Since retiring from his job as a trainmaster for the railroad in 1985, Minot resident Wallace Iverson has kept busy with his social interests and hobbies. Iverson enjoys hunting and fishing but has since added whittling fish out of wood and making toy vehicles out of aluminum cans to his list of hobbies.
"I haven't fished for two years now. It's hard to get in and out of boats. So, I started cutting cans and I started making fish," Iverson said.
It is intricate work. Iverson estimates it takes two or three days to complete one of his projects and once he's finished, he likes to give his work as gifts.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN •
Wallace Iverson displays some of his hobby work, a combine model made out of aluminum cans and a fish carved out of wood.
Besides his current hobbies, Iverson has picked up many interests over the years. He was born and raised in Flaxton, where he did a lot of skunk hunting and fox trapping. After graduation from high school, he joined the Navy.
"I never learned to swim and I was in the Navy for three years. I would just sink to the bottom and stay there. I must have a rock someplace," Iverson joked.
During his time in the service, he served in World War II in the submarine forces. After his time in the service, he returned to Flaxton and started a butcher shop. He decided he didn't like that business and he went to Minneapolis to get telegraph schooling. He was then hired by the Soo Line Railroad and worked out of Portal.
In Portal, Iverson recalled participating in numerous civic duties to help his community he served as an alderman for the city council, as chairman of the hall board, as a member of the Masonic Lodge, as commander of the American Legion, as captain of the fire department and as an assistant Boy Scout leader. He also offered his butchering services to local farmers, and he and a friend bought a sewer truck and pumped sewers.
"In little towns, you have to jump in and help and keep the town going," Iverson said.
In Portal, Iverson recalled that cooking crazy things for people was a great source of entertainment.
"We got a porcupine and my wife cooked it, and we fed the fire department. We called it tom cat. We had the skeleton still in the kitchen, and it looked like tom cat," Iverson said.
"The Canadian customs guy said he'd never eat a meal if we cooked it," he added.
Iverson had four children, a daughter and three sons. One of his sons is employed by the State Department, and has worked overseas. Iverson said he has enjoyed the opportunity for travel to visit his son. He's spent about a month's time in both Australia and Africa, enjoying fishing and touring. In a visit to Australia, he took a picture with former first lady Barbara Bush.
"President Bush invited me to the embassy party. I wanted to get a picture with Barbara, and I was stopped by the Secret Service. I told Barbara, I wanted a picture with you," Iverson said.
The first lady agreed to the photo, which Iverson still keeps in a photo album. Iverson said he remembers most of meeting the president and ambassadors is that, "They're people, just like we are."
"No matter where you go, you find sociable people. People are just about the same all over," Iverson said.
Iverson eventually moved to Minot in 1973 for his railroad job because he had been promoted to trainmaster. Iverson still considers Minot to be his home. He has since moved from his own home to an assisted living facility, The View, and he keeps busy with visiting and participating in activities. He puts his baking skills that he learned in the Navy to use and bakes treats for his neighbors to enjoy during their coffee hour.
"My daughter says I should keep on baking, but let others eat it!" Iverson said.
Iverson said that overall, having a positive attitude is what counts in life.
"Try to be fair with everyone. Have a halfway decent attitude because three fourths of your life is attitude. Do the best you can," Iverson said.
(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or Managing Editor Kent Olson at 857-1939. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)