April 19, 2017

2017 – AoM

The following SCA Awards of Merit were presented at the Union League of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Friday, May 5, 2017, as part of the 2017  Spring SCA Council Meeting.

Lindy Alexy

“When Linda Alexy got involved in the museum in 2004, she jumped in with both feet. She quickly took on leadership roles in the Auxiliary, serving as their Membership secretary and also Treasurer. She is a constant volunteer at every event of the Auxiliary and has been a key

David Baker, SCA Awards & Recognition Committee Chair, surrounded by the 2017 Spring SCA Award recipients

member of many of the group’s ideas for generating more revenue for the museum. She runs the Auxiliary’s deli at Lucia which generates thousands of dollars of profit every year. Linda is one of the museum’s top 5 volunteers in terms of numbers of hours served per year. She has recruited her husband Ken and Mother Elin to also become super active volunteers. Together they volunteer about 300 hours per year for the museum!

Linda has been involved in many other local Swedish groups, including the Oscar’s Borg Lodge, New Sweden Alliance and the Swedish Colonial Society. She has held leadership positions in most of these organizations as well. She is an enthusiastic supporter of all things Swedish-American!”

Nominated by Tracey Beck, Executive Director, American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Janet Anderson

“Janet is of Swedish heritage and has served the New Sweden Centre for twelve years – eight of them as president. She was instrumental in developing the path for future success of the organization to keep the New Sweden story alive in the minds of the youth of the Delaware Valley through a partnership with Junior Achievement of Delaware.  From 1998 to date, Janet has served and continues to serve as a volunteer sailor on the Kalmar Nyckel, helping to preserve Swedish maritime history and also serves as treasurer of the Delaware Swedish Colonial Society.  Her amazing capacity to serve as a volunteer to promote early Swedish settler history is remarkable, especially in light of maintaining a full time professional position as an engineer.  NSC is proud of Janet’s accomplishments and is pleased to nominate such a deserving person for the award.  Janet’s nearly twenty years of commitment to preserving Swedish heritage is admirable.”

Nominated by Theresa McKenna, Secretary, New Sweden Centre, Wilmington, DE

Sonja-Jeanette Baker

“The daughter of Swedish immigrants, Sonja-Jeanette was raised with Swedish culture and has perpetuated those traditions throughout her membership in the Vasa Order.

She joined as a member of Frithiof Lodge #63 in 1968 and was a charter member of Three Crowns Lodge #704 when it was founded in April 1974. During the 43 year membership in Three Crowns, Sonja-Jeanette has held numerous offices within the lodge. These include: Chairman, Vice Chairman, Cultural Leader, Chaplain, and Assistant Financial Secretary. She was the co-founded of the lodge Jul Bazaar. On a district level, Sonja-Jeanette served for 18 years as the District Chaplain. Musically talented, Sonja-Jeanette established and leads the District Choir which performs annually at the NJ Vasa Convention. For many years, Sonja-Jeanette organized and led the annual Julotta, Christmas morning service which was given in Swedish at dawn in the local Vasa Home Park.

As a member of the Scandinavian American Heritage Society, Sonja—Jeanette represented the Swedish Culture within that organization. She participated in the planning and execution of the SAHS Annual Scandinavian Midsummer Festival which was held on local NJ college campuses and well-attended by the general public.

Music plays a huge role the perpetuation of a culture. Sonja-Jeanette holds a lifelong love of all music and continues to share this passion as a violin teacher. Some of her students are young Vasa members who with whom Sonja-Jeanette has performed traditional songs at local Vasa events, such as the Memorial Day service. Donning Swedish traditional dress, Sonja-Jeanette can be found playing her violin during the Lucia Pageant at the annual Juls Dans or past Midsummer events, both held at NJ Vasa Park.

Clearly, Sonja-Jeanette continues to play a role in the ongoing success of the NJ Vasa Order and the preservation of cultural traditions. No one is more deserving of recognition for her contributions than Sonja-Jeanette Baker.”

