Meet our Member- Kristine Fuge
I was born in a small northeast Iowa town with no stop signs and a population of 499. The town slogan for Lime Springs was “Best town by a dam site” due to the proximity of Lidtke Mill Dam on the Upper Iowa River just a mile north of town. Every summer afternoon and evening was spent with my friends at the municipal swimming pool except for Friday nights when I could usually talk either my parents or two older brothers to drive me to the skating rink in Chester. Weekends in the summer were spent in the pop-up camper either at Lidtke Mill Park or at Forestville State Park. My dad ran the local farm cooperative and my mom worked with Dr. Lyons (“Doc”) at the vet clinic. There was no day care and I got myself to school every day which was in my backyard. My brothers and dad were active scouters which meant my mom and I had to complete their Des Moines Register morning daily paper route the week they went to camp. Next door to me lived a family with 6 brothers, all who would become Eagle Scouts and remain family friends today. (More on that story when on June 14th!)
When I was 11, my father took a new job at a much bigger farm cooperative about an hour north of Lime Springs in Stewartville, Minnesota. I was now living in a larger town (about 2,500) which also had a municipal swimming pool where again, I spent much of summer. We also bought a house across the street from an executive 9-hole golf course and was introduced to the game I still love to play 40 years later. I enjoyed being close to Rochester as it allowed me the opportunity to play french horn in the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestra. I attended Rochester Community College (where my mom was a business professor), transferred to UM-Morris where I graduated in 1993, and started my graduate studies at Hamline.
While at Hamline, I met my husband Jeff and we married during winter break of my third year of law school/graduate school at the Grumpy Old Men Church (Chisago Lake Lutheran). Because he was one year ahead of me at Hamline, Jeff had already graduated, passed the bar exam and was working as an attorney in Superior, Wisconsin when we married. So, the first 5 months of our marriage was “weekends only.” After I graduated from Hamline, I moved up north to our apartment in Superior, passed the bar and began my legal career at a law firm in West Duluth. Since those first jobs, Jeff and I have always joked about practicing in different states.
In 1998, we moved to Lindstrom and bought the Peterson house as Jeff had changed jobs and started working for Polk County in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. I soon landed work as a private practice attorney first in Forest Lake (where I was encouraged to join the Chisago Lakes Rotary) and then in downtown Minneapolis for the same attorney I had worked with in Duluth (he too had moved away from the cold and snow). Our children Sylvia and Oskar were born just after the millennium which necessitated me to take a position closer to home and shorten my commute from 50 to only 2 miles (Chisago County). Although I worked full-time, the proximity made school event participation possible with my Center City office location.
In 2018, I made a career change to take a senior leadership position with St. Croix Health where I worked until recently due to downsizing by the organization. In 2019, Jeff left Polk County after 22 years and decided working locally at Chisago County as an attorney was a better commute. Sylvia graduated from CLHS and attended University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana where she recently graduated and is looking for a job in her field as an agriculture bioengineer. Oskar also graduated from CLHS and plans to attend school this fall at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada for electrical engineering.
As an almost empty nester, I continue to focus on new hobbies besides swimming and golf, becoming a certified yoga instructor in 2018. Throughout my 25 years as a Rotarian, I have served as president twice (including when I was pregnant with Sylvia) and have enjoyed serving with people that I may never have met outside our club. I am proud to be a member of the Chisago Lakes Rotary Club and serve my community.