Yearly  "Honorees"

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† = Deceased


Col. Hans Lagerloef

Born at Mem in Östergötland, Sweden, on 03/29/1880, Hans Lagerloef is from a very old Swedish family. H.L. was a second cousin to the Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Selma Lagerloef. On his patriarchal side, the men were ministers  in Arvika, Sweden from 1611 - 1811, some 200 years.  In 1918 he formed the Lagerloef Trading Co. which was involved with woodpulp and papermaking. H.L. was known for his philanthropy and donations of cups and trophies for various sporting events and for his donations to the Royal Postal Museum of Stockholm.
1943 Emil F. Johnson

1943 Charles K. Johansen

1944Hilmer Lundbeck Sr.

1945 Dr. Ewald B. Lawson

1946Dr. Amandus Johnson

1947 Arthur W. Wallander

1948Vice Adm. Charles E. Rosendahl

1949 Dr. Ernst F. W. Alexanderson

1950G. Hilmer Lundbeck Jr.

1951 Dr. Andrew P. Clauson, Jr.

1952Charles W. Hanson

1953Gerhard T. Rooth

In the 1953 journal, "Gerry" was referred to as the best known Swede in New York. President of The United Swedish Societies of Greater New York, editor of the Swedish American newspaper Nordstjernan, lecturer, book writer, founder of the United Swedish Bowling League and the Swedish Tennis Club of New York. He was an honorary member of a dozen clubs in NYC, was recognized with numerous medals for his valuable service to organizations, and sat on the Boards of such organizations as the Swedish Seaman's Center in Brooklyn, the American Swedish Historical Foundation in Philadelphia and the Swedish Home for Aged, Inc. on Staten Island for which he affectionately dubbed the name "Solhem," meaning "Sunshine Home."

1954Lennart Nylander

1955 George P. Johansen

1956Dr. Harry R. Berglind

1957 Andrew G. Hagstrom

1958Carl U. Ackerlind

1959 Gustav Nyselius

1960Peter B. Hanson

The "Grand Old Man" of the Swedish Colony, Peter was born in Hälsingborg, Sweden on 9/30/1877. He was admitted to the Bar in 1900 after graduating New York Law School. He has filled the office of Special Deputy Attorney General, Attorney in the Transfer Tax Dept. of the State of NY, Counsel to the Sheriff of Kings County and Justice of the Domestic Relations Court of the City of New York (formerly the Children's Court). He served as President of the Swedish Hospital, Brooklyn, NY. The Hanson's have 2 daughters, Mrs. Walter F. O'Malley and Mrs. Henry J. Walsh.

In 1938, he was awarded the Order of Vasa.

1961 Rudolph F. Bannow

1962Erik Kronvall

1963 Nils R. Johaneson

1964Earnest B. Bearnarth

1965 Tore H. Nilert

1966Arthur W. Peterson

1967 Mrs. Ingrid Magnuson

1968Tore Tallroth

1969 George Agrell 
1970Edward Swanson

Edward R. Swanson was born in Vara, Västergötland, Sweden on 9/30/05. He is the founder and President of Edson Tool and Mfg. Co. Inc., Belleville, NJ, and is a respected leader and innovator in the field of precision sheet metal manufacturing. Edson supplies metal stampings, covers and frames to the computer, electronics and communication industries. Mr. Swanson has been responsible for many developments including the adaption of honeycomb to metal covers and doors. He is a member of the American Society of Swedish Engineers, the John Ericsson Society and the Swedish Singing Societies.
1971 Arvid Anderson

1972Kjell Lagerström

1973 Lt. Col. Olof Lundgren

1974Victor E. Johnson

1974Harold N. Johnson

1975 Gunnar Lonaeus 
1976Edward A. Bjork

1977 Gustav V. Kvaldén

1978Frank Henry Wikstrom

1979 Arvid Anderson 
1980Henny Anderson

"Tant" Henny was chosen for her long-time dedication to bring to the young children of Swedish descent the richness of their heritage through song, dance and traditional costumes. She is the leader of Barnklubben Elsa Rix No. 1, the first children's club of the Vasa Order of America, started in 1921 in Manhattan by Helga Hoving. She served the children for 27 very active years and then retired with her husband to the island of Åland. Henny was also honored, together with Agnes Carlson, as "Woman of the Year - 1970" at the annual Vasaforbundets annual picnic at Vasa Park, Budd Lake, NJ.
1980Agnes Carlson

Agnes was chosen for her 25 years of outstanding work to inspire and lead the children of Barnklubben Lucia No. 2, the second children's club established by the Vasa Order of America. Agnes received the "Woman of the Year - 1970" award together with Henny Anderson at the annual Vasaforbundet picnic in Budd Lake, NJ.
1981 Tore Nordgren

1982Bengt Friedman  
1983 Björn Ahlstrom 
1984Ralph Kindblom

1985John Wennstrom

1986Rev. Evert Olson

1987 Dr. Viola Spongberg-Holmberg

1988Harry and Mildred Hedin

†  †



7/21/1928 - 2/16/2011


 William and Anita Olson

1990Ruth and Gustave Johnson

† (Ruth)

