Violet May Skogen was born April 26, 1915, in Scobey MT to Manick and Anna (Hoff) Skogen. She was the first-born non-Native American born in the region. She was raised on the family farm near Peerless MT. Violet went to be with her Lord on October 7, 2015, at the age of 100.
Vi attended her first “school” with two other students; classes were held in her families’ home. The first “real” school started in Peerless in 1923. She graduated from Peerless HS in 1935.
Violet grew up in a warm, happy household. Although they were poor, the children were not aware of the condition. Her father built a playhouse for her and in winter that playhouse did double duty as the “cabin” for the sleigh in which their father took them to school. In milder weather, they walked the four miles to school.
When she was little, she was uncomfortable around large farm animals. Once when her mother sent her to pick eggs she had to go between two large horses to get the eggs so she went back and told her mother there weren’t any eggs. Another time she tried to milk a cow; the cow put its foot into the milk pail, spilling it and she didn’t have to do any more milking. She always chuckled and gave a little shrug when she related those stories. When she was older, she rode horseback and helped to herd the cattle. She also helped her mother.
In 1935, she and her family moved to Fertile, MN, where they owned a restaurant in the spot where LaLa’s was later located. In 1938, they moved to Hillsboro to care for her invalid grandfather, Frederick. Vi was also a caregiver for several elderly neighbors. She lived on land homesteaded by her grandfather until the mid 70s, then moved to an apartment before moving to the Hillsboro Nursing Home in 2009 and the wonderful residents and staff there easily became her new family.
Vi worked in the office of the Farmers’ Union Creamery for several years before going to work in the offices of the National Soil Conservation Service in Hillsboro. She spent the last several years of her professional career in the offices of the Traill County Superintendent of Schools. She made many friends while she was in those positions.
Violet was an active member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and of the Daughters of the Pioneers. She and several friends formed a “birthday club” and enjoyed frequent cake and coffee parties.
Vi’s family and friends remember her for her love, her wonderfully positive attitude and her willingness to be of service to all. One of her favorite sayings was “people need people”, a phrase she first heard from a bachelor farmer neighbor in Montana who came to their house to visit almost every day. The small children for whom she cared were lucky indeed; she loved children, especially “the little ones” and took every opportunity to care for them. Vi will also be remembered for her beautiful afghans and quilts and for her baking, particularly the cookies and the lefsa.
Violet was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Elmer, her sisters-in-law, Doris, Dorothy, and Emma; her nephew Larry, and her great niece, Lisa. She is survived by her brother, Vernon Skogen of Brainerd MN; three nieces, Valorie (Jim) Babb of Minot, Gail (Gianni) Migliorini of Salsa Maggiore, Italy; Nancy (Rick) Sweet, Brainerd MN; four nephews, Rick (Jan) Skogen; David (Sheila) Skogen; Paul Skogen; and Mark Skogen, all of Brainerd; several grand nieces and nephews, and the many friends and relatives who loved her dearly.
The celebration of her life will be Monday, October 12 at 11 am at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Hillsboro. Interment will be at the Riverview Cemetery in Hillsboro.
Memorials may be sent to the Traill County Historical Society, Plummer House, the early 20th Century mansion that has been converted to a museum with help from Pioneer Daughters (PO Box 173), to Hillsboro Nursing Home, Activities Fund, Sanford Medical Center, (PO Box 69), or to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (204 E. Caledonia Ave) All are in Hillsboro ND 58045.