CROOKSTON, Minn. - Arlone (Thoreson) Cymbaluk is a graduate of the 1948 advanced class of the Northwest School of Agriculture. After the closure of her country school within the area, Cymbaluk chose to begin her high school education at a school close to her hometown of Climax, Minn. Although it was a new change in her life, she thoroughly enjoyed the school and the experiences she had there. Her first-year housing arrangement was quite unconventional for a fourteen-year-old. The dormitories on-campus were full that year, so Cymbaluk was provided an off-campus apartment with another student from the Northwest School. Because she was not close to the dining service offered at the school, she had dinner meals from her parents stored in her apartment. When she needed to go to campus for class, Cymbaluk was transported to the school by the city bus. This was convenient during the cold winter months that come along with living in northern Minnesota.

Shortly after moving into the apartment, there was a housing vacancy on campus which allowed Cymbaluk to move closer to the school. Given her close proximity to home, however, she spent most weekends away from the dorm visiting her family in Climax. It was an exciting time to live on campus during her senior year as she was among the first group of students to reside in the newly constructed McCall Hall. This dormitory created a lasting friendship between Cymbaluk and her friends from the dormitory, Rose Marie (Kochmann) Price 1947 and Emma (LaBine) Palmer 1948 Adv., who still keep in touch to this day. Not only have these friends spent time visiting each other’s homes, but they also keep in contact through frequent phone calls.

During her time at the Northwest School of Agriculture, Cymbaluk’s drive for success was recognized by her teachers. A proud accomplishment she recalls is being the first female inducted into the National Honor Society on campus. This impressive honor was only granted to students chosen by their teachers. Furthermore, she also spent a small amount of time partaking in swimming lessons and going to the popular entertainment areas in town. During a night out at the roller rink, Cymbaluk met her late husband, Marvin. Upon graduating, they were married and began their lives together working on their grain farm. Cymbaluk was well-acquainted with the farming lifestyle due to her upbringing on her family’s farm. She often found herself driving the truck around the fields as well as making trips to get machinery parts when needed.

The Cymbaluk family grew from two to eight during their time on the farm. Cymbaluk and her husband raised six children who were very helpful in keeping the farm running smoothly. On the weekends, Cymbaluk’s family visited their lake home on Maple Lake. They created lasting memories of fishing and water skiing while they were there. Her family has since grown with her children creating their own families and moving both locally within the Crookston area and across the country in Arizona. After the passing of her husband, Cymbaluk began participating in many offices within her church. She was the president of the women’s group at Trinity Lutheran Church and was also a member of the church’s foundation. She enjoyed the fellowship the positions provided as well as the opportunities to help within the church. Cymbaluk also spent time serving on the NWSA Alumni Board from 2000-2005.

Cymbaluk attributes her success in life to the education she received at the Northwest School of Agriculture. She began the first H & R Block in Crookston and worked there for ten years. This bookkeeping position allowed her mathematical knowledge to shine through. In addition to the knowledge she obtained about working diligently with numbers, she developed a passion for needlework from the skills she learned in her home economics classes. She fondly remembers learning about sewing, knitting, and baking from her favorite teacher, Miss Retta Bede. With this knowledge in mind, Cymbaluk has sewn nearly every clothing item within her adult life, including prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and clothes for herself and her children.

At 91 years of age, Cymbaluk continues to use these skills in her life by making mission quilts to share with family and those in the community. The graduates of Trinity Lutheran Church are gifted with a mission quilt each year, and Cymbaluk is one of the many individuals who provide their talents of constructing the top half of the quilts. Family is also a large part of her life, and she enjoys visiting with her five sons, one daughter, and her sixteen grandchildren. Her ties to the Northwest School of Agriculture did not end in 1948, for two more generations within her family chose to attend this campus for their collegiate studies. Cymbaluk will always have a piece of this school with her as she continues to watch her family grow and follow in her footsteps.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - - (218) 281-8414