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French Lake Township
Presentation to the Annandale History Club
Verna Kyllonen

Verna Kyllonen served as French Lake Township clerk 1968-1992 (24 years), retiring at age 74.  Verna (Laitinen) Kyllonen (1918-2008) was a lifelong resident of French Lake Township, Wright County, Minnesota.  (A hiistory of French Lake Township is under 2016.)

Verna was born on the farm in Section 25 that her grandparents, Peter Solmonson (1843-1927), and grandmother, Elizabeth Solmonson (1850-1920), purchased in 1881.  The family name in Riverside Cemetery records is spelled Salmonsen; it is Solmonson on plat maps and in Verna’s obituary.  Verna’s mother, Hannah, was born in 1887 in a log cabin built by her father, Peter Solmonson.  Verna was born in the second house on the farm.  She was the only child of Adolph Laitinen (1883-1957) and Hannah (Solmonson) Laitinen (1887-1957).  In 1941 Verna married Ben Kyllonen (1910-1993), and they were blessed with two children, Erla and Kenneth.  At the time of her death, Verna lived with her daughter, Erla, in the third house built on the property.  She was one month short of 90 years old.

In addition to her work as French Lake Township Clerk, Verna Kyllonen was a bookkeeper for the West Albion Creamery and then for Alama and Bajari Construction.  She was a lifelong member of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church where she served as organist for over 50 years, retiring in 2003 when she was 85.  She was a member of the Cokato Finnish American Historical Society, Annandale History Club, and Pioneer Park and volunteered for all three organizations.  She was a member of the Red Hat Society.  She was fluent in the Finnish language.

In later years, Verna enjoyed coffee almost every morning at Lantto’s Store in French Lake, where she was treated like a queen.  When Lantto’s employees saw her coming, they had her coffee and paper waiting at her “reserved” spot at the table.  Verna enjoyed visiting with customers and working the daily crossword puzzle.  Verna was well-known and well-liked, and is very much missed by the French Lake community.

Annandale History Club Secretary - 2016

History Club – October 1993
French Lake Township – Verna Kyllonen

Verna Kyllonen spoke to the Annandale History Club about French Lake Township, which was once a very busy community with several stores, creamery, school, two churches, old temperance hall, and a bank.

Verna lived all her life in French Lake Township. She was the township clerk for 24 years.  She took many calls for the township.  There were complaint calls as well as business calls.  One time she followed a snow plow for many miles before the driver stopped.  She was trying to have him stop, so he could go on an emergency call to open another road.

Verna talked about her family and her grandfather and grandmother.  She also showed several pictures.  Others asked questions and made comments.  Everyone enjoyed her talk.

Viola Larson, Secretary