A familiar couple at Sweden Day for over 40 years, their active participation began in 1962 with Gus' organization of the Children's games. Gus was born in the Bronx, NY, and Ruth in Jersey City, NJ. Ruth and Gus are known as the "Music Mates" when they play accordion and guitar together. They have both been extremely active in the Manhem Club, United Swedish Societies, Manhem Children's Club, Swedish Flag Day, Sweden Day and the Swedish Folkdancers of NY.
1991 Theodore Gronroos

1992Consul General Arne Thorén

and  Mrs. Arne Thorén

1993 Alvalene P. Karlsson


1994Betty E. Persson



Betty Ellen Persson was born in the Bronx, N.Y. of Swedish parents, Ellen Persson Young (from Klippan, Skane) and Charles Young (Kalmar, Smaland). In 1945 Betty married Rudolph Schefschek, who assumed Betty’s maiden name, Young. Together they had 4 daughters – Linda, Christine, Deborah and Ellen. Betty is the Mormor of Daniel and Kimberly.

After Rudy’s death in 1963, Betty became employed by the West Islip School District Accounting Dept. After 5 years she transferred to the Suffolk County Department of Social Services from which she retired in 1989 after 21 years of service.

Betty met Gus Persson in 1976 when he was organizing the first new Vasa Lodge in District 4 in 50 years. North Star 718 was located in Rocky Point, Long Island. Gus and Betty married in 1977 and thus began Betty’s involvement in the Swedish Community. Together with Gus’ interest in gardening, They were also members of the Rhododendron Society, Betty serving on the Board for 3 years.

Betty was North Star’s First Assistant Financial Secretary and then Treasurer for several years. Currently, Betty is Vice Chairman of Lindbergh Lodge No. 505, Huntington, Long Island, while being a proud honorary member of Nobel Liljan No. 64, Brooklyn, NY. She also serves as Assistant Auditor with Auditor Lillian Schlavis of District 4, VOA. Betty has been a Delegate to many District Conventions, to the United Swedish Societies, to Vasa Forbundet, Vice President of the Swedish Home Auxilliary and a member of the Sweden Day Committee since 1977, serving as Treasurer since 1983.

1995 Ambassador Franklin S. Forsberg

1996Jeanne and

Randy Widman †

Two of the most active members of the New Yor area Scandinavian community are Jeanne and Randy Widman. Married for 22 years, they are the proud parents of Chad, Nicole and Britt. Together, they produce a weekly radio program "Scandinavian Echos." They are founding members of the Scandinavian Accordion Club (SAC), musicians and leaders of a new children's singing group "The Nordikids." Jeanne is Dance Leader and Director of the Vasa Folkdancers of New York and Randy has been a member and officer of the club since 1971. Together with the SAC and Jeanne's father, the famous Walter Eriksson, they have toured Sweden and Åland and have played at the dedication of the reopening of Ellis Island in 1990. Jeanne is coordinator with Randy as stage manager of the annual "Scandinavian Night" at Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, Long Island. Jeanne is the current President of Society Åland and Sweden Day. Both are members of the Vasa Order of America, Lindbergh Lodge #505 and charter members of Stenland Lodge #727. Jeanne and Randy represent the best of Swedish-America. They work tirelessly to promote and preserve our Scandinavian culture in America.
1997Consul General Dag Sabestian Ahlander and

Mrs. Gunilla von Arbin

1998Ed and Miriam Emerson


Edwin B. and Miriam L. Emerson are well known in the Swedish-American circles of Greater New York, especially in the Vasa Order of America. Members of Lindbergh Lodge # 505 of Huntington, Long Island, for 30 years. The Emersons have served for about 20 years on the Sweden day Committee. Known as the "Maypole People," they are experts in decorating one and Ed's computer expertise results ia a professional Sweden Day Journal. Married for 41 years, they have 4 children, Anita, Thomas, Karen and Carl, and 4 grandchildren, Nicholas, Michael, David and Sarah. Now retired from LILCO, Ed busily serves as President of the Lindbergh Lodge Association, as Board Member of The Swedish Home for Aged, Inc., as a past officer of his Vasa Lodge, and as Past President of the Lions Club of Greenlawn. Miriam, whose father was born in Sweden, is currently serving her 8th term as Chairperson of Lindbergh Lodge, VOA, and has been active in the Ladies Auxiliary and Jr. Wings youth group. Both continue to serve as delegates to the United Swedish Societies, District Deputies to local Vasa Lodges and as District Officers for NY District Lodge No. 4 of the VOA.
1999Rev. Johan and Mrs Bodil WierupRev. Johan Wierup served as pastor of the Church of Sweden in New York from 1991 to 2000. Born in Visseltofta, Skåne, his father was also a pastor. As a youngster he worked on farms during the summer. He especially recalls the summer of 1960, working on a farm in Switzerland, up every day at 5:30 am until 7 pm, except Sundays. During his studies at Lund University Johan received his "calling" to the ministry. Bodil was born in Ingelstorp, outside Ystad, Skåne. Her father was an elementary school teacher. Bodil became a nurse in Kristianstad in 1965, and as a private nurse in Pasadena, California. She leads many of the activities at the Swedish Church. She is very involved with childrens programs and manages the comings and goings of 70 kids during the school term. Married since 1967, the Wierups have 3 children.
2000Artie and Nancy CarlsonArthur Nils Gustav Carlson was born in Eckerö Torp, Åland, and emigrated to America at age 8 in 1946. Atrie took accordion lessons from Walter Eriksson by traveling the long route by subway from the Bronx to Brooklyn. Those lessons paid off handsomely for those of us who enjoy the musical endeavors of this very talented musician. Artie has been Band Leader of the Scandinavian Accordion Club (SAC) for 7 years. Artie is quite active since his retirement at SAS with the SAC, more than 30 years in the Masonic Order, as an active Board member at the Swedish Home for Aged. Nancy Vera (Johnson) Carlson was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. Her parents were both from Småland. Nancy and Artie have been married since 1963. Nancy has been quite active in the Swedish community as a youthful member of Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 in the 1950's, as a Vasa Folkdancer, as a member of the SAC auxilliary and as an active member of both the Sweden Day and the Walter Eriksson Musikfest committees.
2001 Dr. George Simpson


