Many people have come and gone throughout the St. Croix River Valley. Some of them have left a mark that cannot be equaled, now or ever. One such person spent more than half his life making sure the schools in which the Valley children attended were not only adequate, but the best, was Andrew J. Holm.
A.J. Holm was elected to the School Board in 1897, and left his post upon his death in 1939 at the age of 81.
Andrew John Holm was born August 15, 1857 in Smaland, Sweden, about 12 miles north of Vazio. He was the youngest of a family of seven. His parents were John and Sarah Holm, who immigrated to this country in 1865, landing at Otisville on August 28th of that year.
In the fall of 1866, the Holm family acquired the farmstead just a mile and a half south of Scandia.
A.J. was confirmed in the Elim Lutheran Church at Scandia in May 1874. He attended the rural school at Hay Lake, District #2, [now operated by the Washington County Historical Society as a museum] later at Marine, and one term at Stillwater’s Central School. He attended Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota for four years. Also during this time, he taught school in the Scandia and Marine area. During the years of 1874-75, Holm taught four months in District 67 [Copas, MN] earning $28.00 per month. The next school year, he again taught for four months, this time making $37.50 per month.
In the fall of 1883, Holm came to Stillwater and found employment with the St. Croix Lumber Company. He later entered the company of the Minnesota Manufacturing Company, and worked there for more than twenty-five years.
On October 7, 1883, Holm married Miss Hannah Charlotte Copas.
In 1897, Holm ran as the Republican candidate for the Stillwater School Board. He won, although he was living at the time in Center City, MN, and for the most part had no opposition in any election for over forty years.
When Holm was elected to the School Board, he said that he only had “one thought in mind, and that was to learn the business of the schools and make myself felt as a member of the Stillwater School Board.”
During Holm’s time on the School Board, he saw the construction of many new buildings. He saw the expansion of the Senior High School, the Tozer gymnasium, the Junior High School, and the Washington School. In 1897, Frank Weld was the Superintendent of schools. Darius Steward, W.C. Hollands, J.C. Davies, Ross N. Young, and Guy D. Smith succeeded him.
On January 1, 1915, Holm was elected secretary of the Stillwater Board of Water Commissioners and continued to serve in that position until February 1, 1938.
Holm was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater where he served as a trustee and deacon for many years. He was also an active member of the Rotary Club and of the Stillwater Association, and one of the oldest members of the Knights of Pythias.
On Friday night, April 14, 1939, Andrew John Holm, one of the longest serving members of the Stillwater School Board, died at Lakeview Hospital. The funeral was conducted from Trinity Lutheran Church and was officiated by Rev. C.E. Benson.
Holm came to this area as an emigrant from a far away country. He grew up and was educated in the local schools, and when he got old enough, he gave over forty years to make sure that the education that was available to him was available to others.