Roger Martin Risty passed away at The Gardens at Cannon Falls on Sunday, April 8, 2018. He was born December 4, 1931 and raised on the Brandon SD family farm. Roger was predeceased by his wife, Joan (Wagner); parents Martin and Anna Risty and his sister Lila Risty. He is survived by his children: Cynthia (Mark Strack); Douglas (Cheryl) and Nancy (Morgan White Jr.). He was so proud of his grandchildren: Chelsea (Adam) Glende, Colton and Hannah Risty.
Roger graduated from USD-Vermillion with a BA in Music Education and later completed his Masters in Administration at UM-Mankato. As a First Lieutenant in the United States Army, he was stationed at Fort Benning, GA and in Ulm, Germany. Whenever he found an audience he would reminisce about his army adventures in Germany and his travels through Europe.
Roger’s first teaching job was in Goodhue, MN and a few years later he began teaching in Cannon Falls, retiring nearly 3 decades later in 1987. He taught instrumental music in “the old elementary school” and was the band director in the high school for most of his career. He loved nothing better than a rousing John Philip Sousa march and any musical, especially his favorite, “Sound of Music.”
He led the CFHS marching band down the east-side streets of Cannon Falls, practicing for parades that they competed in, traveling to Canada and winning competitions throughout the Midwest. The band braved many chilly Friday night football games, concerts in the band shell, summertime concerts on the streets of downtown Cannon Falls, high school musicals and Memorial Day performances in the shadow of Colonel Colvill. He and Joan partnered to orchestrate the Fourth of July parade and he organized the Polka Drops in 1971 as a “parade band.”
He was proud to be an Honor Roll Teacher of the Year in 1985. He was a passionate educator and took great pride in the level of excellence the music department achieved. Even after his retirement he continued to be an advocate for the music program and students.
Roger loved his farm land in Sogn Valley, moving there in 1973. He had a tender heart for scrawny piglets, newborn calves and he especially treasured the camaraderie of his Sogn Valley neighbors. After retiring from teaching, his colleagues often joined him on the farm, tending their gardens, hunting or telling tales around a boiling pot of sap collected from the sugar bush. He enjoyed embellishing a good story and being the instigator of practical jokes.
Roger was active in the community: camping with his Boy Scout troop, serving on the Cannon Valley Fair Board, the Jaycees, Lions’ Club, Rotary, directing church choirs and the Mens’ and Womens’ Chorus.
A Celebration of Roger's Life will be held at Lundberg Funeral Home in Cannon Falls on Saturday, April 14 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Roger's family is grateful for the doctors and nurses at MCHS, caregivers, first responders, staff at The View and The Gardens, St. Croix Hospice, friends and neighbors that helped him navigate his health issues over the years.