2002Eric Olsen (NYFD)


9/11/01, was  day of significant tragedy for our entire world. The "twin towers", two of the largest office buildings in America in lower Manhattan, were destroyed by terrorism. The Sweden Day Committee, in conjunction with the New York Fire Dept. Vikings, decided to honor the memory of two brave NYC Firemen who lost their lives attempting to rescue evacuees from the towers. Both firefighters were members of the New York Fire Dept. Vikings, and a member of Ladder Company 15, in lower Manhattan.                                                                                  Eric Taube Olsen's ancestry can be traced back to 1681 in Toverud, Sweden. At age 41, he lived many lifetimes as a fireman. Eric's passion was Antique cars - he owned a 1940 Chevy and a 1960 Fire truck. Eric was a father figure to the son of his domestic partner, and the 2002 Sweden Day Committee decided to honor Eric's and Arthur's memories with a donation to the Olsen/Barry Memorial ScholarshipFund.                                     

To all the men and women lost in this tragic moment, the Sweden Day committee says, "Sov i Ro."

2002Arthur Barry (NYFD)

Arthur Barry was known to his Ladder Company as "Mr. Fixit." Arthur's father remarked that he could repair just about any piece of machinery. Arthur was off duty and dropping off a piece of machinery to the firehouse when the call came in about the event at the towers. Officially, both Barry and Eric should have been elsewhere, but their sense of duty and concern prompted them to follow their Fire Company to the scene of the tragedy. Both men were seen on West Street, heading towards Tower 1 moments before it collapsed.
2003Olle WästbergOlle Wästberg has served as Consul General of Sweden in New York since the beginning of 1999. Before moving to New York from Sweden, he was head of several information companies, a member of Swedish Parliament, Undersecretary of State for Finance and Budget, Editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Expressen and Chairman of the Board of the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation. Mr. Wästberg has worked to transform the Consulate of Sweden into a meeting place for today's entertainment industry, to facilitate U.S. investment in Swedish Companies and to promote Swedish culture in New York and the USA at large. He has been a strong advocate of the many Swedish American organizations and activities in the New York metropolitan area.
2004Kenneth JohnsonKenneth Helmer Johnson was born 11/26/40 at the Norwegian Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. His mother is from Öland, Sweden, and his father was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Bohuslan, Sweden. Ken received his college degree in Civil Engineering and spent most of his 35 year working career with the Port Authority of NY and NJ from which he retired in 1997 as a Senior Airport Engineer. Ken married Denise in 1970 and settled in Bayside, Queens. Two children, Kirk and Ryan were active, together with their parents, in Barnklubben Elsa Rix Children's Club. Ken has served on the Board of Directors of the Swedish Home for Aged, various local civic organizations and has served as President of the Sweden Day Committee under the United Swedish Societies of NY. During retirement years, Ken and Denise have enjoyed traveling extensively, skiing, kayaking, playing with the Scandinavian Accordion Club and biking with daughter-in-law, Chris.
2005Peter & Karin


