|Jane Iverson, left, with daughter Laura Haider, Bob Haider (son-in-law), and grandaughter Bailey.
BY CHUCK FITZERJust prior to the final 2009 performance of the Variety Show that he helped to start 40 years ago, the late James A. "Jim" Iverson was honored as the latest inductee to the Chisago Lakes High School Wall of Fame. Iverson's wife Jane, daughter and son-in-law Laura and Bob Haider and granddaughter Bailey Haider accepted the award on behalf of Jim, Saturday, March 21 Activities Director Perry Aadland presented Mrs. Iverson with the award.
Iverson was born in 1936 and grew up in a musical family in Stacy, Minnesota. Upon graduation from Forest Lake High School, he served in the Army and was stationed in Germany. He went on to attend St. Cloud State College where he majored in English and Music Education. During his college years he toured overseas with the USO, starring in such shows as "South Pacific" and "The Sound of Music." His beautiful baritone voice charmed audiences over the years, his wife said.
In 1961, Jim and Jane settled in this area where Iverson started his teaching career at Lindstrom-Center City High School. He taught English, Speech and Special Education, but his true passion was directing the high school choirs and musicals. "He loved the choir," said Jane. "It was really important to him." In 1970, the Variety Show started at Chisago Lakes High School. Iverson along with the band directors, co-directed the show which encompassed performances by the Stage Choir, Stage Band, musical solos and skits.
In 1983, he founded Unexpected Company, an adult chorus in the Lakes Area community that continues to perform to this day.
Jim retired from Chisago Lakes High School in 2001 after 31 years of dedication to education. In 2003, he died after a lengthy rehabilitation from a car accident.
Local residents John and Joan Chouinard spoke fondly of Iverson. "One of the things that attracted us to this area," said Joan, "was Jim's music program at the high school. It was a gift to the entire community." Added John, "Jim was a wonderful man, and he was so humble. He was a mentor to our six children and his teaching to them was invaluable." Lindstrom Mayor Keith Carlson was a student of Iverson's in many different classes and activities, including English, Speech, Choir, the class play and the one-act play. "I was happy to take classes from Jim," said Carlson. "As a student, he made you feel comfortable and he always made learning fun."