July 16, 2010
Denfeld Alumni News
Denfeld's oldest graduate dies in Duluth
Margaret E. "Ches" Phelps, believed
to be Denfeld's oldest living graduate, died July 16 at Benedictine
Health Center in Duluth. She is likely to have been the last surviving
graduate from Denfeld's former building at 725 N. Central Ave.
was also the longest living member of Bethany Lutheran Church. She
was confirmed there (in Swedish) in 1945 and had been an active
member of her church circle and its quilting club.
She was born in Bararyd, Sweden on Sept. 11, 1906,
to Carl and Anna Eckstrom and came to America when she was one year
old. She graduated from Denfeld in 1924.
She began her working career with Western Steel
Co., and in 1934 started work with the Duluth News Tribune, where
she worked for 40 years, retiring in 1974 as executive secretary
to the publisher.
She married Hamilton Phelps in Duluth in 1945.
After her retirement she volunteered at Miller Dwan Hospital for
over 20 years and also had served as an election judge for many
years. She enjoyed traveling, golfing, skiing, skating and reading.
She always had a good joke to tell and a big laugh to go with it.
Her zeal for life and positive attitude were unmatched, along with
her ability to recover from life's adversities.
Frances Slennes (class of 1928) is now believed
to be Denfeld's oldest graduate. She lives in West Duluth and is
101 years old.