Peter and Karin Norrman have been a familiar couple in the Swedish colony for more that 40 years. They met at a Vasa Folkdancers "open House" at the McBurney YMCA back in the 1960's. One hambo and the rest is history. They married in 1969 and are the proud parents of 2 children, Jennifer and Brett. The couple reside in Budd Lake, NJ. Peter is the Administrator of The Swedish Home for Aged on Staten Island since 1993. He was previously an Engineer for Grumman Aerospace and NASA on the Lunar Module program and managed his own Insurance business for 17 years. Peter has been a Vasa member for 48 years, having joined Skandia Lodge #399 at age 14, transferring to Arlington Lodge #62 in the 1970's, when the couple moved to NJ, and more recently joining Olympic Lodge #235 as a dual member. Peter has served on the Board of Trustees of NJ Vasa Home Park, on the Board of Directors of The Swedish Home for Aged, Inc., as Vice President of United Swedish Societies, as a member of the Sweden Day Committee and as Webmaster for a number of popular Scandinavian websites including Skandjam, SwedenDay, The Swedish Home and The Swedish Folkdancers of NY. Karin is employed by BASF Corp. as an Intellectual Property Administrator. Karin joined Olympic Lodge #235 in 1964 and transferred to Arlington #62. Karin rejoined Olympic as a dual member where Both Karin and Peter have rekindled old friendships. Karin has served District #4 and District #6, VOA, as Supervisor of Children's Clubs. Karin has been a member of the Board of Director's of the Swedish Home for 18 years and is very active in many of the fundraising programs at the Home. Both Karin and Peter are very active in the Swedish Folkdancers of NY where Karin currently serves as President. They are working together to prepare for The 100th Anniversary of the Swedish Folkdancers in 2006 when the group plans a trip to Gothenburg, Sweden to participate in the Nordlek Folk Festival. Karin & Peter, when not so busy with other activities, can often be seen puttering around their little red "stuga" at Vasa Park in Budd Lake.



of New York





Photo courtesy Onsite Photography

The year 2006 marks the 100th anniversary of The Swedish Folkdancers of New York. In commemoration of this event, the Folkdancers are performing at many exciting venues throughout the year with a planned trip to Sweden in July to visit with other folk dance groups and to participate in the tri-annual Nordlek Folk Festival to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden on July 24th through July 29th. The Swedish Folkdancers hold the honor of being the oldest ethnic Folkdance Group in continuous activity in the United States. Their history is an interesting compilation of events and successes. In 1905, a musician from America, Måns Olson visited the famous open-air museum Skansen in Stockholm, Sweden, to listen to traditional Swedish folk music and to watch some traditional folk dancing. His enthusiasm for what he saw led him to believe that others in the USA would also enjoy the sights and sounds of this Swedish heritage.                                                                               Måns became friends with some of the dancers and talked to them about the possibility of traveling to the USA to perform. Thinking back on those times, it is hard to imagine that a group of dancers and musicians would even consider such a trip since to travel to the US would require a two week boat trip, plus raising their own travel expenses. A 1950 article in the Swedish publication “Hembygden” describes Swedish-Americans of the early 1900’s as being overly optimistic of life in the States and presenting the appearance of America as having “streets paved with gold.”                                       Måns was quite successful in his approach to this Swedish group and with very little preparation they embarked in early 1906 for America. 6 couples and 2 violinists arrived in New York City on February 6, 1906 with little money in their pockets and no performances lined up. Charles K. Johanson, owner of the Swedish-American newspaper Nordstjernan, discovering the group having such difficulty, secured lodging for them at the Swedish Emigrant Home and attempted to arrange some performances for them. New York City, unfortunately, proved to be a dismal opportunity, and the group was sent to Chicago, Illinois, home to a large Swedish-American population. Chicago turned out to be wonderful.   On February 10th, just 4 days after arriving in New York, the group performed to a sell-out crowd of 8,000 persons, in a large auditorium in Chicago. They were welcomed with “thunderous applause.”  With a few dollars in their pockets they now successfully worked their way back to New York City performing on 27 occasions, with their New York debut occurring at Tammany Hall in lower Manhattan.                                                                                                                                        The group finally returned to Sweden after bringing an important part of Swedish heritage to the US. 2 members of the original group remained in New York – Kerstin Andersson and Anders Lustig. Later in 1906 C. G. Bjerstedt met with Anders Lustig and members of the Swedish Gymnastic Society at a Crayfish party to discuss the possibility of organizing a Swedish folk dance group here in New York. On November 14, 1906, C. G.  Bjerstedt and Gustav Arbil founded the Swedish Folkdance Society and became the groups first dance leaders. The mission of the Society was to preserve and develop the Swedish folk dance traditions from all parts of Sweden in the US, especially to the younger generation. This mission is still carried out today.                                                                            In the 1930’s the Society split into 2 distinct groups . . .  the “Swedish Folkdance Society” and the “Swedish Folkdance Ringen.” Both groups continued the Swedish folk dance traditions until in 1967 they again merged into one group called the “Swedish Folkdancers of New York.”                             For both groups, performances abounded . . . Lucia Pageants, performances at Colleges and Universities, at the Worlds Fair, in Europe, at numerous Swedish and Scandinavian events throughout the tri-state area, at museums, Concert Halls, for the King and Queen of Sweden, Arts centers, Lincoln Center, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Battery Park, at the Høstfest in Minot, North Dakota, at restaurants, department stores and specialty locations such as IKEA and on and on. The history of activity of this organization is varied and prolific. To this day they are a group of fun, friendship and ethnic importance as they seek to preserve the culture of bygone years.

