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Last surviving member of Holy Trinity’s class of 1935 hits milestone birthday
April 17, 2017

By Starrla Cray
Associate Editor

WINSTED, MN – Ronald Schlagel has had a good life, filled with hunting, fishing, and plenty of celebration with family and friends.

He had something big to celebrate April 10 – his 100th birthday. He wore a top hat and bow tie for the occasion, and all four of his children, plus other family members and friends, were there to celebrate with him.

“He’s such a sweetheart,” daughter-in-law Nancy Schlagel said. “The girls that take care of him [at the nursing home in Stillwater] love him.”

Ron graduated from Holy Trinity High School in Winsted in 1935, and is the sole survivor of his class.

Ten years ago, two other classmates were still alive, and one of them attended Ron’s 90th birthday party.

Ron has always enjoyed staying active, socially and physically. After graduating from Holy Trinity, he started his career as a plasterer and moved to Michigan.

“It was there he met his lovely wife, Eleanore,” Nancy said.

The couple was married for more than 60 years before Eleanore passed away. They spent many years in Mahtomedi (between St. Paul and Stillwater), and Ron later built a house on Bone Lake in Scandia.

Ron loved being on the water, and kept busy in retirement with ice fishing and summer fishing, as well as many types of hunting.

Nancy remembers visiting every year for the 4th of July, and there would always be a boat parade on the lake. Someone would dress as Santa Claus, and throw candy while on water skis.

“We would have a picnic and grill out,” Nancy recalled.

Ron said hamburgers were his favorite food through the years, and he enjoyed a beer from time to time. He also smoked for a few decades.

Another pastime of Ron’s was gardening.

“They froze and canned,” Nancy said. “They had food for the whole winter.”

Ron has been at the care facility in Stillwater for about 2.5 years. Previously, he lived at a senior living facility in Mahtomedi.

His children – John, Jim, Jerry, and Jackie – all live within a 10-mile radius. Ron also has six grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

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