They’ll be spotlighted at reception March 29 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
You might know Don and Mary Cavalier if you had them as teachers at Crookston Public Schools or at the University of Minnesota Crookston, sit next to them at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception or at Rotary Club meetings, or if you have worked alongside them at volunteer functions. Their “experience” and dedication to the community may have been the deciding factors for their newest recognition as this quarter’s “Experienced Americans.”
The Cavaliers will be honored with a reception on Friday, March 29 from 1:30-3 p.m. at the Golden Link Senior Center.
Don grew up in Walhalla, North Dakota and Mary grew up in Johnstown, North Dakota (about 50 miles northwest of Grand Forks.) They met while attending Mayville State University where they both majored in education. In 1966, the lovebirds married.
After a quick move to northern Minnesota, the Cavaliers taught in Warren (Don) and Stephen (Mary) for a year before deciding to look at other options.
“We were going to sign contracts in the cities area as we were looking for a school system that hired married couples,” Mary explained. “That was a tough thing to find back then.”
On their way back from the Twin Cities, the duo stopped in Crookston to have lunch. They ran into the superintendent of Crookston Public Schools and were interviewed the next day. You can only guess what happened next.
Don taught for a few years for Crookston Public Schools, two years at the correctional center, and then was snatched up by UMN Crookston where he spent the next 40 years. He wore many hats there including being the Director of Career Counseling, plus heading up Alumni Development, Disability, Diversity, Student Health, and acting as head baseball coach from 1976-1984.
Mary taught for Crookston Public Schools for 35 years in all six of the elementary schools and acted as a substitute for another 11 years. She taught physical education and worked out of the classroom as well.
They have two sons, David and Todd, and two grandkids, Henry (13) and Katherine (10.) The Cavaliers travel to East Lansing, Michigan to visit the “grands” often and enjoy all their time spent in Crookston with Todd.
Since 1991, Don has been a Crookston Rotary Club member. He was even nominated for and accepted the position of Rotary District Governor where he and Mary, who joined Rotary in 2003, traveled across three states and Canada visiting District 5580’s clubs. The pair, who have also served as Club President, are often referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. Rotary.”
Mary has been involved in the Catholic Daughters organization through the Cathedral, Polk County Aging Committee, C.A.L.L. Committee, United Way, and the Jaycees in the 1970s. Don, who is currently the Ward 4 Crookston City Council member, is the past Park Board chair, and previously sat on the Chamber board.
The Cavaliers told the Times they’ve always enjoyed living in Crookston.
“Even if we win the lottery, this is our home base for life,” they said.