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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Joe Edlund (Inducted 2004)

Joe Edlund Biography from the Hall of Fame Sports Banquet, June 14, 2004.
 
      The story of Joe Edlund, 1931 Fergus High graduate, is a story about personal success as a student and athlete in both high school and college. Chapters are unfinished about this man. He no doubt would have given much to American society as an adult educator and family man.
      The sixth of nine children born to Syvert and Margaret Edlund, young Joe made the Otter varsity football team, as a freshman, in the fall of 1927. He played as offensive and defensive lineman until the middle of his junior year.
      In the fall of 1929, Otter coach Moen, recognizing Edlund's quickness and speed, moved the high school junior into the Fergus Falls backfield. It was the start of something good for Edlund, playing as a running back for the rest of his high school career and throughout his collegiate career at Moorhead State Teachers College.
      Edlund also lettered in track while at Fergus Falls High School. During the summer months he worked on the waterfront at Otter Tail Lake and Detroit Lakes. Edlund became not only an excellent lifeguard but also an excellent swimmer and diver.
      With football as his favorite sport, it was no surprise when Edlund chose to play football for coach Nemzek at Moorhead State. As a player so much respected by his coaches and teammates, Edlund was honored by being named co-captain for the Dragon football team for his senior season, in the fall of 1934. That same year he made the all-conference team.
      In 1934 Moorhead State had one of its best teams in school history, winning six, losing none, and tying one game, with Edlund starring at halfback. He scored the only touchdown as Moorhead State blanked the U of M, Duluth 17-0.
      In the final game of the year, Edlund and Moorhead State stunned the North Dakota State Agricultural College (now NDSU) Bison 13-12. Edlund scored the tying touchdown midway through the third quarter. It was his final touchdown, ending an outstanding high school and college career.
      Edlund also participated in track and gymnastics at Moorhead State, a reflection of his outstanding athletic ability. He also excelled in the classroom.
      After college graduation, Edlund taught one year at Fairdale, N.D. In the fall of 1936 he was hired to teach science and math and coach football at Hawley.
      On Saturday, Sept. 12, 1936, Edlund, with one week of teaching at Hawley under his belt, became engaged to his fiancée Helen in her hometown of Detroit Lakes. Helen was a senior at Moorhead State.
      The following day, young Joe Edlund lost his life.
      He and Helen were passengers in a vehicle en route to Moorhead. C.C. Glasrud of Detroit Lakes drove the vehicle, and the other front passenger was Glasrud's daughter Violet, a close friend of Helen who also attended Moorhead State. Edlund and his fiancée were in the rear seats.
      One mile west of Lake Park, along Highway 10, a car ignored a stop sign and plowed into the Essex that Edlund was riding in. The former Otter and Dragon star died instantly. The other three escaped with only minor injuries. The driver of the other vehicle was charged with negligence.
      Edlund, less than a month from his 23rd birthday, was mourned in both Fergus Falls and Moorhead. But his name and memory lived on, including nephew Joe Edlund, 1957 Fergus High grad, who will accept the award today posthumously for his uncle.
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