Halvorson, Marilyn

(1948 - )

Marilyn Halvorson, daughter of Irene and Trygve Halvorson, was born January 17, 1948 in Olds Alberta. She was raised and still lives in her childhood home on the land her father homesteaded near Bergen.

Marilyn's interest in ranching and storytelling developed early. She tagged along after her father as he worked their ranch and ran her own toy ranch under the piano stool from the time she was very young.

The fall Marilyn was five, X.P. Crispo, the school inspector, asked her mother to teach at Bergen School. When Irene declined because she had a five year-old daughter to care for, he said, "Bring her along and put her with the Grade 2's (there were no Grade 1's that year)." Irene took the job and became Marilyn's teacher for grades 1 to 6.

By junior high, she was breaking and training her own horses. Marilyn won a lot of races in Sundre on a little mare named Goldie. "My Goldie era was probably the best time of my life," Marilyn says.

After graduating in 1964 from Sundre High School, Marilyn managed to endure life in Calgary long enough to earn a degree in education. Her introduction to teaching was in Didsbury where she taught Social Studies to two Grade 9 classes.

Although she went into teaching with no great enthusiasm for the job, Marilyn came to love it. Her years teaching Grade 5 and 6 when she and her students did special things like cross country skiing, baking Christmas cookies and compiling year-end books of students' writings are her favorite teaching memories.

 Marilyn wrote her book Cowboys Don't Cry while she was teaching Grade 7. She submitted the manuscript to a contest sponsored by the Alberta Government and Clarke Irwin Publishers. Her story won the contest and was published. Marilyn's writing career was underway as Clarke Irwin gave her a contract to write nine more books.

Over the next 15 years, she wrote 12 books. Her only non-fiction work, To Everything A Season, written in 1989-90 was one of her favourite writing projects.

After her father's death, Marilyn and her mother lived together on the ranch until the 1980s when Irene's failing health led her to move into Foothills Lodge in Sundre. Today, she cares for several horses, more than 50 Simmental/Hereford cows, a couple of boisterous dogs and a wonderful array of cozy cats to keep her company.

Category: Olds, Sundre