Our Program on June 21st was a celebration of Darel Leipold’s 90th Birthday along with a new member and a large donation.  Darel acted as Opening Marshall and lead the group in Amazing Grace and our traditional opening items.  During Announcements President Lou Graber received a unanimous vote to make Scott McGinnis a new member of the Rotary Club of Excelsior.  Scott is a Historian and his sponsor is Darel Leipold.  Scott is a lifelong member of the community and his family goes back into the mid 1800’s.  Lou’s second major announcement was to award a $10,000 check to Tim Litfin for the MCE’s Playground Fund which will have its dedication ceremony on July 12th at 9:30.  Finally Lou announced an idea for a fundraiser during Steve Frazier term with the title being “Booze, Blues and BBQ’s.”
We kicked-off the program by singing “Happy Birthday” to Darel Leipold on his 90th Birthday.  Darel then gave us a pictorial account of his life.  Darel wowed us with his recall of names, dates and places delivered flawlessly.  He started with his Dad (Louis Leipold) being Superintendent in New Prague, MN in the 1920’s  and how this influenced his life in education.  He showed his parent (Louis and Gladys) in 1923 and that they then moved to Minneapolis in 1936 and his dad took a teaching position at Keewadin School on 30th Ave. south.  Then he jumped to 1946 when he bought his first car which was a 1910 Model T Ford with a photo of his family sitting in it.  Darel still has his beloved “T” today and it works!  In 1951 he graduated from Washburn H.S. and joined the Army.  Darel went on to his family of two brothers and one sister and the course of their lives.  Darel met LaVerna while he was interning in 1967 with the help of her father who was the school board chair and it was love at the first sight!                                              
Darel spoke fondly about his work running the Apple Day celebration in Excelsior for many years and the walking tours downtown and giving the history of the city and it merchants.  In 1953 his 1910 Model T was on display at the Ford Plan for its 100th Anniversary.  In 1973 he took a teaching position at North H.S. in Minneapolis and bought his current home on Stubbs Bay in Orono on Lake Minnetonka.  He smiled and said he bought it for $17,500 and now it is worth $800,000!  He spoke lovingly about his family and trips to Germany and the legacy of the Leipold family.  Darel and LaVerna then bought two properties in Excelsior at 239 & 240 Water Street in 1976 and the famous Leipold’s Variety Store was born.  When asked when he is going to retire he says, “I retired 50 years ago when I bought my store!”  So it is Laddy his dog, Boots his cat, and Laverna his bride of 54 years and they all go to work every day!  Darel is also proud of being a member of the Rotary Club for 40 year with 100% attendance.