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Gilbert Lodge
Since 2004



                 Gilbert Lodge Blog
         The life and times of Mark and Paula Persons


Tuesday, December 10, 2013: 

Mark's mother June died at the age of 97.  June was born on June 30, 1916, in Barnum, MN., to Charles and Ellen Persons, Swedish immigrants.

She graduated from Duluth Central High School where she was an excellent student, member of the band, and voted the most likely to become the first woman President.  June and her husband Charles "Charlie" Persons built and ran WELY Radio in Ely from 1954 to 1959.

She was best known for her daily interview program on KVBR Radio in Brainerd, “Frills and Fancies.”  After more than a thousand interviews with local people along with Ronald Reagan, Ginger Rogers, Art Linkletter, Don Ho, the Inkspots, the great chefs of Europe, and even Lassie, she retired in 1994.  Later June was inducted into the Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2001. 

A very active and social person, June was a Board member of the Heartland Symphony, and a member of many civic organizations including Zonta Club,  League of Women Voters, Nisswa Garden Club, and the American Women in Radio and Television.

June is survived by four sons: Garry of Edina,  Mark (Paula) & Scott (Bozena) of Brainerd, and Robert of Eden Prairie.  Four grandchildren: Paul (Shelly)Persons  of Duluth, Tabatha (Rob) Calvin of Lakeville, Lori (Kevin) Heit and Kara Persons of Helena, MT. She is also survived by seven great-grandchildren, June was preceded in death by her husband, Charles in 1998, her younger twin brothers Charles and Robert Persons , along with her older sister Virginia Belcher.

Friday, December 13, 2013: 

Funeral services were held at the First Presbyterian Church in Brainerd with an open casket before the ceremony.

Mark gave her a final goodbye. 

Retired Pastor Vern Maxa officiated that day.  He knew June for several years before she died and said, "June was part of the Greatest Generation.  She nearly died in 1918 during the  world-wide flu epidemic.   Then came the Great Depression of the 1930s  followed by  World War .II  The trained her to be hard working and frugal. She raised four boys. To save money she did all their haircuts using a hand clipper  and sewed most of  their clothes.  The wheat-germ bread she baked was a family favorite.  June had good singing voice.  One her most memorable life experiences  was being in the chorus of the Duluth Symphony Orchestra in their production of Handle's Messiah. 

June was very outgoing.  One time at a Minnesota Governor's Inaugural ball, she positioned herself just right so that she was arm in arm parading through the ceremony on the arm of the new Governor.  This attitude helped her to get recorded interviews  with famous people for playback on her radio show.  That show, Frills and Fancies. aired at 9:15 AM five days a week on KVBR Radio in Brainerd.  It was all done live so any mistakes were heard by listeners.  She ALWAYS ran beyond the 9:30 AM end time.  The control room operator would signal her by running his hand in front of his neck indicating, "cut, the program  is over."  June would sometimes then say on the air, "They are telling me to cut my throat."

One time she was to interview a foreign exchange student.  Things were always rushed and June did not have time to talk with the student before going on the air.  The program started and June introduced the student.  It was then that she and everyone else learned that the student did not speak English.  On another occasion  a guest brought in some extremely intense cooking spice.  June took a large taste and was speechless for a few seconds with a terrible look on her face, but then continued talking on the air as if nothing happened.

Son Garry came home after serving two years in the Amy as .an administrative officer in a military hospital in France.  He had grown a mustache .and  June insisted that he shave it off before she would introduce him to any of her friends.  He did!  Some of June's most memorable moments recently were the  large family gatherings at Christmas time.  Her home on Lake Sylvan was total chaos with  20 or more noisy people including  excited great grandchildren and Santa Claus.  June battled through several bouts of cancer, but being a tough Swede she survived to a ripe old age.  She also was at the end legally blind due to the severity of macular degeneration.  But Alzheimer's disease finally  was too much for her at age 97.  She died peacefully in her sleep."


Saturday, December 14, 2013: 

June was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery at Duluth, MN, next to her husband Charles "Charlie" Persons.

It was a snowy day, but befitting the occasion.  Some family members were not able to attend because of age and distance.


The cemetery is less than a mile from the house they lived in for about eight years during their early married life in the late 1940's and early 1950's. 

June and Charlie are, in essence, back home again.

From the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper December 22, 2013:  Persons was a pioneer broadcaster


Earlier this month, the Brainerd area lost a longtime community proponent and one of the state’s broadcasting pioneers — June Persons.

Persons, along with her husband, Charlie, started and owned KVBR radio for many years. The small AM station on Laurel Street offered an ambitious lineup of local programming while retaining an endearing “ma and pa” atmosphere.

In addition to her managerial duties June Persons was an enthusiastic on-air presence with her popular “Frills and Fancies” program. Over the years she interviewed everyone from Crow Wing County 4-H speaking contest winners to celebrities such as President Ronald Reagan, Ginger Rogers and Art Linkletter.

Persons began her broadcasting career in 1941 in Duluth, acting in a locally produced daily situation comedy called “The Woman I Love.” It was there she met her husband, Charlie. Together they built WELY radio in Ely in 1954. In 1964 they built KVBR, selling it in 1982 but buying it back in 1986. The two broadcasters retired in 1994. Both are members of the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

When she wasn’t at the radio station June Persons was active in the Heartland Symphony, Zonta Club, League of Women Voters, Nisswa Garden Club and American Women in Television.

The Persons’ broadcast days were a far cry from the restrictive cookie cutter formats found in many markets today. What came through the airwaves was their personality and their love for the Brainerd lakes area. She was a powerful presence who will be missed in this community.

Quote of the day:  June had a full and interesting life.   Mark    < Back to previous story Ahead to next story >

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page last edited 12/23/2013