These stories can also be heard Sunday mornings around 10 am on WILD 102’s “Look Back in Time” program. Each week’s radio story will be posted here on our website.
Weekly radio stories are researched, compiled, and read by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member.
October 7, 2023
In January of 1988, a story appeared in the Roseau Times-Region telling about two half-sisters meeting
for the first time. I’ll read their story today.
Two ladies had the privilege over the Christmas holidays to meet. It happens every day, that is that two
strangers are acquainted for the first time. But for these two ladies, the uniqueness fell in a different area
as they are half-sisters who until last week had never met.
Olive Olson has made her home in Roseau all of her life. She was the daughter of Marie Budd who is well
known for her work developing the Budd Hospital in Roseau. Her half-sister, Edith Simonson, makes her
home in Stanley, ND.
How did it happen that the two women met after all these years?
Lana Flaten and her family moved to Roseau this past fall when her husband accepted a position at
Sorensen Chevrolet-Oldsmobile. Lana is employed at the Guest House. After having been in town for a
couple of weeks and having known that her grandmother, Edith Simonson was born in Roseau, Lana
started asking around if anyone lived here whose last name was Budd. She was told that Olive Olson had
been a Budd. So one day, Lana gave Olive a call. She told Olive, “I think we are related.” After hearing
Lana’s story, Olive was certain that they were related as she had always known Edith’s married name.
The two women, Edith and Olive, had the same father. Edith was one of four children in her family. When
Edith was six years old, her mother passed away and consequently the children were split up. At the time
of her mother’s death, the family had been living in Louisiana. Her brother Eugene stayed in Louisiana to
live with his grandmother. The oldest brother, Howard, came back to Roseau with his dad, where they
lived. The two girls, Edith and her sister, Pearl, were placed in homes in North Dakota to be raised.
Edith’s father, Joe Budd, then remarried Marie Budd and the family continued to make their home in
Roseau. To this marriage, three more children were born. They were Stanton, who has passed away;
Laurine, who makes her home in Tennessee, and Olive, who lives in Roseau. Olive also has an adopted
sister, Mrs. Ruth Hall, who Marie Budd had adopted from the Budd Hospital when Ruth was just an
infant. When Olive was five years old, her father left Roseau to make his home in Washington.
Olive had always known she had a sister, Edith, and had tried unsuccessfully several times to contact her.
She had sent several letters over the years but had never received an answer. Olive said, “I always knew I
had a sister, Edith, but didn’t know how to find her. I had sent four or five letters to her but never heard
Olive continued, “I had made it a matter of prayer to find out more about my sister and then Lana moved
here.” Olive definitely feels that her prayers were answered. She said, “If Lana hadn’t moved here, I
wouldn’t have known my sister was still alive.” Olive didn’t even know that Edith had children of her own.
Olive said, “I think it’s great to have family on the Budd side.” She added, “I think of all the years we’ve
missed and our getting together now has been fun.” Regarding all of the past years, Edith added, “We are
going to make up for it now.” It was Edith’s first return to Roseau in 73 years. She’ll be 88 years old in
In addition to Edith, other family members who came to Roseau included Edith’s daughter, Mayo Miller
and her husband Lee; Edith’s daughter, Bernice Hermanson and Bernice’s daughter, LeAnn Bjkonen and
her son, Jason. And of course, Lana Flaten, who finally brought the family together after all of these years
and was present with her children and husband.
On one of the last evenings of Edith’s visit in Roseau, the two sisters called their sister, Pearl, in California
for a long phone conversation.
It was a happy reunion and also one that has opened doors to a family relationship that will not again be
closed. Plans are in the making for Olive to travel to Stanley, ND when the weather gets nicer to visit
Edith at her home. Although many years have passed, the two ladies are going to make every attempt to
get to know each other better and to see more of each other. They thoroughly enjoyed the time Edith
and other family members spent in Roseau going through old pictures and getting acquainted with each
other. After all, sixty-nine years is a long time to catch up on.
Thank you to (www.roseauonline.com) for letting us share our county’s history with your listeners by donating air time, studio time, and production staff every week.