anastasia lux

New solar panels at New Dosey Township Town Hall added October 2011

Little Library for Cloverton
Weekenders Carole and Ron Hessler built this adorable Little Library for Cloverton. People can leave a book, then take a book to read.


November 2008 – Jan Streiff


Way back in the forest off one of the roads here in our little township, in an off-the-grid,one-room cabin lives a 65 year- old woman who “took to the woods” back in the early ‘70s and has never regretted it.

Jan Streiff was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin (yes, she proudly admits to being a “cheesehead”), on July 29, 1943. Her parents were Darlene and Mel Streiff and she has one brother.

Jan’s dad served in World War II and while he was gone, the family moved to Rochester to be near his family. Jan attended all 12 years of school there.

Upon high school graduation in 1963, she served with the Peace Corps in Mexico, where she was a community organizer- teaching women how to cook nutritionally, giving medical shots, etc., and even, shooing the chickens out of the kitchen.

After that she attended Mankato State University for one year, but, succumbing to an urge to travel, she spent a year and a half in Europe and Israel, where she lived on a kibbutz.

Upon returning to the States, it was back to Mankato State where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in education. She taught first at a private Unitarian Church school (grades 4 and 6), then taught science, civics, AP English, and health at the Diver-Eyota School just outside of Rochester.

After realizing that she wasn’t satisfied with teaching, she followed a dream of always wanting to go into anthropology. It had always, she says, been in the back of her mind.

In 1968, she signed up for the Archaeology Field School at the University of Minnesota, always thinking she would be the next Margaret Mead. After one year in this program, Jan was hired as a teaching assistant at the University. She eventually was made the permanent director of the U.of M. School of Anthropology. It was shortly after this that Jan discovered that she liked “dead” people more than” live” people- their bodies anyway. She wanted to dig up artifacts and become an archaeologist.

She spent 25 years, off and on, as an archaeologist, mostly working in the Upper Midwest. Two of those years were spent with the Army Corps of Engineers.

It was in 1972 while working with a field crew at an archaeology site west of Pine City on the Snake River that Jan met a realtor who introduced her to some land for sale in New Dosey Township. She was amazed by the beaver pond and trees on the 40 acres that she saw. She snatched it up on a contract for deed, quit the Corps and lived in a tent on money she had saved, for 2 years and built her cabin. She used her home in Cloverton as a weekend get-away for many years before moving up here permanently in the 1990s.

Jan has always been an athletic, outdoors person. She lettered in 5 sports in high school. While in Europe, she skied the Alps. She has gone on camping and canoeing trips for 48 years to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

In October, 2000, just after returning from a kayaking trip on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, a “bit of a blow” ( her words) was delivered to this intelligent, active, and fiercely independent woman. She had her first symptom of unexplained dizziness and was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her cabin had burned down 2 days prior to this.

Jan had been working weekends for Target Stores in Minneapolis and, even though she worked only part time, they kept her health coverage going.

She rebuilt her home and continued working for Target for another 3 years. During this time, she also worked as the director of Community Education, first for the East Central School District, then over at Pequot Lakes. She fully retired in 2003.

Jan is one of the strongest people in our community. She has fought her disease with determination and grit- doing everything from chemotherapy to swimming laps weekly in order to keep her muscles working.

She is tenacious, bright, and abrasive at times, but she has insisted on living her life by her own light and our community admires and respects her for that.

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