2014 Alumni Awards

2014 Alumni Awards

Outstanding Graduate Award was given to Leland Rivard (Class of 1944)

This is to nominate Leland, who has been an active lifelong member of the Taylors Falls community and school district.

Leland played basketball at Taylors Falls through High School and graduated in 1944. Immediately upon finishing school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific theater for the duration of World War II. After returning home, he ran the Rivard’ s Grocery Store (in addition to working as needed in the other family businesses) for over 30 years. When the Rivard Corporation was dissolved in the mid 1970’s he purchased the former Oscar Peterson feed mill property, removed the existing building, and built Cherry Hill Meat Processing. He successfully ran this business for over 5 years before selling it to John Campbell, (Cherry Hill is still in operation today). Leland then worked for the City of Taylors Falls in the Maintenance Department for another 5 years before finally retiring.

Leland was active for many years in various organizations such as the Commercial Club and Good Fellowship, as well as serving a term on the Taylors Falls School Board in the mid 1970’s.

Leland was the commander of the Local VFW, and a member of the American Legion.

Outstanding Staff/Faculty Award was given to Norman Nagasawa (Business Education Teacher 1968-1992)

Norman Nagasawa was born Waipahu, Oahu, and Hawaii on August 3, 1936. He lived there with his family through World War II until he graduated from high school. In 1958 at the young and impressionable age of 18 he met with a college recruiter who told him the best place for teacher training was Minnesota. Norm packed his bags and headed to the land of long winters and deep snow.

Although he traveled home from time to time to visit his family, Norm spent all of his adult life in this land of 10,000 lakes. Because he had to put himself through college, Norman worked for five years in different capacities at an auto manufacturing plant in the engineer records department.

In 1963 Norm graduated from Mankato State College (later know as Minnesota State University at Mankato) with a degree in business education and a minor in art. His first teaching position was as a long term substitute with the Minneapolis School District followed by four years at Walnut Grove Senior High (yes, the Little House on the Prairie town) where he taught visual arts and business education.

In 1967 it was the good fortune of students at Taylors Falls High School to welcome Mr. Nagasawa to the faculty. Over the next 25 years Norm taught classes in personal typing, business typing, accounting, and bookkeeping to scores of farm and town kids, preparing them for college and jobs out in the real world. It was “Mr. Nag” as he came to be known (thanks to Class of ’74 Alumni Debbie Nasman) who was responsible for starting the computer classes at TFHS in the mid-seventies. Over the years he served as advisor for both the Student Council and Yearbook Staff.

When TF merged with Chisago Lakes School District in 1992 Norm when his separate way. He decided to pursue a personal passion and went into the antique business in Shakopee, but a year later he was back in the classroom teaching; first at the Minnesota School of Business for five years, and finally ending his career teaching at the American Indian OIC in South Minneapolis before retiring from a 42 year career. Still living in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley, Norm enjoys his time spent gardening when the Minnesota weather allows. He keeps in touch with former students through Christmas cards and letters, and for the lucky ones lunch once in awhile.

Outstanding Citizen Award was given to Jack Liljenberg (Class of 1969)

Jack is a tireless and thorough chronicler of the Taylors Falls history. His archives cover nearly every conceivable nook and cranny of the story of Taylors Falls. Jack shares willingly and graciously to all from his vast resources. Jack does not hide this light under the Biblical bushel basket, but his light is always on the lamp stand and there for everyone to see and use.

Jack is the first person I contact when I have to check facts for my own historical research. He always finds the answer. It’s a two way street. Jack always lets me know when I get a fact wrong. The lesson here is to always check with Jack first.

Jack is a good citizen and worthy of this award. His citizenship transcends the Village limits and extends to all who hold Taylors Falls in their hearts and want to know more about this unique place.

Extra Curricular Award for the Years 1915-1952 was given to Annie E. Lindgren (Class of 1939)

I was born in Taylors Falls and graduated from Taylors Falls School in 1937. I have never moved from beautiful Taylors Falls. Most of my life I worked for the Muller Boat Company. Most town people remember hearing me on the loud speaker announcing “no parking in the turnaround”, and announcing boat departure times. Ward Moberg did a Historical Society presentation about that employment in the Muller Boat Company.

One of my past times is cooking. I collect recipes. I put some of those in a cook book I published. I have been a lifetime member of Taylors Falls Evangelical Lutheran church. I am also a member of the Taylors Falls Historical Society and was a member of the Civic League. I worked with a St. Croix Falls student, where I was featured in a small book called “Generations”.

I would love phone calls, Letters, and visits from anyone.

Annie Lindgren
613 River St.
Taylors Falls, MN 55084

Extra Curricular Award for the Years 1953-1992 was given to David E. Johnson (Class of 1955)


The highlight of the 1955 basketball team was the 58-51 victory over Chisago City High School for the District 25 South sub-district crown.

Named to All-Conference Team And All District Team.


• Spent nearly 40 years in Agri-Business; the last 12 years as President and CEO of Cenex-Land O’Lakes Agronomy Company

• Governor Arne Carlson proclaimed April 6th , 1998 David E. Johnson Day”, the day of his retirement.

• Recipient of the 2003 University of Minnesota Alumni “Outstanding Achievement Award”.

• Commencement Speaker-University of Minnesota-Spring 2005

• Established U.S. task force to work with the Institute of Agriculture, Tumaini University in Tanzania to address food production and agricultural concerns in the Iringa Region of Tanzania.

• Recipient of the Hall of Fame, “Siehl Prize” for extra ordinary contributions to the Production of Food to alleviate hunger.

• Chair of the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, 2003, 2004, 2005. The purpose to remodel buildings, build new facilities and provide educational opportunities for Fair goers.

• WCCO Radio- “Good Neighbor Award” for providing technology and food to feed a hungry world.

• “Teach people the Joy of Giving”. Served as a volunteer for 10 years at the St. Paul Area Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, to work directly with Pastors and members of Lutheran Churches to establish and implement Stewardship Programs.