Denfeld News

June 30, 2011
Denfeld Alumni News

Hall of Famer Rudy Monson dies at 81

One of Minnesota's finest athletes and Denfeld High School's most respected alums, Rudy Monson, died on June 30 at St. Luke’s Hospice in Duluth. He was 81.

Monson is perhaps best remembered for scoring 23 points in Denfeld’s 46-44 victory over Crosby-Ironton to capture the 1947 Minnesota State Basketball Championship. He was selected All-State in basketball, football and track at Denfeld.

He earned a football scholarship to the University of Minnesota, but lost it after tearing up his knee in the summer of 1947. He played on the Gophers’ freshman basketball team, then transferred to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he was named to the All-Conference squad three times.

He also played two seasons of Amateur Athletic Union basketball while stationed at Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago during the Korean War. In addition to his two years in the U.S. Navy, he also served in the U.S. Naval Reserve for six years and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.

Monson returned to the University of Minnesota for a degree in civil engineering. He was a registered land surveyor and worked as systems operations manager for the City Water & Gas Department in Duluth. He was the department's director when he retired in 1993.

In 1966 Monson was among the first group of inductees into the Denfeld Athletic Hall of Fame, which is now known as the Hunter Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the UMD Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Centennial Sports Hall of Fame as one of the best athletes in the state’s first 100 years.

He spent 40 years as member of the National Ski Patrol, was a private pilot, attended the Blackstone School of Law and had his own dance band for three years in which he played piano, saxophone and clarinet.

Monson was a founding member of the Denfeld Alumni Association and remained on its board of directors until his death. He was also a member of the American Legion, Pug's Club and the Lake Avenue Loafers.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Marilyn, son Rudolph W. III (“Boomer”), daughters Pattie Fralich-Peterson and Bobbie Macor, brother Robert L. Monson, grandchildren Emily, Jack, Dean, Dane, Angela and Joe, and nine great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at Elim Lutheran Church on Tuesday, July 5, at 11 a.m., with Pastor Jim Hagen officiating. Interment will be at Oneota Cemetery.

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