Four named 2013 Distinguished Alumni









Stillwater High School alumni Bruce Beutel, Dr. Edward Elgethun, Hugh Madson and Harriet McPherson are the 2013 Stillwater Area Public Schools Distinguished Alumni, The Partnership Plan announced Monday.

McPherson  is from the class of  1946, Madson the class of 1949, Beutel the class of 1950 and Elgethun class of 1961.

Beutel’s first reaction when he heard the news was

“Wow! That’s quite an honor to be chosen,”

Beutel celebrates 60 years of service at Lake Elmo Bank having climbed from teller to executive vice president, director and shareholder. Although officially retired, Beutel still works two days a week at the bank. He actively organized bankers and employees to establish goodwill among community banking and has been inducted into the Pioneer Banker’s Club of Minnesota Bankers.

Beutel continues to support athletics, arts, St. Croix Valley foundations and non-profit groups. He lives by the 4 Cs of community, commitment, congeniality, and compassion in everything he does.

Beutel’s attention to detail and community support led him to a variety of leadership positions including treasurer and president of the Lake Elmo Lion’s Club where he supported fund raising, annual ice fishing contests, the Cadillac Dinner and morning pancake breakfasts. He helped organize Community Day resulting in thousands of residents having an opportunity to enjoy music, communication, free food and games at Lake Elmo Bank.   Finally, Beutel is known as Mr. Community for his service and has served in many board leadership roles including Lakeview Memorial Hospital, Stillwater Partnership Plan, St. Croix Valley United Way and HIS as a volunteer who delivered Meals on Wheels for many years.

Madson was chosen because he demonstrated the ability to build trust and find common solutions for individuals and organizations while consistently reaching key goals. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Madson was employed by the Employee Benefits Division of Aetna Life Insurance Co. He rose through numerous sales roles to the position of manager of the Minneapolis office with the responsibility of managing Aetna representatives providing client services.

Madson retired from Aetna to work in the field of benefit plan and health care management consulting. He helped develop the Trust Department at the First State Bank and Trust in Bayport, then joined the bank’s board of directors, becoming board chairman until he retired in 1999.

Madson helped organize the Lake Elmo Volunteer Fire Department and assisted in development of the Lake Elmo water system. He currently lives at Boutwells Landing and assisted in planning the care center while fundraising for the new facility in the Stillwater community.

“I was surprised, I’m not sure exactly what the criteria is for the award but I do feel honored,” Madson said.

McPherson said she was honored to be chosen for the award as well. She received an elementary education degree and taught in the public and private schools. She was a volunteer with a history of service in Washington County and politically active leader for the Minnesota House of Representatives.  She was a member of the First Farm Family and was recognized by former Gov. Al Quie for service to the State Board of Jobs and Training.

McPherson also served in a leadership role for the Minnesota News Council and was recognized as WCCO’s Good Neighbor. Additionally, she and her family are pre-marriage counselors and loyal members of the St. Charles Catholic Church in Bayport where she served as Women’s Council president.

McPherson’s education includes serving with fellow family members at the U of M’s Agricultural School where her studies and leadership improved the conditions for the 110 cows on the family farm. As 4-H supporters, she and her family have been long-time supporters of FFA and multiple county agricultural committees.

Elgethun was honored because he is inspirational as a scientist and scholar. His community leadership included the Boy Scouts in the United States and Great Britain. Elgethun used his leadership, skills and talents while an Air Force Academy cadet, where he studied Latin, Greek, English and math until being injured in service.

Elgethun’s math and science education allowed him to apply algorithms for studies in space, satellite orbits, maneuvers and processing of satellite data. He served as a member of the Apollo 13 Orbit Design Team where he helped with the safe return of astronauts from space to Earth. He later became a chief engineer for SCITOR Corp. and designed and developed commercial satellites and respective analytics to eliminate errors in the field.

Elgethun is currently working with scientists at Sandia Labs in New Mexico to determine orbits of dark matter with a possibility of discovering a viable energy source. He was published in numerous scholarly journals and pioneered a new method of using satellite time measurement and dynamics to locate communication signals and sources of interference.

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