Nominated by Annemarie O’Donnell, Secretary, VOA – Three Crowns Lodge #704, Hackettstown, NJ

Ronald S. Beaty

“Ronald S. Beatty was the editor of Vol. 6 “A” and “B,” “The Wrangel Years, “Gloria Dei Record Project; assisted the editor Ken Petersen with Vol. 7. ; Dr. Kim-Eric Williams is the transcription editor who transcribed all of the material for Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig from Swedish into English.  These publications constitute the major “missing link” in chronicling the dramatic history of Swedish settlement and culture on the Delaware River in the 17th and 18th centuries, the records of the Swedish churches in Delaware and New Jersey having been translated and published in 1890 and 1938 respectively.

Ronald S. Beatty is the author of “The Rambo Family Tree,” a five volume set chronicling the descendants of Peter Gunnarson Rambo, which was accepted into the Swedish Embassy Library in Washington, D. C. by Ambassador Jonas Hafstrom in 2013.  Ambassador Hafstrom honored Ron with a reception at the ambassador’s residence in D.C.

Ronald S. Beatty (with his wife) chaired the digitization of the Peter Stebbins Craig Collection, including raising $30,000 dollars to fund the project.  Ron worked with Herbert Rambo to update the Swedish Colonial Society website; Ron is working with John Tepe to get the Peter Stebbins Craig Collection online in addition to creating Family Group Sheets for sale online.  Ron and his wife serve on the SCS Archives Committee.

Ronald S. Beatty serves as co-genealogist of the Swedish Colonial Society (SCS) with his wife, authored articles for the Swedish Colonial Society Journal, including his discovery of the Swedish immigrant Anders Bengtsson’s DNA.  The article was reprinted in Sweden’s DNA periodicals in 2014, with a response from Sweden’s genetic expert Magnus Baeckmark which was published in the spring 2016 SCS Journal.”

Nominated by Michael R. D’Andrea, Governor, Swedish Colonial Society, Philadelphia, PA

Erik Burro

“Erik is the grandson of the Swedish-American composer/arranger Erik W.G. Leidzén. He has promoted “New Sweden” history for over four decades. He has served New Sweden Centre, as a volunteer, for twelve years. His presentations, as a first person interpreter of historic characters, including John Morton, Finnish/Swede and signer of the Declaration of Independence, bring history alive to all, but especially to youth. He has also shared his research, lent us his professional sound equipment, and served as advisor on several projects.  He is currently helping us promote NSC Settler’s Trunks, a hands-on teaching tool for use in schools, organizations and museum interested in teaching about New Sweden Colonial settlers. NSC is privileged to have such an accomplished volunteer.”

Nominated by Aleasa Hogate, Vice President, New Sweden Centre, Wilmington, DE

Max E. Dooley

“In 1988, Max Dooley and his family became parishioners of Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church in Wilmington, DE.  This was the start of Dooley’s fascination with Delaware’s colonial history and the history of Old Swedes in particular. He was a board member of the Old Swedes Foundation, Inc. for over 18 years serving in numerous capacities and offices. It was through his association with Old Swedes, he became interested in colonial Swedish history and the local Swedish organizations.  Currently, he is a board member and a member of the Delaware Swedish Colonial Society. He has served as a Councilor of the Swedish Colonial Society and for three years served as editor of the ‘Swedish Colonial News.”

He volunteers for numerous charitable organizations and regularly serves as a docent at Old Swedes Historic Site. He is always cheerfully on call for any number of duties at Old Swedes, and is a friendly and helpful participant at most, if not all, of the events held on site.  When asked by visitors to the site if he has Swedish ancestry, Dooley states, “he is Swedish by ‘adoption’.”   Additionally, Max is contributing to the research/archive resources of Old Swedes by his work on a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at the University of Delaware. His thesis project is entitled “Methodology Development for Retrieval and Digitization of the Burial Records of Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church, Wilmington, Delaware.”

