New Rockford Transcript - Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Where are they now? Walz siblings take three very different paths


August 19, 2019

Brent Walz, Lindsey (Walz) Pfeiffer and Robert Walz

Long-time area residents Glenn and Mary (née Birkeland) Walz raised three children on their farm a few miles south of town. Now their adult children are raising families of their own in three different states. An update of what these New Rockford graduates are presently up to is in order.

Brent is the oldest, graduating in a high school class of 52 members in 1996. When he was young, Brent spent much time building forts and hideouts in the trees and rock piles around the farm. His favorite activities were riding bike around town and playing baseball in the empty lot next to the "Larsonage," the First Lutheran Church parsonage where Pastor Doug and Barbara Larson lived with their children Daniel and Joayne. Brent's favorite classes were math and history. He loved having Deb Burgad as a teacher because she had a way of teaching material that was fun and interesting to learn. His best friends were Daniel Larson, Kyle Seibold, Ryan Coon and Travis Byberg.

Gary Coon taught an architecture-focused shop class, which sparked an interest in that field. Upon his high school graduation, Brent started to pursue architecture at NDSU. The studies didn't quite fit for him, nor did the field of dentistry. He finally decided that finance was the degree he wanted to earn, and he did just that at UND.

Searching for his first job was a challenge that involved three months of interviews in Grand Forks and Fargo. Somewhat discouraged, Brent decided to hunt for an occupation in the Minneapolis area. He became a financial advisor for Waddell & Reed in the Twin Cities as his first employment out of college. Although this was an exciting opportunity for Brent, his commissions from the job fluctuated substantially each month. He jokes that his predictable salary was made from serving at the Cheesecake Factory.

Holding a variety of early titles in the banking industry that included lender and individual producer, Brent, a driven person who enjoys exceeding goals and out-performing expectations, made a transition into leadership roles. At the age of 35 years, Brent started his first branch of Bell Bank in Woodbury, Minn. He realizes that recruiting is the key to having success in the banking industry. "I have never been afraid to hire people who are better than I am at certain aspects of the job because this helps everyone learn and improve their work," he states. Because of this philosophy, he loves to spend time with people who inspire him, whether these people are colleagues, friends, or family members. Earlier this year Brent, his wife Jennifer and young boys made the move to Chandler, Ariz., where Brent has started a couple of Bell Bank branches.

Brent remarks, "When you grow up in a small town, everything seems so big because that is all you know. Now having lived in the cities of Minneapolis and Phoenix, I see how small everything was, but also how amazing that sense of community and support of people are." He fondly remembers the simple, but powerful events of the annual fireworks show and parade, along with roller skating at the Brown Memorial.

Lindsey is the middle child of the Walz trio. She graduated from New Rockford in the Class of 1999, which was made up of 32 classmates. Sandy Bekken and Richard Elkins were two of Lindsey's favorite teachers. Often found with friends Stacie (Heskin) Norris, Natalie Brown, Nicole (Nicolai) Scherweit and Beth (Marchus) Ivesdal. Participating in several sports during the school year and lifeguarding in the summer months promoted her goal of becoming a physical therapist. She attended UND to study physical therapy for a brief period, but decided to take a semester off to consider a change of plans.

Following a break, Lindsey attended CenterPoint School of Massage Therapy in Minneapolis, graduating in the spring of 2001. Of the 13 years she worked as a massage therapist, Lindsey ran her own business in Grand Forks for 10 of those years. Moving her business to Fargo, she worked at a chiropractic office. "I enjoyed helping people feel and move better through massage. I especially liked doing craniosacral therapy with children," she says.

Lindsey put her profession on hold and chose to be a stay-at-home mother to her four young children. Lindsey met her husband Matt Pfeiffer, who is originally from Lincoln, Neb., 11 years ago through mutual friends. "I was singing with the Sweet Adelines, and he was singing with the Valley Chordsmen in Grand Forks," Lindsey says. Matt works as a traffic controller for Leidos outside of Washington, D.C. The family has lived in West Virginia since 2014.

Graduating with 26 other classmates in the New Rockford Class of 2001 is the youngest of the three, Robert. He agrees with his sister that his favorite teacher was Richard Elkins, and he enjoyed taking math classes from this instructor. Derrick Seiler and Alex Belquist were two of his best friends.

All three of the siblings worked on the family farm, and Robert also worked part-time as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd. This experience was beneficial when Robert studied nursing at Jamestown College. Quite the accomplished golfer, Robert and his college teammates made it to the national tournament during his junior year! Graduating in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in nursing, Robert decided to earn his master's degree as a nurse anesthetist at UND.

Robert worked at Essentia in Fargo for seven years as a nurse, and he is now living in Bismarck with his wife Sam and young family where he has worked as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist for the past three years. Robert comments that his hours can vary greatly depending if he is on call. He acknowledges, "We can sometimes work up to 24 hours during a busy call shift!"

Brent, Lindsey and Robert have blessed Glenn and Mary with eight grandchildren, ranging in age from 16 months to 9 years. The proximity of these grandchildren is advantageous to their grandparents as Brent and Jennifer live only seven miles from where Glenn and Mary winter in Arizona; Lindsey and Matt are just a two and a half hour plane ride from Minneapolis. In fact, Glenn and Mary recently enjoyed spending time with Lindsey and granddaughter Ella in Minneapolis, as the city is about half-way for each to drive. Robert and Sam and their two young children are only a two-hour drive away from the farm.

Brent, Lindsey and Robert have not forgotten their upbringing in a small, rural setting. Working with their parents on the farm, as well as their involvement in sports and other extra-curricular activities while in high school, gave the three a solid work ethic that aided them in their college studies and in their current careers and vocations.


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