2007Elaine Lindquist


Elaine was born in NYC to Edna Peterson Lindquist and Otto Lindquist. She attended Parkville Elementary school in New Hyde Park and Great Neck South HS, both on Long Island. She earned her BS and MS degrees in Elementary Education from Wagner College on Staten Island. Elaine has been married to Kevin McGrath since 1985. (He's Irish, but we know that there's some Swedish blood flowing through those veins especially since the Vikings routinely raided the Irish Isles a few years ago.) They have two beautiful daughters, Kerry and Deirdre, and one handsome son, Brian. It's interesting to note that on the same day as Elaine was honored as Sweden Day Woman of the Year, her daughter, Kerry became Miss Sweden Day 2007. Elaine and her children are active members of Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 (where Elaine is Co-Dance Leader) and of Lodge Olympic #235, VOA, where Elaine is Chairperson.                                                                                                                           

Elaine began her involvement in the NY Swedish American community in 1961 by joining Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1. As a member of the oldest children's club in the Vasa Order of America, she would perform in folk dances and Lucia Pageants year round. Sometimes she had as many as 18 Lucias in the month of December alone. At the age of 11, Elaine was selected to be one of the participants in the Eastern Vasa Youth Tour to Sweden. The group danced and sang all over Sweden. Elaine's talents included being an award winning concert accordionist and she lugged her instrument with to entertain audiences throughout Sweden. In later years she traveled again to entertain the Swedes together with the Vasa Folk Dancers of NY. This time, without the accordion.

It was through Barnklubben Elsa Rix that Elaine became familiar with and eventually joined many of the Swedish American organizations . . . Vasa Folkdancers of NY, Lodge Gösta Saga #78, VOA, Lodge Olympic #235, VOA, where she is Chairperson, and the Sweden Day Committee, where she is President. Besides this remarkable schedule, and running her household, Elaine is the current District 4, VOA, Supervisor of Children's Clubs and is currently writing a folk dance instruction booklet to accompany the double cd Lucia and Folkdance project that she produced for release in 2005. Whew! Can you keep up with all of that?

Elaine and her family are just as comfortable at the local Irish festivals and parades wher Kevin plays the drums for the Sword of Light Bagpipe Band, Pipes and Drums of Local Union #3 IBEW. Elaine likes to remind her "Sword of Light" friends how the Vikings invaded Ireland to impart some of their beauty and musical talent to the locals.

Elaine is one of the founders of Little Saints Preschool of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in West Hempstead, NY, where she is Director. She also teaches the three year old classes at the school. She is an active member of St. Andrew's and has served as a Sunday School teacher and a Vacation Bible School teacher. She volunteers, along with her family, at plant sales, cookie sales, bazaars and maintenance work around the church. She has also chaperoned many church group outings including the ELCA Youth Gatherings in Atlanta, Georgia and San Antonio, Texas.

After Sweden Day, you can find Elaine and her family at Silver Point Beach Club in Atlantic Beach where they relax for 2 months to build themselves up for the next hectic year to come.


2008Richy Bergenson 
2009Brian G. Andersson

Brian G. Andersson is Commissioner of NYC's Dept. of Records & Information Services. He was appointed to that position by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2002. He also served for 8 years in the Giuliani Administration.

Mr. Andersson has dramatically raised the profile of the Dept. of Records and has improved public access to the vast holdings of the Municipal Archives via the internet.

Mr. Andersson is a historian and genealogist of note, specializing in 19th and 20th century immigration, focusing on Castle Garden and Ellis Island arrivals. Most recently, he was involved in the discovery of the true story of Annie Moore, the first arrival through Ellis Island, which made international headlines.

On the Swedish side, Brian has been involved in many, if not all, the events in the city including officiating at Midsommar in Robert Wagner Park reading the Mayor's Proclamation, making known the fact that "The Bronx" takes its name from Jonas Jonasson Bronck of Småland, Sweden. Brian welcomed King Carl XVI Gustaf on his recent trip to New York City.

Mr. Andersson is a native and resident of The Bronx and we honor his achievements in NYC and in the Swedish-American community. 

2010Ken & Susan


Knowing Ken and Suzy Olson is knowing two fun-loving, always-dancing, active-in-organizations personalities.

What event have you visited where you won't find Suzy and her delicious home-baked Swedish Coffee Bread? Where can you go in Vasa and not find Ken "taking over" to make sure that the flag ceremony or initiation ritual is properly performed?

These are two very active people within the Swedish-American and Scandinavian-American community. It is with great pleasure that Sweden Day 2010 honors this dynamic duo.

   Ken and Susan Olson have been fixtures in the Swedish-American community for more than 50 years despite the fact that they were only married just 5 years ago.   Ken grew up reliving Swedish traditions - folk dancing and Lucia performances in New York with Elsa Rix Children’s Club No. 1, then Vasa Youth Club No. 129, then on to the venerated Vasa Folkdancers of New York for a dozen years.