Max’s interest in history and genealogy led to membership in the Sons of the American Revolution and the Jamestowne Society.”

Nominated by Rebecca L. Wilson, Executive Director, Old Swedes Foundation, Wilmington, DE

Donna Draper

“In 2015, Donna Draper was honored as a ‘mainstay’ of Community Day by the Newark Parks & Recreation Department. We at Old Swedes feel she is a ‘mainstay’ not only here but also in the many other organizations, many of them Swedish-related that she serves as a volunteer. Donna has worked as visitor services coordinator at Old Swedes Historic Site for over 6 years, and in addition volunteers her time for special events. She serves on the Board of Directors of the New Sweden Centre, as a Trustee with the Delaware Society for the Preservation of Antiquities/Hale-Byrnes House, the Newark Historical Society, and as Recording Secretary, Friends of the Bear (DE) Library.

Donna takes special delight in the annual Sankta Lucia celebration at Old Swedes, which she helps to manage, and has seen all six of her grandchildren participate, three of them as Lucia.

The City of Newark (DE) awarded her the 2015 Jefferson Award for her longtime – 40+ years – work for the Parks and Recreation Department first as an employee, then as a volunteer, including Special Events Coordinator for the city. Her other volunteer involvement includes the Delaware Swedish Colonial Society, Newark Senior Center, White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church, and other community organizations.

Though Donna does not have Swedish ancestry, her husband is a descendent of Charles Springer. She works diligently with all of the Swedish organizations to tell the story and history of the early Swedish settlers and to keep Swedish traditions alive in Delaware.”

Nominated by Rebecca L. Wilson, Executive Director, Old Swedes Foundation, Wilmington, DE

Inger Hanright

  • A native born Swede
  • United States and Canada:  Vasa Order of America Grand Lodge Cultural Director
  • District 6 New Jersey Vasa Order of America Cultural Leader
  • Frithiof Lodge No. 63:  Active member and officer for many years
  • Resident in the Homes section of New Jersey Vasa Park
  • She designed the Rune Stone monuments for N.J. Vasa Park and Rhode Island Vasa Park
  • Chairs and prepares fund-raising dinners and events
  • Always on hand for whatever is needed, socially and statewide.  She is an “unsung hero”
  • Provides informative cultural programs
  • Sews Swedish Costumes for youngsters and adults.  She’s given cultural programs on Swedish Costumes also.
  • Key participant in Vasa Park’s annual Jul Bazaar

Nominated by Annemarie O’Donnell, Secretary, VOA – Three Crowns Lodge #704, Hackettstown, NJ

William “Hutch” Hutchison

“On behalf of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, I nominate William “Hutch” Hutchison for SCA’s Award of Merit.  As a legendary and distinguished teacher and school vice principal for 35 years in Delaware, “Mr. Hutch” or just “Hutch” has made extraordinary contributions to the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation’s education programs and mission.  As Hutch puts it, he ran away to sea upon his retirement and joined the Kalmar Nyckel volunteer crew in 2003.  Since then he has brought Sweden and sailing to life for a generation of students, public visitors, distinguished guests (including Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia), trainees, colleagues, and shipmates.

Inspirational, knowledgeable, and indefatigable about all things Kalmar Nyckel, Hutch presently serves as our Lead Educator Emeritus, a life-time appointment created by KNF to recognize his role as our leading educator, guide, and public ambassador.  As a liaison to teachers and schools throughout the state and as our former Education Coordinator, Hutch Hutchison has played an essential role in transforming our ship from an interesting 17th-century replica that sails into one of the region’s great educational resources.

A former teacher of the year in Delaware and volunteer of the year at KNF, Hutch has logged over 10,000 volunteer hours for us and demonstrated an unmatched commitment to our ship, our Swedish heritage, and our educational mission.  For that, for his leadership, and for a whole lot more besides, William “Hutch” Hutchison deserves recognition by the Swedish Council of America..”

