Grand Marshal and Honorary Grand Marshal

2018 Parade Marshals:

Karen Abrahamson is proud to say that she is a 2nd generation descendent of Icelandic immigrants. She was born to Esther (Johnson) and Leo Hillman and grew up on farm 2 miles north of Mountain. She graduated from Mountain High School in 1961 (in the last graduating high school class from Mountain). She attended Mayville State College and double majored in Mathematics and English. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and got her first teaching job at Central High in Grand Forks. She married Edmund Abrahamson (another descendent of the Icelanders) in 1966 and settled in Cavalier, ND. They had 6 children: Jana, Jonathan, Eric, Andrea and twins Karie and Karl. While the kids were growing up, Karen worked as a substitute teacher in Cavalier and the surrounding communities. In 1998 she started teaching full time in Walhalla. Edmund passed away in 1999 and Karen continued to teach in Walhalla until she retired in 2009. After feeding her growing family for years, baking and cooking were second nature to her and she was often called upon to bake bread or Christmas goodies (especially Icelandic ones). Sixteen years ago, she and her family started the Akra Snack Shack during the 2nd of August celebration. Their specialty?? Icelandic treats like kleinur, pönnukökur, vinarterta, rúllupylsa and hangikjöt sandwiches. Always a popular spot, the kleinur were in demand. Their record for kleinur production was 297 dozen in 2016. Through all the busyness of family, community and kleinur making, Karen has also dealt with health issues—arthritis, diabetes, cancer and a heart attack, but she has bounced back from every challenge and got back to her usual of baking…..lots. Daughter Jana said a number of years ago that “Mom doesn’t have a low gear or off button. She just keeps on.” But, now, Karen says it’s time to retire. That doesn’t mean she will sit still. She is involved in her church quilting group, Borg Auxiliary, Peaceful Borders Quilt Guild, and the Northeast North Dakota Heritage Association. And she will probably still make a few Icelandic goodies, just not 297 dozen of them.

Dick and Nell Halldorson were both lifelong residents of Pembina County. Their grandparents each established a homestead in the late 1800s. The couple met in Mountain, ND, where Nell was teaching grade school, when Richard returned from the Pacific. They married April 15, 1950 and had just celebrated their 60th Anniversary when Richard died in July, 2010. Nell then moved to the Country Estates where she died April 11, 2013. Bjarni Richard J. Halldorson was born to Fred and Gunnell (Bjarnason) Halldorson, January 18,1922. He was raised on the family farm and learned work ethics early the hard way—during the Great Depression! He graduated as Valedictorian of the Class of 1939 from Mountain High School. He enrolled in UND College of Engineering as part of Project Depression, rooming in a boxcar and cooking his own food. In early 1941 as the “Winds of War” were gathering, he left UND and headed to California to work for Lockheed, an aviation manufacturer. He worked on the final assembly of the Vega Ventura aircraft which he later flew as a Navy Pilot. He was accepted as a Naval Cadet in 1942, earned his gold wings in 1944 and assigned to the Pacific for the duration of WWII. After the War, Richard returned to Pembina County and embarked on a long aviation career which culminated in his induction into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004. Richard started an aerial spraying application business in Hensel in 1948. Ellyn “Nell” was the oldest of seven children born on December 2, 1925, to Mike and Matilda (Kelso) Brown of rural Hensel, ND. She graduated from St. Alphonsus High School in 1942, received her teaching certificate from Valley City State Teachers College and taught for seven years in various schools in Pembina County, the last of which was Mountain Grade School. The Halldorsons moved the aerial spraying business to Cavalier in 1960 when an opportunity came for Richard to run the business in conjunction with managing the local airport. At this time the business was renamed Cavalier Air Service and is still in operation today. After Richard and Nell retired from the business in 1986, their son John and wife Alice along with chief pilot Steve Karel operated the business until selling it in 2007. Both Richard and John were officers in the North Dakota Aerial Applicator’s Association. During their time in Mountain Richard was a member of Vikur Lutheran Church and served on its board, was a volunteer fireman when Mountain obtained its first fire truck, and was very active in the American Legion, serving multiple times as Commander. He ALWAYS considered Mountain his home town and was extremely proud of his Icelandic Heritage. Two of the Halldorson children, John and Mary Ellen (Mimi) reside in Texas, but still love to come HOME during August the Deuce. Son, Michael, who lives in Cavalier rides in the Fire Truck yearly in the Deuce Parade. The Children all wish to express their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for affording their parents this honor—THANK YOU!

2017 Grand Marshals will be:

Norma Nason and Vilmar Kristjanson.

Please review the guidelines for the Grand Marshal and Honorary Grand Marshal of the Deuce of August parade held each year. To see a list of past Marshals:  Click HERE.


190120_10151081518349190_313533583_nGrand Marshall-Johnson








Judy and Orville Bernhoft

Magnus Parade