Susan, likewise, was a member of Junior Wings Children’s Club No. 101, graduated to the older group – The Vasa Folkdancers of Long Island.   Later she went on to serve as the leader of Junior Wings club and in 1985 she joined the Vasa Folkdancers of New York and danced with them for more than 10 years.  Today, they both continue to expose their Scandinavian roots with their folkdancing as members of the Swedish Folkdancers of NY.

   They are both active members of Lindbergh Lodge No. 505, Huntington, NY for more than 40 years; he as the Chairman (several times), she as the Recording Secretary.

  Ken has served the Vasa Order of America in a variety of positions over the years in New York District Lodge No. 4; from the District Supervisor of Children’s Clubs right up to District Master.  In 1980 he was instrumental in creating a new lodge in Rockland County – Stenland Lodge No. 727.  He went on to the Grand Lodge as the Supervisor of Children’s & Youth Clubs and was elected as a Member of the Grand Lodge Executive Board.  He continues today as the webmaster for the District Lodge and authors newsletters for both Lindbergh and Stenland Lodges.  He was also a member of Roald Lodge and was a member of Swedish Societies where his dad, Bill Olson (Sweden Day honoree in 1989), was President for so many years.

  Susan was very busy with the Sons of Norway (her mom was Norwegian).  She was a lifelong member of Roald Lodge No. 280 where she was Sports Director for 8 years and President for another 8 years. She has also been the Zone 1 Director and has served 4 years on the 3rd District Board which encompasses the east coast.  Susan was also a very active member for years as the Secretary of the Åland Society.  Presently they are both members of Loyal Lodge No. 252, Sons of Norway, in St. James, NY.

   They are pleased to have made a contribution over the years to perpetuating the values associated with their Scandinavian heritage.  And yes, she is the Susan of Susan’s Swedish Coffee Bread fame.

  Both Ken and Susan have been active on the Sweden Day Committee for many years. To relax, they abandon the New York scene and head for Vasa Park in Budd Lake, NJ, where they enjoy their 'lilla röda stuga' and Vasa friends. It's a time when they can reminisce about all the wonderful people that they have met, exciting places where they have gone and the great memories from their associations.


Elsa Rix #1

The comprehensive story about Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 can be found on their pages at  The following is a brief version of their history.

Helga Hoving, a Swedish immigrant who knew that the American born  children would lose much of their Swedish heritage if something wasn't done to keep it alive,  made a motion at St. Erik's Lodge that a “Barnens Dag” (Children’s Day) should be on the program for the upcoming Vasa Bazaar.  The members unanimously endorsed this motion and mothers were asked to send their children to Helga Hoving’s home on December 10th, 1921 to prepare for the performance by learning dances and Swedish songs.  Helga Hoving was at one time a celebrated actress and singer at the Royal Swedish Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm and she immediately started training the children to sing Swedish songs.  On Saturday, January 22, 1922, the day of the bazaar, a group of thirty children in Swedish folk costumes, singing in Swedish, made their first public appearance.  This was how the Vasa Order’s Barnklubb #1 was established.

After the club's 1933 trip to Sweden, Helga and Johannes Hoving retired and moved back to Sweden and Tant Elsa Rix took over the reigns for over 15 years until her illness and death.  Tant Henny Anderson was chosen as the new leader and it was during this time that the name was changed to Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 in tribute to that dynamic leader.   It was also around this time that members who had passed childhood age, enrolled as members in the “senior club”.  Thus, the Vasa Folk Dancers of New York was formed.

There have been many leaders, assistant leaders and business managers who have given their time, talents and expertise to Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 so that the children and their children to come would be able to share in their Swedish heritage.   Eskil and Tekla Wernblad, Harry Hedin,  Doris Poroma Buday, Elaine Poroma Gyllenhammer, Betty Hermanson, Ingegerd Ericson, Edna Lindquist, Ruth Nelson, Lynn Nelson-Toro, Karin Norrman, Ellen Kritzer, Connie Thorsen, Ada Hedin Chirafisi, Elaine Lindquist McGrath, Stina Jonsson Lawyer and the current Leader Elizabeth Dahlström Schumacher along with her assistants; Kathryn Brown, Deirdre McGrath and Kerry McGrath.

And who played for all the performances and events in Sweden and across America, as well as for the many practice sessions?  Eric Olof Ericson played for us the longest (20 plus years), never accepted pay and was completely dedicated to Barnklubben Elsa Rix.  He faithfully attended all of our practice sessions and carried his accordion and violin to every performance.  Eric Olof, along with his brother Einar (on guitar), welcomed in the Christmas season when they played at our Lucia pageants.  We were also fortunate to have other talented individuals who played for the club through the years:  JoAnn Åkeson, Lillian Anderson, Artie Carlson, Anita Swanson Dreizler, Elaine Poroma Gyllenhammer, Lucille Jacobsen, Ruth Johnson, Dorothy Kvalden, Elaine Lindquist McGrath, Carol Ohlsson Larson, Gladys Nelson, Richard Peterson and Justina Russo.  Others, such as:  Walter Eriksson, Eric Johansson, Wayne Soderlund, Johnnie Soderlund, Jeanne Eriksson Widman Andersen, Chad Widman and Randy Widman have played for Barnklubben Elsa Rix at various performances.