Nominated by Sam Heed, Senior Historian & Director of Education, Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, Wilmington, DE

Kristina Kalb

“Kristina Kalb has been a member of the American Swedish Historical Museum for over 35 years. During that time she has found innumerable ways to use her talents on its behalf. She is a longtime member of the museum’s Auxiliary and has worked with them for decades on the programs they present for the public. She served as the group’s president from 1989-1991. She also served as the leader for the annual Lucia program for many years, returning to that role again in 2016. She was an active member of the Swedish Museum Singers throughout the group’s existence.

She is a gifted seamstress and artist and has created Christmas and Easter workshops over the years to teach people how to make traditional Swedish crafts. In addition, she has used her skills to create beautiful items to be sold at the museum’s auctions and bazaars. In 2014, she once again volunteered her seamstress skills to assist with creating the 10 Joseph Frank textile wall hangings that decorate the renovated Assembly Room.”

Nominated by Tracey Beck, Executive Director, American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Ann Gardern Kohler

“Ann Kohler has been active in the Augustana Heritage Association since 2008, serving as Secretary, Chair of the Finance committee, and two terms as Vice President.  Last year she co-chaired the very successful Augustana Valedictory celebration in Lansdale, PA, including authoring a 65-page Brief History of the Augustana Lutheran Church. She grew up in the Swedish community of Mt. Jewett, PA, was active in her congregation and was a youth delegate to the national synod in Washington, DC, and the Lutheran World Federation meeting in Hannover, Germany.

Ann founded her own fund-raising organization and has assisted hundreds of congregations throughout the nation. She has been national President of the Lutheran Church Women and has served on the National Board of Church Women United. In September 2016 she was unanimously elected as President of the Augustana Institute.”

Nominated by Rev. Dr. Kim-Eric Williams, Curator, Augustana Institute at the Lutheran Archives Center, Philadelphia, PA.

John B. Morton, Jr.

“John Morton has been an integral part of the New Sweden Alliance since its conception. A fierce supporter of our cause, he helped craft our mission and vision, draft our constitution and bylaws, and set up our financial structure.

Smoothing bumps in the road and clearing the path for our largest project to date—entertainment of Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden and Speaker of the Parliament of Finland, Mr. Eero Heinäluoma and his wife, Ms Satu Siitonen-Heinäluoma and the celebration of the 375th anniversary of New Sweden—John’s work was critical to our success. Since that time, he has actively continued to serve on our steering committee and as our board representative from the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation (KNF). An emeritus board chairman of KNF, he shares his time and talents for no compensation from KNF or New Sweden Alliance.”

Nominated by Sheila Romine, President, New Sweden Alliance, Inc., Yorklyn, DE.

Chris O’Brien

“Chris O’Brien has served as secretary for the New Sweden Alliance for five years. Her loyalty and dependability are remarkable. Not a part of any of our member organizations and not of Swedish heritage, Chris serves out of support for our cause—the preservation of history and culture in our area—and her heart of community volunteerism.

Chris works at our events, comes regularly to our meetings, and brings a smile wherever she goes. She has kept our records, notified our members, collected our mail, and prepared our rack cards for her entire tenure thus far”

Nominated by Sheila Romine, President, New Sweden Alliance, Inc., Yorklyn, DE.

Kristina Johnson O’Doherty

“Kristina O’Doherty discovered the ASHM when she decided to look into her family history when she retired from the FBI in 2003. This began a passion for genealogy which continues to this day. Kristina quickly went from being helped with her own research to becoming one of the lead researchers for the ASHM’s genealogy club. These volunteers devote countless hours to helping people find their own Swedish roots.

But she didn’t stop there, she also got actively involved in the museum’s Auxiliary, the Spring Ting Committee (including several years chairing the event) and 3 terms on the museum’s Board of Governors, including leading the Development Committee. Kristina is one of those people who derives great satisfaction from serving in whatever capacity is needed for an organization that she truly loves.”

