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Reminiscences of June, a Traveling Grandmother

June's Family Roots - Varnes - Rolstad



Rolstad family


(Photo Notes: Rolstad Family Ca. 1944 - At the family farm - Back Row L-R: Father Henry Rolstad, Mother Haldis Rolstad, June and Sister Betty. Front Row L-R: Brother Jerry, sister Lyndell, brother Denis and sister Lenore.)

June was born on 8 November 1927 and raised in a loving Christian home on a small dairy farm in the Town of Wilson, Dunn County, Wisconsin. June has a strong Norwegian heritage. Both of June's parents were full blooded Norwegians.

June is the oldest of Henry and Haldis Charlotte Rolstad’s six children. In addition to June, there are 3 daughters and 2 sons. In the order of birth they are: Betty Juliet (3/17/1931), Lenore Ina (8/14/1933), Lyndell Doris (1/26/1936), Jerome Richard (4/1/1937) and Denis Phillip (7/25/1938).


In the early days, it was common for children to be born in the home instead of in a hospital. June as well as all her brothers and sisters were all born in the home. Dr. O. M. Felland of Colfax delivered all of the children.

One of the children (Lyndell) was born during a blizzard. June can remember the county snowplow clearing a path through the snowdrifts to their home with the doctor following close behind.

June always disliked her middle name of “Kanuata”. Her mother, Grandma Haldis bestowed the name on her in memory of a much-admired and beloved nurse in Norway.

Mortality rates for new born children was not good in the early days. I am sure that much of this poor rate was caused by the high percentage of home births under less then ideal conditions. There were three other children born in the Henry Rolstad family that did not survive. A boy Richard Herald (The first born.) born on 20 November 1925, lived approximately 7 months before he died in June 1926. Girl twins (The last born.) Elaine Joyce and Joyce Elaine were born 3 March 1940. Joyce Elaine died a day later on 4 March 1940. Elaine Joyce died 4 months later on 5 July 1940. 

Grandma Haldis was born in Rodoy, Norway on 3 May 1905. She immigrated to the United States with the Lenning Varnes family and her mother in 1915 at the age of 10. Their immigration was processed through Ellis Island.

Rodoy, NorwayGrandma Haldis family name on coming to the United States was Varnes.

Grandma Haldis's Charlotte's father was Jens Angell (Olaussen) Vaerang.* He was born in Norway on 2 February 1878. He died in Norway on 10 July 1963. Grandma Haldis Charlotte was born out of wedlock. Jacob "Jake's" father Lenning Varnes and his mother Kristine provided a home in the US after their arrival for both Haldis Charlotte and her mother Hannah Kristine until their later marriages. Hannah Kristine was Lenning Varnes step-daughter...Haldis Charlotte was the Lenning Varnes step granddaughter. 

Grandma Haldis Charlotte Rolstad's mother was Hannah Kristine Hansen. Hannah was born in Norway on 15 June 1888. Hannah later married Nels Delegard. She died on 3 April 1960 at Ridgeland, WI.

Rodoy is a municipality in Nordland County Norway. Rodoy is a part of the Helgland traditional region. The municipality consists of many islands to the west of Norway's second largest glacier, Svartisen. Rodoy was first established in 1838. The population in 2011 was 1,294.


Photo Notes: Photo above right is the mountain range (Saltfjellet) that is the identifying landmark of the Rodoy municipality area...Below right is a photo of the Varnes Family taken in Norway just before sailing for the United States in 1915.  Great Grandma Haldis Charlotte is the little girl in the front. Uncle Jacob "Jake" is the boy on the right. Grandma Haldis Charlotte's mother Hannah Kristine Hansen is standing in the rear. Grandma Haldis Charlotte was born in Norway out of wedlock. Haldis Charlotte's father out of wedlock was Jens Angell (Olaussen) Vaerang. Lenning Varnes is on the left and his wife Kristine (Abelson) is to his right. Lenning and Kristine were Jake's father and mother.  Lenning Varnes was Hannah's step father as Kristine was previouly married to a Hans Hansen when Hannah was born. Uncle Jacob "Jake" was age 15 and Grandma Haldis Charlotte was age 10.


Varnes family in Norway June’s father Henry was born in Dunn County, WI on 21 October 1891.

The Rolstad family name came from the name of June's father Henry's ancestral family farm in Norway.

Some of the male children of a family would adopt the farm name as their last name and some would use their father's name. The name Olson is a combination of Ole and Ole's son. When this all started in the family is unknown.

Henry's Rolstad's father was Ole Olson Rolstad who was born in Ringebu, Oppland, Norway in 1849. He died on 27 December 1902 at Ridgeland, WI. 

Henry Rolstad's mother was Mathea Larson (Rolstad) Christianson who was born in Ringebu, Oppland, Norway on 14 April 1863.

Mathea died in Rice Lake, Wisconsin on 18 September 1956.

June was baptized at the Hay River Norwegian Lutheran Church on 12 January 1928. She was later confirmed at the Colfax Lutheran Church. June has remained a devout Lutheran ever since.

June died from Alzheimer's on 23 October 2008, after an 12 year struggle with this terrible disease.

June had been a member of her local Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fridley for over 50 years at the time of her passing..


Reader's Notes: Readers are encouraged to read/review other chapter's (31 chapters) in this story of June K. Berg's life. (Reminiscences of a Traveling Grandmother) Each chapter is intended to be a capsule view of a small segment of June's life and travels'. It is also intended to be a small segment of history from a time period of World War II and the periods both pre and post World War II. You will find the history is accurate and continues to be updated as new records and photographs become available.

June, a very humble person would never consider her life worthy of a story. To me June has been a lady for "All Seasons". A very unique, bright and highly principled Christian lady. While June like everyone, has likes and dislikes, I have never found her to be uninterested or bored with any thing that life has presented her.

June was well traveled. She traveled to Europe eleven (11) times and made at least 100 trips in and around the United States. June would be included in Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation." It has taken the horror of Alzheimer's to awaken me to finally and fully plumb the depths, and scope of June's Character, Spirit and Being.

After battling Alzheimer's for almost 12 years, an exhausted June was finally called home by God on October 23rd, 2008.


June's Passing

June 1994

The "Memoriam" article published in the Minneapolis Star - Tribune following June's death in October 2008, can be seen on this website by clicking  the below link. It can also be found on the website on the top navigation strip of the home page under the "In Memoriam" label:


"June K. (Rolstad) Berg - In Memoriam".