They’ll be guests of honor at Friday reception at the Golden Link
Local collector, Dawn to Dusk Lions Club extraordinaire and former University of Minnesota Crookston professor Dr. George Marx and his wife Karen will be honored as "Experienced Americans." Their reception will be from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 13 at the Golden Link Senior Center.
"We are very honored to be chosen for the Experienced American award," said both George and Karen.
George and Karen Marx have been married for 18 years and have four children between them. George has two kids, Christina and Jeremy, and Karen has two boys, Todd and Jason. Christina currently lives in Hollywood, Calif. and is a full-time actress doing two commercials a week, and Jeremy lives in Apple Valley, Minn. and is in charge of the South Storage units. Todd is a registered nurse in Minneapolis at the Hennepin County Medical Center in the burn center and Jason lives and works for a construction company in Grand Forks.
George is originally from Wisconsin, but came to Crookston on Jan. 1, 1964 to work at the Northwest School of Agriculture and Northwest Experiment Station. Two years later it became a University of Minnesota campus, starting out as a two-year technical school.
"The Experiment Station staff were the only teachers to start with the college in 1966 besides Stan Sahlstrom, the head of the college," recalled George. "I actually interviewed Sahlstrom for the job along with the other committee members."
During his course of teaching and research in Crookston, George taught 13 different courses, all related to animal science, dairy, animal breeding, nutrition and similar subjects. He worked with a lot of dairy farmers and students on work techniques and training for future careers. During his tenure of 40 years, he took two sabbatical leaves to Australia and the University of Arizona. George also visited several countries as a professor including Rwanda and Morocco, both in Africa, Albania, and various other countries with schools of agriculture. George received the "Torch and Shield" award from the University of Minnesota Crookston in 2003, the highest owner bestowed by the university, and has authored more than 1,000 publications with the school.
His own education includes a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin, an M.S. degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings, and a Ph.D from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Karen Marx is originally from Red Lake Falls, graduating from Lafayette High School before moving to Crookston. She worked at the Crookston Library for many years as a typist and then began with Schraeder's Auto Parts (now Auto Value) where she worked for 40 years.
Clubs and awards
George has been a dedicated charter member of the Dawn to Dusk Lions club for 40 years.
"The Dawn to Dusk Lions was started when area farmers who wanted to be a part of the Noon Day Lions couldn't meet at noon because of work," explained George. "This way, a new Lions club could meet at dawn and dusk."
He became a Lions governor in 1987 for the district and was in charge of 72 clubs. George has held all the offices of the club including Zone chairman, President, Vice President, and Secretary. He has helped put up playground equipment for the activity center, put on many spaghetti dinner benefits and was very active in the flood control of 1997.
"I remember the Lions Club gave out 50 $100 bills to flood victims in the area," said George.
Other things he's proud to have been a part of include being a co-sponsor in starting the Crookston Leo Club, being the first Lions club to put on the 'Corn and Brat Feed' for Ox Cart Days, joining Dr. Harvey Wendels to be the grand marshals of the Ox Cart Days Parade in 1999, helping test people in the community for diabetes, collecting eye glasses and hearing aids and helping with the farmer's market years ago.
George was also a big part of the Red River Valley Winter Shows and was their president from 1990-1992.
"We even helped put up the horse stalls in the Winter Shows building years ago," recalled George.
George has been recognized for many awards including: Person of the Year from the Minnesota Holstein Association in 1985, Dairy Industries Service Award in 1990, Red River Valley Winter Shows Hall of Fame in 1993, Honor Dairyman Award for Polk County in 1994, Distinguished Service Agriculture Award from Farm Bureau of Minnesota in 1997, Milk Pitcher Award for Northwest Minnesota in 2004, UMC AgArama Dedication Honors in 2005, International Lions Hall of Fame in 2010, International Lions Presidential Medal in 2012, and now the Experienced American award in 2014.
He is also actively involved with the 4H Council, Friends of the Library and the Polk County Historical Society.
Karen has been the Dawn to Dusk Lions' secretary for the last 10 years and is very active in the Lions with home-delivered meals and ditch cleaning. Her hobbies include machine knitting, growing plants, and tending to her garden. Karen belongs to the Machine Knitters clubs of Crookston and Grand Forks and she knit stocking caps for the entire UMC hockey team years ago. Karen is also known for her 30 different varieties of hosta plants around their yard.
George is also a big collector of many different items.
"I've been collecting Lions pins for over 40 years," said George. "I have about 4,000 pins and went to conventions all over the United States."
Besides Lions pins, he collects dairy and barn books, belt buckles, miniature telephones, mini dairy barns, cowbells, RRV Winter Shows items, casino dollars, Land 'O Lakes items, a World War II ration book, cow figures, milk and cream bottles, milk bottle tops, cow and barn calendars, ox cart figures, dairy mugs, cow mugs, and lots more dairy memorabilia.
"I have a ton of collectible books," said George. "I have all the year books of agriculture since 1847, a collection of National Geographic magazines from 1911 to 2013, all the Minnesota Farmer's Institute books from 1888 to 2014, all the Red River Valley Dairymen's books started in 1903, all the Northwest Minnesota Steam Thresher's Reunion books, and a large collection of medical and city anniversary books including the 100th anniversary of Crookston, Fertile, Grand Forks, and Fisher. With my stamps, I have all the commemoratives that have been published or made since 1892. The first commemorative was the 400 year anniversary of when Columbus discovered America."
George said, "We have a big house and big garage to hold all my collections. We even built a second story in the garage that is full of antiques. Now that I'm older, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with everything."