Nominated by Tracey Beck, Executive Director, American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Sheila Romine

“Sheila Romine has served as the President of the New Sweden Alliance since its inception and initial officer election in 2012. Over the years attempts have been made to form organizations bringing together local groups who share a mission related to the 17th century New Sweden Colony multiple times. The New Sweden Alliance is the most successful of these attempts, largely due to Sheila’s successful leadership of the group.

Even though the group initially formed to create collaboration around the 375th anniversary of the colony’s commemoration in 2013, Sheila ensured that the New Sweden Alliance had a well-thought out structure, non-profit status, and a mission that would keep it relevant beyond the initial celebration. She was successful in overseeing a planning process that was inclusive and involved all the groups, no matter their size, in the celebration events. She personally oversaw the organization’s logo production and subsequent revision, as well as the creation of the website.

Since 2013, she has kept the organization going through regular meetings and honing in on a few key public outreach initiatives. She actively maintains the group’s social media platforms, using them as a way to help bring interest to the various groups that are a part of the New Sweden Alliance. Sheila is both organized and creative and has set a tone of collaboration that has served the New Sweden Alliance well for its first 5 years of existence.”

Nominated by Tracey Beck, Board Steering Committee member, New Sweden Alliance, Inc., Yorklyn, DE

Earl E. Seppala

“Earl. E. Seppala has devoted his time and energy to a wide range of organizations, among them 9 historical and four Scandinavian, but which also include five military/patriotic, three educational, two recreational, and professional engineering. Proud of his Finnish heritage, he has diligently served as a board member and/or officer for the following:

  • Old Swedes Foundation, Inc./Historic Site
  • Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
  • Delaware Swedish Colonial Society
  • Swedish Colonial Society
  • Delaware Valley Finnish Americans
  • Sister Cities of Wilmington (Wilmington’s sister city is Kalmar, Sweden)
  • American Swedish Historical Museum

Additionally, for 1½ years, he served as Acting Executive Director of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation. An active and contributing member of every organization he is involved in, Earl Seppala’s work continues to benefit not only his local community, but also the wider world of Scandinavian heritage, history and Swedish-American relations. Seppala is a member of the New Sweden Conference committee, which organizations a conference each fall about Swedish heritage in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Earl and Sylvia, his wife of over 50 years, serve together in many of the same organizations. A commissioned officer of the U.S. Army, he served 2½ years on active duty, followed by almost 30 years of service in the Army National Guard. He retired in 1993 with the rank of Brigadier General. As a mechanical engineer, he worked for 30 years with E.I. DuPont Co. and four with Dade Behring, Inc., and was awarded four US and three foreign patents.”

Nominated by Rebecca L. Wilson, Executive Director, Old Swedes Foundation, Wilmington, DE

Rev. Dr. Kim-Eric Williams

“Rev. Dr. Kim-Eric Williams is the Swedish Colonial Society’s Historian and Honorary Governor. He has worked with Ronald Beatty on Vol. 6 “A” and “B,” “The Wrangel Years, “Gloria Dei Record Project; he is assisting the editor Ken Petersen with Vol. 7. Rev. Dr. Kim-Eric is the transcription editor who transcribed all of the material for Dr. Craig from Swedish into English.

Kim-Eric has been working on this project (Volumes 1-6A and 6B) for 20 years. Kim-Eric does the translating and Ron does the indexing and proofreading.

These publications constitute the major “missing link” in chronicling the dramatic history of Swedish settlement and culture on the Delaware River in the 17th and 18th centuries, the records of the Swedish churches in Delaware and New Jersey having been translated and published in 1890 and 1938 respectively. Kim-Eric Williams’s past publications are prolific and profound.”

Nominated by Michael R. D’Andrea, Governor, Swedish Colonial Society, Philadelphia, PA