Former teacher inspired many here

Edward Souder, 91, taught at FLHS in post-World War II years


Cliff Buchan
Staff Writer

A former Forest Lake teacher who inspired students in choir and band and was active in the community with the Boy Scouts has died.

Nw_SouderOldEdward Louis Souder was 91 when he passed away at his home in St. Louis Park on Thursday, March 21. A veteran of World War II, Souder came to his job at Forest Lake High School in 1946 and remained on staff through the 1949 school year.

After leaving Forest Lake, Souder taught at schools in Kalispell, Mont., and San Marino, Calif. He returned to Minnesota in 1965 and worked in real estate until 1980 when he retired.

Nw_SouderNowA native of the Twin Cities, Souder served in the Army during World War II and was wounded in action in Europe by artillery fire.

Rollin Nelson, the Forest Lake teacher who took over the band program from Souder when he needed surgery to deal with lingering shrapnel wounds, remembered Souder as “bombastic and dynamic” but also “exceptionally capable.”

Nelson said it was Souder who encouraged his students in the musical arts and opened eyes to many fine productions, including “Desert Song,” an operetta performed at Southwest High School in Minneapolis. Souder organized a local delegation of students to attend the production with school buses used for transportation.

Nelson and Neil Mattson, who was a student during Souder’s four years in Forest Lake, said Souder was never able to achieve his goal of establishing a community choral group that would have put on musical productions of its own in Forest Lake.

But Mattson said Souder was a highly successful Boy Scout troop master who inspired many kids. He led Boy Scout Troop 137 for several years.

“He [Souder] would haul the whole troop to camp in an open truck,” Mattson recalled of the trips to Togo that Troop 137 would take each summer. Mattson said he went on three or four of the weeklong trips to Flamingo Pine, a Boy Scout camp in far northern Minnesota.

Mattson said Souder also inspired many students. “I liked him as a teacher,” Mattson said. “A lot of the choir kids liked him.”

During his early years here when he was directing the band, Souder led the effort to secure the first uniforms for the marching band.

Funeral services for Edward L. Souder are pending. One brother, William, and his parents preceded him death.

The Minnesota Cremation Society is in charge of arrangements.