Henry and Elsie Roiger

Roigers leave legacy gift to community

Roigers leave legacy gift to community

The community of Springfield will receive a gift of more than a million dollars by bequest from Henry and Elsie Roiger.

In her Last Will and testament, Elsie Roiger directed that twenty percent of the money be set aside in a fund to be used for future maintenance, repairs and operating expenses of the Springfield Area Community Center.

Eighty percent of the money, Mrs. Roiger requested, be expended within three years to provide improvements, equipment or landscaping for the Community Center.

However, if the  funds exceed the reasonable amount required to provide such improvements, equipment or landscaping for the Community Center, Mrs. Roiger directed, that remaining funds be utilized to provide permanent improvements to city parks and recreational facilities.

The Springfield City Council and Springfield Community Facilities Committee were recently notified of the gift and the terms of the will.

 Members of the Community Facilities Board were amazed at the amount of the bequest, although they were aware of Mrs. Roiger’s appreciation and pride in the Community Center. She had contributed generously to the capital campaign to construct the building, she loved the garden at riverside, and she had provided plants from her yard for the garden when it was developed.

Those who knew the Roigers well, however, were not surprised that she chose a gift of nature. The Roigers strongly supported conservation projects and enjoyed nature.

In 1987, Henry and Elsie Roiger were named Brown County’s Outstanding Conservation Farmers by the Brown Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The Roigers became cooperators with the Brown SWCD in 1959 and developed a conservation plan for their land. The plan included a good crop rotation, farmstead windbreak, drainage, sod waterways, stock watering ponds and wildlife habitat plants.

Henry Roiger took the lead role in convincing neighbors and others that a multi-purpose dam be constructed between the rolling hills in the permanent pasture on his Stately Township farm.  He invested a goodly sum of his money in the project.   In the fall of 1986 his idea became a reality as the multi-purpose dam was constructed.

At that time, Henry was asked why he wanted to get involved in the very costly project at a time in his life that neared retirement. “I’m going to enjoy this (the dam) as long as I live,” he was quoted in the Advance-Press as responding. “And it is going to be here for the people after.”

That statement pretty well sums up the Roigers’ philosophy and values.

The Roigers were conservative, happy, hard-working farmers who lived a simple life.  They lived through the Great Economic Depression and learned to economize.  Money was not their focus, but they accumulated wealth by tending to their business of farming, and living a frugal lifestyle. 

Elsie was a dedicated farmwife and homemaker. She worked alongside her husband planting and harvesting, milking cows, shelling corn, and whatever needed doing. She raised chickens, and grew vegetables and flowers in her gardens.  Her passion was raising chrysanthemums, with dozens of flowers in a variety of strains and colors. She provided bouquets for weddings, anniversaries and parties and was happy to send visitors home with a big bouquet of mums for their very own. Members of her church remember her bringing big bouquets of flowers for various occasions.

 From the produce of her garden, Elsie did lots of canning — especially pickles.  The Roigers enjoyed visitors and liked to entertain at games of cards, and Elsie always served “a little lunch,” that included sandwiches and pickles.

Her community spirit showed in the many scrapbooks she made. She clipped news stories and pictures from local newspapers — birth announcements, weddings, obituaries and human interest stories — and saved them in scrapbooks with other memorabilia.

She was very faithful to the women’s group at her church, assisted with quilting for charities, and    provided cakes and Jello for many funerals, and helped serve lunches over the years.

Henry Roiger (Feb. 20, 1916 – May 8, 1990) and Elsie Krueger (March 18, 1921 – Oct. 25, 2014) — were married, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Springfield July 30, 1945, after Henry returned from military services with the U.S. Army from 1941-1945. The Roigers owned and operated farmland in Burnstown and Stately Townships.

The Roigers made a conscious choice about the life they lived, and the legacy they wished to leave behind.   A lasting legacy for which Springfield is grateful.

Springfield Advance-Press

13 S. Marshall Avenue PO Box 78 Springfield, MN 56087