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Bob Lind, Published November 20 2012

Neighbors: Penmanship class at Dakota Business College leaves lasting effect

The marvelous penmanship of both F. Leland Watkins and his son F. Leland Jr., of the Dakota Business College, Fargo, continues to bring comments to Neighbors. And in one case, a copy of a drawing by one of the college’s students was sent in by her niece, Renee Bexell, of Park Rapids, Minn.

Renee writes that her mother and her mother’s two sisters attended Dakota and took penmanship from Leland Watkins Jr.

In addition to handwriting assignments, Renee says, they also did bird drawings using the many flourishes learned in the penmanship course.

The one Renee sent in, shown here, was drawn by her aunt, Esther (Nieman) Wright.

Esther eventually moved to California, then came to Moorhead to be near her family. She died several years ago.

Eleonore “Ellie” Radtke, the youngest of the sisters, is 93, lives in Fargo and still has beautiful handwriting, Renee says.

Ellie told Renee that when she and her sisters were at Dakota, Leland Watkins Sr. had pretty much retired, but he still liked to work with shorthand, and every day at 7 a.m., he’d dictate The Forum’s editorial to his shorthand students.

You can still see the college’s name, faded though it is, on the buildings at Main Avenue and Eighth Street South. Nostalgia lives on.


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it

to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com


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