Morrison County Influentials: 146-150

Can you believe it? We are down to our last 5 Morrison County Influentials. Once I describe last week’s Influentials, of course, which I’ll get right on.

141. Gary Stangl (1954-1995) – Costume designer. Born in Little Falls to Urban and Viola (Gross) Stangl. Graduated from Pierz Healy High School. Received a degree in Theatre Arts from St. Cloud State University in 1976. Was a costume designer from 1976 to 1985 in New York. Worked for Eaves-Brooks Costume Company working on costumes for Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Became a freelance designer and did costuming for various operas, ballets, plays, movies, and commercials. He designed Star Trek costumes for Universal Studio and the costume for McDonald’s “Mac Tonight” advertising campaign. “Mac Tonight” featured a moon-faced piano player and was popular in the late 1980s.

142. Carlos Stroia (b. 1957) – Ballet dancer. Born in Transylvania, Romania. Began training at the School of Choreography in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, at age 8. Started dancing professionally (and internationally) at the age of 14. Defected from Romania at the age of 19 in order to dance with the Compagnia-Clasico Cosi-Stefanescu in Italy. Danced in a variety of ballet companies in 26 countries around the world. Came to Minnesota 1979 to visit a friend in the ballet and was offered a job with the Minnesota Dance Company. The same year, he started teaching ballet part-time at the St. Francis Music Center in Little Falls. He began the Stroia Ballet Studio in Little Falls in 1982 and opened a studio in Brainerd in 1983 and one in St. Cloud in 1985. Stroia became a U.S. citizen in 1987 and continues to teach classical ballet in central Minnesota.

Web links with information on Carlos Stroia:

St. Cloud Area Studio Instructors

Minnesota Dance Festival Guest Companies

143. Mary Kiffmeyer (b. 1946) – Politician. Raised in Pierz, Minnesota. Graduated from Pierz High School, and from St. Gabriel’s School of Nursing with an RN degree. Elected as the 20th Minnesota Secretary of State in November 1998. Was re-elected to the office the following term and served through 2006. She was recently elected to the House of Representatives to serve the people of District 16B. Her term of office is from 2009 to 2001. Kiffmeyer has her own Wikipedia page, plus a number of other online references.

Wikipedia page of Mary Kiffmeyer

Minnesota Legislators Past & Present

Morrison County Record article 10/6/1999

Morrison County Record article 3/13/2000

144. David Nelson (b. 1947) – Geophysicist. Born in Little Falls. Graduated co-valedictorian from Little Falls High School. Co-discoverer of the Margham condensate “oil” field in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Built and managed a computer department for the Exploration Division of ARCO International Oil and Gas. Contractor for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory writing software that will help scientists analyze information from the TERRA spacecraft, which gathers information about the earth’s climate.

More info can be found about David Nelson at the following link:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Aerosol and Cloud Science: People

145. Thomas C. Gordon (1866-1923) – Businessman. Born in Wales. Came to the United States when he was 21, arriving in New York City and moving directly to Minnesota. In 1887, he started working for the Little Falls Water Company in St. Paul, but was transferred to Little Falls within a month. Gordon served as an assistant to the engineer and kept the books for the company. In 1889, he became the Secretary/Treasurer. In 1903, he became the General Manager of the company, which operated the dam in Little Falls. In 1888, he started the Gordon Lumber Company in Little Falls, running it for 3 years. In 1890, he formed the Peoples Ice Company, and ran it for 12 years. Also in 1890 he organized the Little Falls Building and Loan Association and served as its Secretary and Treasurer. He was Secretary of the Little Falls Milling Company from 1890 to 1894 and also served as Secretary of the Little Falls Electric and Water Company. He helped form the Morrison County Electric Light, Heat and Power Company and Pike Rapids Hydro Electric Company. In 1918, he got out of the water power business and started the Gordon Motor Company with his sons Warren and Harker.

Now, I have the pleasure of introducing our final 5 Morrison County Influentials, which Ann Marie will describe in a later post.

146. Jack Niewohner

147. Henning Landahl

148. Joanne Gibson Fluke

149. Arthur P. Blanchard

150. Elliot Kidder

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