Valhalla Society Member
Karlton "Jerry" Rosholt lived a long, eventful life even before he became involved with Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Destined to be an award-winning news reporter and producer, Jerry was born in Glasgow, Montana, though his family moved to Minnesota early on. He attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and graduated in 1948 with a degree in speech and business administration.
After graduation, Jerry began his career working in journalism, writing for WCCO and the Associated Press in Minneapolis. In 1957 he was the first journalist to report mankind had entered the space age. Jerry began work at NBC news in 1962 and remained there for 26 years, eventually being promoted to the Huntley-Brinkley Report and NBC Nightly News. At the heart of world events for almost three decades, he was field producer of the network's coverage of the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971, which won multiple Emmy Awards, and covered the SALT Talks, the Sadat-Begin Peace Talks, Civil Rights demonstrations, and Vietnam War protests. John Chancellor hand-picked Jerry as his personal producer and editor.
After his retirement in 1988, Jerry moved back to Decorah. In 1996, Jerry was asked by Darrell Henning, then curator of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, to compile a database of Norwegian immigrants who fought in the American Civil War. In 2003, this database was completed, along with an exhibit and a book written by Jerry, Ole Goes to War: Men from Norway Who Fought in America’s Civil War.
In September 2006, Jerry was awarded the St. Olav’s Medal by King Harald V of Norway “in recognition of [his] great services to Norway, in particular [his] active involvement with Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum on its Civil War project.” The medal was presented on October 21 in Decorah, Iowa, by Norwegian Consul General Rolf Hansen.
Jerry once recounted that Vesterheim saved his life. After his wife died, he said, he sat alone for awhile in his home, watching television, before he realized that he could waste his time away in that semi-awake state, or he could choose to live the rest of his life. So he went west, looking for a place and purpose. He found both in Decorah.
Jerry’s impact on Vesterheim cannot be understated. He dedicated both his time and energy to the museum for over a decade, until he passed away at the age of 85 in 2008. Even after his death, Jerry continued to provide support for the museum he loved through his membership in the Valhalla Society, Vesterheim’s planned giving organization. Through Jerry’s efforts, Vesterheim is able to maintain its high quality programs, events, and exhibitions. This kind of thoughtfulness from our members is what makes Vesterheim a successful purveyor of Norwegian immigrant culture to the nation and beyond.
Making an estate gift can be as easy as making a change to your will or simply adding Vesterheim as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy. Other options allow you to reduce taxes and/or create an income.
For more information about these or other planned giving ideas, contact Steve Grinna, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 563-382-9681, ext.109.