Mange Takk with Lee and Louie Sundet (2009)

Printer: Jessen Press, Editor: Bob Waite

Lee and Louise Sundet both grew up in Spring Grove, Minnesota—Lee on the farm and Louise in town. Louise’s grandfather, Mons Fladager, was known as the Father of Spring Grove and opened a clothing store that would be run by the family until 1968. Lee became a successful Minnesota businessman and was honored in 1992 as the Minnesota Family Business Person of the Year.


In the fall of Louise’s sophomore year, Lee encouraged her to find a job that would provide her a little spending money. He said half in jest, “You’ve led a fairly sheltered life, and I think you’ve been kind of spoiled. While I’m out selling welders, you should be working.” So Louise worked as a soda girl at the union and made twelve dollars her first paycheck. Lee volunteered, “I’ll keep that in safekeeping for you, so you don’t spend it.” He put it in the glove compartment of his car. Louise said, “Like a fool, I let him keep it.”

Lee and his fraternity brother Bob Campbell went hunting one day. They were shooting gophers left and right on a farm, thinking that the farmer would be pleased with their eliminating them. They noticed a man walking towards them over a nearby hill. He said gruffly, “Do you know where you are?”

“Sure, they replied confidently, “We’re north of St. Paul.”

“Do you know that you’re on a game refuge?” asked the farmer.

Lee and Bob gulped and said sheepishly, “No sir.” The farmer took them to court in White Bear Lake. The municipal judge sympathized with them, saying, “You fellows didn’t know you were on a game refuge.” He fined them two dollars and asked that they give the farmer ten dollars. Bob didn’t have any money, and neither did Lee, but he remembered Louise’s paycheck in his glove compartment. Louise couldn’t believe that her first earnings were used to cover Lee’s and Bob’s fines. To add insult to injury, Lee never paid her back!