For love of education

RCHS grad Eleanore (Froelke) Beise donates $10,000 to fund new pharmacy scholarship for RC area students

Eleanore (Froelke) Beise

Eleanore (Froelke) Beise

Eleanore (Froelke) Beise has given something back to the school community that helped prepare her and her husband, Merlin Beise, for the real world.

At 90 years old, she remains a big believer in education. She graduated from Rush City High School in 1941.

Beise recently donated $10,000 to the Rush City Education Foundation toward funding a new scholarship for students in pursuit of furthering their education in pharmacy. Established in memory of her husband, the Merlin and Eleanore Froelke Beise Pharmacy Scholarship will be awarded for the first time at graduation ceremonies this spring at Rush City High.

The Rush City Education Foundation, which also has started the Richard G. Schneider Memorial Scholarships, is a nonprofit organization that aims to enhance and invest in educational opportunities for students of Rush City area schools.

For Eleanore Beise, her roots run deep in Rush City, where her love of education began. The daughter of Frank and Artemise Froelke, who were prominent members of the Rush City community, she was the youngest in the family with brothers Leonard, Lawrence and Ambrose watching over her.

“My brothers took good care of me, but they were fussy because they wanted the best for me,” said Beise, who lives in New Brighton.

Along with reading, writing and arithmetic, music was a big deal in her family. She and her brothers had their instruments, and she continued to sing and play piano and organ throughout her adulthood.

“Rush City was wonderful,” Beise said. “At school, I was very active and busy all of the time with music, singing and different clubs.”

Her class consisted of 40 students, and they still plan and have reunions.

“School was good; I enjoyed it, and we had such nice teachers,” Beise noted. “I was third in my class, which had a lot of nice kids. And I still hear from my old classmates.”

When asked about the Rush City scholarship named in her and Merlin’s honor, she immediately thought of her husband and the long road he took in becoming a pharmacist. It was because of this journey, along with the impact of Rush City schools and the fact that the Beises never had children, that he wanted to set up a scholarship fund to help aspiring pharmacists pay for college.

Merlin passed away in 2000, but his legacy will live on through a memorial scholarship that will provide up to $1,000 a year and, Beise hopes, will grow over the years.

“Merlin went into pharmacy, and I thought other people would enjoy it as Merlin did,” Beise

Merlin Beise

Merlin Beise

said. “It was a long haul for him to become a pharmacist. A lot of people are hindered by finances, so we wanted to help students become successful in pursuit of a pharmacy career.

“Merlin said he hoped to establish a scholarship for Rush City schools and students interested in pharmacy,” she added.

A life of education, rewarding careers

Beise remembered the time she met Merlin at Rush City High.

“He sat in front of me (in class) and gave me a ride in his little car every day,” she reminisced. “He gave me rides because my folks lived on a farm off Rush Point Road near Rush City.”

Merlin, who grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Robbinsdale, moved with his family to Rush City with a year left of high school. After graduating from RCHS, he went into the service and was a pilot, flying a P-51 Mustang, in England during World War II. He was all of 18 years old at the time and served in the armed forces for about five years.

Wedding bells sounded for Eleanore and Merlin less than a year after he returned, in August 1946, and he continued his schooling at the University of Minnesota.

“He felt it was important to go back to school, and I insisted,” she stressed with a smile. “Merlin was so kind, generous and good to everybody.”

As for Eleanore, her passion for learning led to a well-rounded education and career, too. Following high school, she attended the Minneapolis School of Business for two years and took classes at the University of Minnesota. She was offered a full-ride scholarship at St. Mary’s in Winona, Minn., but opted against it because of the distance.

“I could have gone, but I didn’t want to leave home at the time,” Beise said.

In her schooling, she enjoyed studying business and other subjects of interest. She noted her business-savvy parents back in Rush City had quite the influence.

“They wanted Merlin to start a pharmacy in Rush City,” she said.

Though he indeed started a pharmacy, Merlin opted to do so in South Minneapolis.

“We were starting out and decided (on settling on city life),” Beise explained. “Merlin was the first state inspector for pharmacies in the state of Minnesota. Now there’s seven in that position.”

Beise said she worked in several different jobs throughout her career, including at the pharmacy with her husband. She especially loved helping people run their businesses through office roles and management positions, she said.

She worked for one employer for almost 20 years, and she particularly liked the traveling that came with the job, as she went on many business trips.

“For 18 years, I had a wonderful boss,” Beise said. “He was the president of Smith System Manufacturing Company, and I was the secretary to the president.”

She added, “I’ve been so lucky with such a wonderful life, husband and family. I’ve been so blessed.”

For more information on the Rush City Education Foundation, visit www.rushcityeducationfoundation.org.

Other big donations

The Rush City Education Foundation recently received two other significant contributions, which will assist the nonprofit in achieving its mission.

Dennis Pederson, from Dollars for Scholars, donated $17,973.32. Serving on the Dollars for Scholars committee for more than 30 years, he and remaining member Dorthy Johnson decided to disband and roll their money to the Education Foundation.

Elaine Schneider donated $5,000 to be used for scholarships. Her husband, Dick, was a graduate of Rush City High School. The Schneiders operated Schneider Chevrolet in Rush City for years and played a significant role in Rush City.

“Our heartfelt thanks go out to these generous donors who will positively impact Rush City students for years to come,” the Education Foundation posted on its website.

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