While Helga Hoving was the first music director, many mothers and fathers also helped with the singing through the years.  Yvonne Ericson Dryden was another long-term music director along with her mother Ingegerd Ericson.  Dr. Nina Hallesson Prasso serves as the club’s current music director and was instrumental in training the Elsa Rix children for their Lucia recording.  Not only does she have a beautiful voice, she is also a music teacher who lends her talents to helping the children sing in near-perfect Swedish, on key.  Over the years we have also been blessed with several other mothers who speak and sing Swedish.  Their translations have made the children understand what they are singing about and has added a new insight to the meaning of Lucia.

We couldn’t finish before we mentioned the wonderful parents groups we have had over the years.  The parents transported children, equipment, musicians, leaders, gowns, folk costumes, Lucia paraphernalia; you name it, all over.  They supplied refreshments, support, financing, discipline, applause, encouragement, and anything that was asked of them.  Without the strong support of the parents, Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 wouldn’t be what it is today. 

We are still proudly displaying our Swedish heritage. Our members range in ages from toddlers to teens and they still:  learn Swedish folk dances and songs, present Lucia pageants and the traditions and culture of their ancestors.  Elsa Rix #1 meets at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church at 54 Nassau Blvd., West Hempstead, New York 11552.  For information, contact Elizabeth Dahlstrom Schumacher at



Ulf & Mette Mårtensson


Became involved, albeit from a distance initially, as early as 1985-86. He brought to the table a great deal of writing and publishing experience, but spent most of his time in Europe and Sweden for the first few years. His “career” as a writer began at age 12; his love affair with New York City at age 14. It took him until age 29 to find a good enough reason to regularly go to Gotham, the City of Dreams. He spent the intervening years in a variety of entrepreneurial jobs and completed officer’s training with the Swedish Army. Ulf collected enough points during graduate studies at the University of Lund to earn an M.A. and M.B.A. in International Economics. Fluent in German and English (the latter with a proud Swedish accent), he started and sold a business in northern Germany during his student years in Lund. Entrepreneurial publishing work in all of the Nordic countries, England and Germany led him to Nordstjernan, but he published it from abroad from 1986 until January 1996, overseeing planning, acquisition of equipment and finances. Resident publisher since 1996; publishing now entails from writing, editing, web- and print production, to technical development and sales and much of the time in three shifts...


Came to New York in 1988, hired to shape the future of the Swedish-American newspaper onsite and, at age 26, about half the average age of the rest of the team. She brought an MBA from Lund University and three years of work experience in planning and marketing, an international outlook, a love of New York and immeasurable amounts of energy. The office had recently moved from its first Manhattan location, at 27th Street and Park, to 123 West 44th St., just off Lexington Avenue. Mette became the glue that kept things together through the late '80s and early '90s, with Alvalene at the editorial helm; Erik Hermans heading up production; and Anita, Esther and Gun working reader services and text entry. Mette was instrumental in leading the way for Nordstjernan’s breakthrough into the 20th century – better late than never. What followed was a series of technological evolutions: Erik had one of the first PageMaker desktop publishing programs, with a classic Apple as front-end hooked up to a Linotronic digital typesetter. The office saw subscriber databases, advertising and revenue streams become digitized and molded into a manageable entity—surviving occasional friction and some interesting side tracks along the way.

For  complete story about Nordstjernan  Click Here



Ellen Lindstrom


“The Swedish Meatball"

Ellen grew up “living” Swedish traditions -- daughter of Swedish emigrants, Hans & Maud Lindstrom, this Swedish Meatball comes from a strong Swedish and Swede-Finn (Åland) background, a hands-on dedicated 2nd generation Swedish-American.                      The Manhem Club – it was there that Ellen, as a small child, went with family to the club and experienced live Swedish dancing and accordion music for the very first time.  This event set the stage for Ellen’s Scandinavian musical future.  Intrigued, Ellen wanted to learn the accordion and as a young girl, took lessons at a local music school.  Later, Ellen studied with Eric-Olaf Eriksson, and then with studied with Walter Eriksson – renowned accordionist, recording artist, and Musical Director of the Scandinavian Accordion Club of NY.  To add a little spice to her music, Ellen also took lessons from Italian-American Frank Busso, President of the NJ Accordion Association & Director of the Staten Island Accordion Club. 

