gove, Windom.
Andrew Nelson, Mrs. Cecil Simmons and Mrs. Mau-rice Mitchell cut and
served the wedding cake. At the coffee service were Mrs. Harry Bakken
and Mrs. Thea Bargman. Waitresses were Becky Arnold, Evie Grams, Algene
Mischke, Kathy Bakken and Barbara Nelson.
Opening and displaying the gifts were Rosemary Herman, Jo Ann Braitzman, Marlene Minear and Rose Miller, Albert Lea.
For travel the bride chose a cinnamon brown suit with tangerine and bone accessories.
bride is a graduate of Westbrook High School, attended Augustana
College and Mankato Commercial College. She was employed at Wilson and
Co. in Albert Lea and is presently in Production Control at Honeywell,
Mr. Bakken graduated from Walnut Grove High
School, attended Augustana College and at the present is a junior in
civil engineering at the University of Minnesota.
Mr. and Mrs. Bakken are now making their home at 2800 Pillsbury Ave., Minneapolis.
Sentinel Tribune bridal cut lines:
Party from left: Gerry Passmore, David Nelson, Sandy Olson, Harris
Heggerston, Carol Nelson-Harder, Norris Oerter, Phyllis and Lee Bakken.
Front: Kim Bakken, Michael Bjerum, and Betsy Svien.
Lee and Phyllis having fun with the wedding cake at their reception.
Present: Lee and Phyllis Bakken in their living room.
Mr. and Mrs. Bakken on their wedding day.