While growing up on a grain and dairy farm outside Grand Forks, North Dakota, Janet (Klava) Klatt 1966, had the opportunity to attend the Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) to learn life skills that would help at home. Her brother, James Klava 1956, and sister, Marian (Klava) Mitchell 1963, also attended the NWSA while their mother taught school and their father maintained the farm. Klatt traveled home on weekends to help with cooking, and gained useful knowledge on the farm such as gardening she’d use later in life.
At school, Klatt developed close friendships with many of her classmates. One fellow classmate, Kathy (Vasek) Bushee 1967, lived in the same dorm and they became great friends. Klatt grew up outside Grand Forks and Bushee outside of East Grand Forks, Minn., so they connected during the summer when they were young and would “hang out”, drive around, and sometimes visit The Kegs, a popular drive-in restaurant. Bushee was in her first wedding as a bridesmaid and then each of them went on with their lives.
Klatt and Bushee kept in touch by sending Christmas cards and talking over Facebook, but hadn’t seen each other in years. At the 2022 Northwest School reunion, Bushee and Klatt reconnected in person for the first time in 55 years.
“I developed so many long standing friendships with classmates and it was great to see Kathy in person again,” shared Klatt.
She and other school friends still get together, often every winter.
After her time at the NWSA, Klatt went on to the newspaper business where her first job was working for the Grand Forks Herald followed by co-owning and running newspapers in Olivia and Roseau, Minn. She wrote stories, took photos, and did bookkeeping for 17 years until the newspaper was sold and she moved on to the Roseau County Sheriff’s Office where she devoted 25 years, retiring in 2014.
“My favorite time while working for the newspaper was meeting people and covering kids’ school activities,” said Klatt.
Klatt and her husband, Bob, have six children between them and 14 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and another on the way. In her spare time, she loves all things antique, goes “crazy” for garage sales, is an avid Minnesota Twins baseball follower and rarely misses a game over the radio, plus she and Bob like to put together puzzles all winter. They collect about 40-50 puzzles to do each season and often receive puzzles as gifts.
While at the lake or at home, Klatt and her husband enjoy many hunting and fishing adventures. In fact, she shot close to 10 bear in her lifetime with the largest bear being over 300 pounds.
“I shot my first black bear in 1990 right near the border of Minnesota and Canada,” Klatt explained. “The last year I hunted bear, in 2015, I got two; one black bear and one brown bear. Our house is insulated with bear rugs and we eat everything we hunt and fish for.”
She also hunts turkey, grouse, deer, and enjoys fishing. She shot her first deer in 1986 in Canada, and a crappy fishing trip in Nestar Falls, Canada created great memories.
“All of our hunting and fishing trips stand out,” Klatt added. “Bob and I have hunted every year for the last 30 years.”
On top of her busy family life, Klatt is a member of the NWSA alumni board of directors and enjoys connecting with other board members.
Written for the Fall 2023 Torchlight e-Newsletter