Year Inducted 2014
Don was born on July 8, 1939 in Morristown, Minnesota. He earned degrees in English and German at Minnesota State University Mankato. A Fulbright Scholarship allowed him to study in Frankfurt, Germany where he met his wife Susanne. Don started teaching in the Robbinsdale School District in 1966. A second Fulbright Scholarship brought Don back to Germany for the l969-70 school year to teach high school. He returned to Armstrong in 1970 when the school opened. Don was the first coach of the schools girls’ soccer team and an award winning yearbook adviser. He was inducted into the Armstrong Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012.
Don became Armstrong’s Nordic Ski Coach in 1971 and served as the head coach for both the boys and girls Nordic ski programs until 1987 when he returned to Germany. In Germany he taught for seven years at Wurzburg on an American military base for the DoDDS, Department of Defense Dependents‘ Schools. He returned to Armstrong in 1994 and retired in 2000. He continued to substitute teach at Armstrong.
During his tenure as Head Coach, Armstrong became a perennial state power in skiing.
Don’s teams won many conference and section championships. Thirteen teams participated in state meet competition with the 1980 boys team winning a state championship. During the “80’s” most of the Armstrong Nordic teams had 100+ active skiers each year grades 10-12. It is safe to say that Don introduced thousands of high school students to the sport of Nordic Skiing and made champions of many.
Upon returning from Germany in 1994, Don continued his involvement in the Nordic ski Community. He was a familiar face at races both in Minnesota and Wisconsin skiing
the Birkebeiner, Kortelopet, Seeley Classic, North End classic, Twin City Loppet, plus many smaller races. One of Don’s major accomplishments was skiing twice across Finland both in 2005 and 2007, a 490km race over a seven day period of time.
Don was a volunteer for the Armstrong ski team helping out at practices, meets, fund raisers and was the teams photographer. Each year, he would officiate at several Conference and Section championship meets. At the State meet, Don was always on the start/finish line. Don was a true advocate for Nordic skiing in Minnesota.
Don Loved Traveling the world, including trips to over 70 countries. His love for travel let him to serve as an editor and contributing writer for Friendship Force International, the Twin Cities chapter. Don was a person of many interest. He was a passionate bicycler, hiker, bowler, canoer, fisherman, and always a good friend.
Don Wolter was visiting his son, Michael, in Idaho when he died of a blood clot on May 30, 2013. He was 73.
Submitted by: Steve Hopke and Larry Myers
Year Inducted 2014 (1942-April 10, 2014)
Robin was active in Nordic Skiing for over 35 years as an athlete, coach and youth mentor. He was involved in the Deer River Nordic program as a head coach, assistant coach and volunteer for over 20 years. Deer River School district has a high poverty rate and is about as difficult an area to promote a high school Nordic ski team as anyone could imagine. Robin was tireless advocate for a program that has been continually considered for termination from the district’s sponsored sports. He has donated or acquired ski equipment to outfit the team so that the financial burden is not an overriding factor in participation. The Deer River team uses Blueberry Hills ski area as its home course and training area. Robin was the sole groomer for the area for over 20 years. He worked countless hours through the summer and winter months to maintain the trails for the team and public.
Robin spent long hours during the summer, fall and winter to make sure that the Blueberry Hills Ski Trails were properly cared for. He picked up sticks, cut fallen trees, hired “crawlers” and “diggers” to come in and change the courses as needed; anything to be sure that the ski trails were as good as they could be. He was a fierce protector of the hills as well. Heaven help anyone who walked, drove, or brought their pet or snowshoes on the groomed track. He was known to follow the tracks of dog sledders or snowshoes to the point of origin in order to have a few words with the culprit who ruined the ski track. He truly lived and breathed the ski trails during the winter. Periodically, people would leave donations because they were so pleased with the impressive grooming job, and he was so proud of that!
Beyond the trail grooming duties that Robin took on, he was even more passionate about making sure the community youth had a chance to enjoy skiing and hopefully turn it into a life long past time. He donated many hours and dollars fixing ski equipment and coaching kids. He waxed skis during his home time in order to have the young skiers ready to race. There was barely a day that went by when he didn’t have someone’s broken pole, ski or boot in the back of his truck, heading home to be fixed in his shop. He was especially aware of disadvantaged youth, and he always went the extra mile to give them a boost.
He was also a big fan of the Birkie/Korte, and he always tried his hardest to find a way to get kids there….not to mention the fact that he enjoyed participating himself. He was also quite the competitor, always wanting to finish in the top 3 places in his age group.
Robin was a friend to all. Everywhere we went, Robin seemed to know someone! Whether in the skiing, canoeing or running world, he seemed to have friends everywhere. Outside of the athletic realm, Robin frequently donated to organizations within the school system in an effort to help youngsters.