BIO Index

Edna Amsden


After graduation in 1961, I was so excited to go to FSU because they had an Associate of Arts program (2-year degree) in would you believe... "Secretarial Science." I loved FSU!! During the freshman year my roommate, Dotty Clark Thomas, came rushing back to our room in Reynolds Hall one day and asked me if I 'd like a cookie. Of course, I said ~sure." She offered her tin of cookies, supposedly just received in the mail from her mother; but when I opened the tin, I shrieked and immediately withdrew in horror. She had borrowed a fetal pig from the zoology lab & placed the specimen in her cookie tin! Therefore, the image of her practical joke forever tarnished the kind and sweet reputation she enjoyed! Just kidding!

As fate would have it at the end of my freshman year, FSU discontinued that 2-year AA secretarial program! I was so disappointed about it but continued on at FSU another full year, then returned to Sarasota as I didn't have the bucks for more schooling. I was fortunate to get a job as Legal Secretary with the Icard, Merrill, Cullis & Timm law firm. After 3 years of legal work, I knew I should either find a way to go back to school to become a lawyer or do something more exciting to me (like traveling).

After sending in an application in 1966 to Northwest Orient Airlines (that's what it was called then but, of course, now it's Delta), they enticed me north by sending a ticket to fly to Minnesota for an interview. What I didn't tell them is that I had never flown before. But they offered me the job of stewardess and in those days I had to sign a form stipulating that if I reached the age of 32 or married, I would voluntarily resign. As we all know, how different the times were then! Such discrimination!!

When I had earned enough vacation time, I enjoyed several trips abroad. The most memorable was when I traveled to the former Soviet Union in January 1969. It had taken a good bit of time to go through the red tape (literally) to obtain my visa and other documentation through the Soviet Embassy and Intourist for travel into Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). My appreciation and love for the good ole USA grew exponentially during and after that trip!

1 years later my real dream came true when Ed Koelfgen and I got married in Sarasota on the hottest day of the year: 96F in the shade! After our honeymoon in Jamaica, we returned to Minnesota. Obviously, the rules at NWA had dramatically changed by then. Ed, a Minnesota native, who was then employed with a FET (field-effect transistor) company out of California, had the job of Regional Sales Manager and covered the central area of the U.S. out of Minnesota. Our babies were born in '73 and '75 so by the end of 1976 I was totally ready to resign from flying (after 10 years of it) so I could be home with our son Scott and daughter Syri. I am (to this day) so thankful for that time.

Our son, Scott, was a place-kicker on the University of Minnesota football team & graduated in 1996 with a B.S. in Kinesiology. He is now an Account Manager for Periscope, an advertising firm in downtown Minneapolis (which has the Minnesota Twins account)! Our daughter, Syri, received her B.A. with a major in Physics, a concentration in Astrophysics, and a minor in Math from the University of Pennsylvania; her Masters of Engineering (Aerospace & Mechanical) from Cornell; and her Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Alabama "Huntsville" with a fellowship at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. She spent a couple of years working in Mission Control in Houston but decided she preferred hands-on R&D. NASA transferred her to Dryden Flight Research Center where, among other responsibilities, she is on the engineering team designing the future space vehicle to replace the shuttle.

It was 1986 when Ed and I started our manufacturers rep company selling products in the electronics, semiconductor, medical, computer, contract-manufacturing, and industrial markets. We re still diligently working as K-REP, Inc.

Our free time in the spring & summer is treasured as we try to stay healthy by walking (with hand weights), gardening (yes, we do plant in Minnesota), occasionally fishing and visiting with relatives & friends. Wintertime is magically beautiful with the blue cloudless sky and the bright sunshine sparkles on the snow (like right now) and we do read a lot, with the aim of keeping up with all the new technology. A warm fireplace helps when our almost 12-year-old Sphynx cat is purring.

We are indeed eager to travel to Sarasota for some of that wonderful Florida sunshine in May! At the moment I'm writing this the straight-up temperature here is a mere -12F (the wind-chill is -25F)! These temperatures really don't represent a typical day in Minnesota; but when they do happen, it's time to stay inside and have some hot chocolate or something! I do look forward to introducing Ed to those of you that haven't met him yet and for Ed to meet so many of you great folks that I knew at SHS!!

Edna Amsden Koelfgen