Pioneer Banker Club

The Minnesota Bankers Association (MBA) is proud to recognize bankers who have been leaders of the industry for 50 years or more. Any Minnesota banker who has attained at least 50 years of active service is eligible. The bankers pictured below were inducted into the Pioneer Club in June 2020. See below for a complete roster.

Barbara Bjerken

Barbara Bjerken started her banking career at Northern State Bank of Thief River Falls, Minnesota on Monday, June 9th, 1969, just two days after graduating from Lafayette High School in Red Lakes Falls, MN. Originally hired as the primary receptionist for President Gene Beito she eventually took on more responsibilities as the bank’s receptionist and secretary. When Northern State Bank began offering long term 25 and 30 year real estate mortgages in the 1980’s Barb accepted a position as loan processor. As that department grew Barb was promoted to mortgage loan officer, a title she held until 2006 when she transitioned into her present role as bank manager/controller. Barb Bjerken celebrated both 50 years in banking and her 50 year anniversary at Northern State Bank on June 9th, 2019.

Mary Gale

Mary Gale began her career in banking back in 1963 in the Sales Finance Department filing and fielding calls for references on loan customers. Over the years, Mary took time off to raise her family, but always returned to the banking industry. Her banking career spans four banks and includes experience as a teller, a proof operator (where she processed 1500 items an hour), a personal banker, and ultimately working in finance. Mary joined Citizens Independent Bank in 1978, and remains an integral part of the Finance Department. Everyone loves Mary, and it’s not just because she processes payroll.

Gary Kirt

It seems Gary Kirt’s mortgage banking career may have been preordained, since he bought his first home while he was still in high school. Before purchasing Bell Mortgage in 1980, Gary was vice president of the residential mortgage division at Conservative Mortgage, and subsequently led the same division at Midwest Federal.

Under Gary’s guidance as CEO, Bell Mortgage focused on anticipating trends and developing technology – and grew to become Minnesota’s largest privately owned mortgage firm. Gary continued in an advisory role after Fargo, N.D.-based State Bank & Trust acquired Bell in 2011 (subsequently changing its name to Bell Bank for greater brand recognition).

More than his entrepreneurial spirit, Gary embodies giving back to the community. He has actively supported charitable organizations, notably Simpson Housing Services and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. Under Gary’s leadership, Bell became heavily involved in financial and volunteer support that continues to this day.

Sandra Schroeder

Sandra Schroeder began her banking career at Franklin National Bank in Minneapolis in the summer of 1969 in the bookkeeping department. She was with Franklin National Bank until 1972 when she was offered a job at Americana State Bank of Edina in the teller line and bookkeeping department.

Sandy recalls that at Americana State Bank they offered 24-hour banking with a live staff 24 hours a day. She appreciated that all of the checking account statements were prepared by the crew that was on during the evening hours.

Also, when other banks were giving out toasters to open a new account, her bank was giving out wigs as premiums for opening a new account!

Sandy moved to Glenwood in 1977, commuting to her job in the Cities. In 1978 she took a job with Community State Bank of Alexandria and later that year began working at Pope County State Bank, now Eagle Bank in Glenwood. Sandy has been an officer of Eagle Bank since 1990, with responsibilities including investment accounting, customer service, new accounts and loan administration.


Marilyn J. Agre
Lloyd A. Amundson
Gary E. Bakko
Bernard Bastian
Maggie Bauer
Peter L. Bauer
Quentin Beadell
Marlen E. Bents
H. H. Berg
Bruce W. Beutel
Gerald A. Bilski
Barbara Bjerken
John O. Bohmer
George N. Borgerding
C. T. Braff
Ken Broin
Marion Brummer
Edward H. Buerkle
Doug Bultman
Irvin Burich
Thomas "Buzz" Burich
Robert Cameron
John F. Campe
Richard J. Carlander
David J. Carr
T. Donald Cashin
John J. Cavanagh
Edward R. Cleasby
Keith Clements
Harold C. Cole
Marilyn J. Cox
David G. Dewitt
Robert Dickson
D. J. Dorweiler
Dasen Dorweiler
Harlan Drube
C. R. Duroe
Richard L. Duroe
Chester N. Eggen
Marianna Eiselt
Dale J. Emmel
Ewald A. Fenrick
Theresa C. Fierst
Joseph M. Finley
Clyde Fischer
Lois Fiskum
Robert F. Foley
Loren R. Fretland
Newton Fuller
Mary Gale
Richard E. Gandrud
Z. S. Gault
Steve Gilmer
Linda Goehle
Bernard Gulden
Edward Gutzmann
Larry Habstritt
Larry D. Hahn
Kathy Hallum
Faye Hamerl
Elaine Hansen
Orville M. Hanson

Robert D. Harder
James E. Hausauer
George F. Hayden 
James Heig
John R. Heneman
Allen G. Highum
G. Jack Hillstrom
Jerine Hoffmann
Dale Hoganson
Russell E. Holm
John D. Hunt
David M. Hyduke
Karen Hymes
Ernest Iverson
Russell W. Jacobson
Dorothy Jensen
Anthony C. Johnson
Edsel F. Johnson
Gladys Johnson
Harlowe M. Johnson
Jean B. Johnson
Larry D. Johnson
Myron J. Johnson
Patricia P. Johnson
Warren Johnson
William R. Johnson
Kenneth C. Jore
Kenneth E. Just
Earl E. Keskey
Gary Kirt
George J. Klasen
Gordon H. Klaudt
Richard M. Kramer
Gunnar Kronholm
Donovan Kuehnast
Ervin F. Kurth
Maynard A. Lawrence
Micheal L. Lillehaugen
Carl V. Lind
James Lindberg
Judy Lipetsky
Duane W. Loe
Dale C. Madison
Joyce E. Magner
John A. Malmberg
Gerald W. McGee
Art Melander
Rosemary Jane Melzer
Harlan Mensink
Angeline R. Mixner
Gerald F. Mohrfeld
E. M. Neisen
Earl Nelson
Gordon L. Nelson
Lucille Nickolay
Daniel H. Nicolai
Sharon Nordby
John D. O’Brien
L. R. Oberg
Bruce Olness
Dayel M. Olson
Newman E. Olson

Shirley Olson
Ken Onken
Alvin C. Peterson
Dean Peterson
Donald N. Peterson
Roger Peterson
Alan Pettit
Jane Pickle
Larry Pietrzak
John F. Pletz
F. J. Poepl
Lowell A. Pogatchnik
Don Ransom
Douglas Rech
W. C. Ries
Lois Roberton
Marie Roberts
Robert Roehl
Evelyn C. Roelike
Elsie Rolfs
L. H. Rolfs
Grace Rubischko
A. William Sands
Richard P. Sankovitz
D. D. Saxen
V. G. Schaffer
Elaine Schlemmer
Ralph C. Schmidt
Sandra Schroeder
Roger Schultz
Donald Schumacher
George Schweiss
Margaret Shaw
Vernon Shoquist
Norman C. Skalicky
James G. Sneer
Geraldine Sons
Ronald Steele
S. G. Steen
Fred E. Stein
W. W. Studtmann
Paul Tellefson
Roy Terwilliger
John E. Thinesen
Dennis Troff
Edward C. Turn
Wendale P. Vander Broek
Richard B. Ventrucci
Wilfred Vogel
Roger J. Voit
Paul Vollan
Harry Wahlquist
Roger Weise
Donald Welander
Joe Welle
Clair C. Wilcox
Robert Wiley
William Wilkening
August A. Williams
John Wisniewski
Carol J. Wurm
William H. Zabel