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Logging Queen is remembered by many

Ella Lindquist reveled in her role as Buena Vista Logging Queen. In this photo, she rode in the 2006 Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival Grand Parade. Pioneer File Photo

Buena Vista Logging Days Queen Ella Lindquist ended her 26-year reign Feb. 21.

Lindquist's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March. 5, at First Lutheran Church, with visitation from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, March 4, at Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji.

"Ella was a tremendously kind, caring and motivated person," said her friend Todd Haugen.

Suzanne Thomas of Buena Vista said until her last years, Lindquist also worked hard helping prepare for Logging Days.

"Such a dear lady," Thomas said. "She'd sing, and she always wanted to end Logging Days with 'God Bless America.'"

Although Lindquist, who died at age 99, had not been able to attend Logging Days since she was about 94 years old, Logging Days always closes in her honor with her favorite song.

Lindquist's parents met at a logging camp where her mother was the cook. Lindquist herself married a logger and visited with him in the camps during the winter. In a 1998 interview, Lindquist said it was unusual for a man's family to accompany him to the camps, but she wanted their four children to know their father.

In one of her last public appearances, Lindquist was a special feature of the 2006 Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival Parade. Without a formal registration for the parade, Ella took a taxi from her home to the center of the parade lineup. Supporting herself on her walker, she regally bade a young woman, "Find me a float."

Michael Meuers was set up to drive a shiny convertible in the parade to lead marchers who were supporting political candidates. Beltrami Deputy Brian Ball asked Meuers, "Will you give her a ride?"

"I'd be honored," Meuers said.

"You can't imagine how happy I was because he told everyone I was the Logging Queen," Lindquist said at the time.

Parade watchers along the route cheered her, calling out "Ella! Ella!" And she greeted them with her parade wave.

Lindquist was born June 27, 1910, in Saum and graduated when she was 15 years old from the Saum School. She said her father and other parents built that school because they wanted their children to be able to graduate from high school. The month after she graduated she turned 16 and went to work at a general store in Kelliher.

"She moved to Bemidji in 1945," said Lindquist's son, Arlen. "She was always very active in PTA and church."

He also recalled that she babysat many children, baked bread to sell and enjoyed berry picking.

Kurt and Roxy Lindquist of Bemidji also remembered how much Lindquist enjoyed going to lutefisk dinners and going out to eat at restaurants. Kurt said his grandmother would take a long time to sit down and order because she had to greet everyone at each booth.

"Everybody seemed to know Ella, and she seemed to know everybody," said Haugen.

"One of her favorite things was to go down to Union Station and listen to the Scottish bands from Canada," said Roxy Lindquist.

"She always wore a hat," Kurt said.

"Always dresses, no pants," said Roxy. "She always had such a fit when young people came to church in jeans or shorts because she thought that was disrespectful."

"She wasn't scared to let people know her opinion," Kurt said.

Arlen said his mother taught Sunday school, organized Bible school and sang in the First Lutheran Church choir.

"She liked to call people on their birthdays and sing her own rendition of 'Happy Birthday,'" Roxy said.

But Logging Days was Linquist's yearly highlight, Thomas said.