(check out her website)

Ellen pursued her talents, especially enjoying Scandinavian / American music – never stopped – and still continues carrying on the old traditions through musical appearances in the tri-state Scandinavian / American Community.  Ellen’s band, “The Swedish Meatballs” – or just this Swedish Meatball – can be seen at just about every IKEA special event!  You've probably seen Ellen strolling the grounds with her little white accordion strapped on at such events as:  ScanFest – bringing smiles to everyone she encounters – and, at the Norwegian Christian Bazaar/Home, Eger Home, Viking Fest, Norsk Høstfest, Vasa Order of America & Sons of Norway lodges, the Circle Line, Norwegian Chamber of Commerce, Scandinavian Club, Scandinavian House, Scandinavian East Coast Museum, Danish Home,  Annual Danish “Fastelavn”  Celebration, Danish Athletic Club, Manhem Club, Gjoa Club, Swedish Football Club......and many other events and private parties where Scandinavian music is longed for.                                                      Ellen is a current member of the Vasa Order of America, Lindbergh Lodge #505, and has been since a youngster.  She served her Swedish culture starting out as a member of Vasa Order Children's Club Jr. Wings #101, then with the Vasa Folk Dancers of Long Island, and finally the Vasa Folk Dancers of NY – dancing at various events, and singing in Luciafests – she even had the pleasure of dancing in Lincoln Center for the King of Sweden.  Ellen also served as a member of the Åland Society, and – of course – the Scandinavian Accordion Club of NY. 

Ellen lives in the old Scandinavian community of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (Yellow Hook).  Ellen is also a successful businesswoman when not squeezing her accordion.  Ellen has held positions with General Mills Toy Group, CBS Fox Video, PolyGram/Universal, National Basketball Association, Answerthink Consulting, Goodman&Company, and is now working at GfK Consumer Research North America.  Even with her heavy work schedule, she manages to continue to promote her Swedish heritage with every spare moment.  In addition, she carries on the old tradition of brewing and donating gallons of homemade glögg every Christmas, following in the footsteps and recipe of her Stockholm-born mother (Maudie).  SKOL



Elizabeth Dahlström-Schumacher


Nancy Dahlström-McCann

Nancy was born to Christian & Doris Horn in Queens NY. When she was two months old her family moved to Irma, WI to live on her family’s farm. Her morföräldrar (maternal grandparents) grew up in Dalsländ and her morfar was a member of the Kings Guard before moving to America. When she was four years old, the family moved back to Queens but continued to visit the farm every summer. It was on the farm that she would hear the stories about the “old country” and her fascination with Sweden began. In 1972 she embarked on a tour of Denmark, Norway, Finland & (of course) Sweden; furthering her love and fascination with the “old country”. While a member of the Lutheran Ladies Bowling League, her friend, Ruth Johnson, introduced her to her brother, Ray. They were married in 1974 (divorced in 1999). Shortly after their marriage, Nancy began to assist Ruth with the Miss Sweden Day Contest. Ray & Ruth Dahlström’s father, Charlie, was born in Bohuslän, Sweden and their mother, Betty, was born in Finland. Ray & Nancy’s two children, Elizabeth & Raymond, both became members of the Manhem Dancers and Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1. Even while working full time for MasterCard International, Nancy found the time to be an active member of the Manhem and Elsa Rix’s parents groups, the secretary of the PTA and the secretary of her church council, to name just a few. 

As a child performing every year at Sweden Day, Elizabeth longed to be crowned Miss Sweden Day. After many tries and “almosts”, Elizabeth was crowned Miss Sweden Day 2000. Following in her family’s footsteps for volunteering, she volunteered to be assistant leader of Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 when she was just 19 years old. Elizabeth took on more responsibilities over the years and moved from assistant leader to co-leader. Upon Elaine McGrath’s retirement, Elizabeth became the leader of Elsa Rix (Kathryn Brown is her assistant leader).  People who volunteer know that once you join one group you continue to join others. While a full-time student at SUNY Old Westbury and working part-time at MasterCard, Elizabeth joined the Sweden Day Committee (was elected to secretary), joined Lindbergh Lodge and the Swedish Folkdancers of NY.  She earned her BA in Politics, Economics & Law from Old Westbury in 2003.  In 2007, Elizabeth married Peter Schumacher.    

In 2008, after many years together, Nancy married her best friend and soul mate, John McCann.  Nancy also retired from MasterCard after 38 years and became even more active in the Swedish/American community.  Nancy is currently the auditor of VASA NY District Lodge #4, treasurer of Sweden Day, a member of the Sweden Day scholarship committee, district deputy for Lindbergh Lodge #505 and the Sunshine Committee correspondent for Olympic Lodge #235. In her down time Nancy can be seen crocheting or knitting something for a person or event, and it is often in yellow & blue.

Elizabeth is working on her Master’s in Emergency Management at Adelphi University.  She is currently the; leader of Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1, vice president of Sweden Day, chairperson of the Miss Sweden Day Contest, secretary of Olympic Lodge #235 and representative on the Norwegian-American 17th of May Committee for Miss Sweden Day.

John and Peter in addition to supporting their wives volunteerism are also members of Olympic Lodge #235 and help out whenever needed.  Both couples live near each other in Whitestone, NY.

Elizabeth and Nancy can be seen at; VASA lodge meetings, VASA conventions, Sweden Day meetings and other Swedish/Scandinavian events both near and far.  The Swedish/American community needs more volunteers like Elizabeth and Nancy and the Sweden Day Committee is proud to honor them this year.




Last Updated  04/18/2014

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