Edlo Solum

Edlo Solum

  • Funeral Date: 10/01/12
  • Funeral Time: 2:00 PM
  • Date of Birth: 2/04/14
  • Date of Death: 9/27/12
  • Funeral Location: St. John's Lutheran Church - Northfield

Edlo Caldwell was born in San Francisco in 1914 to Edward J. Caldwell and Lena Shearer Caldwell. She was the second of two children. The family soon moved to San Anselmo in Marin County where Edlo would play with their St. Bernard, Heck. In 1918, the family moved to Fresno, and later bought a fruit ranch just north of town. Edlo loved ranch life, the country school, and the enormous Clydesdale horse, Dick, who let little Edlo ride on his back. Then in 1926, the family moved to the San Francisco Bay area. Life in Berkeley centered around school and also around a small Presbyterian church where Edlo and her brother made lifelong friends.
Edlo’s father died in 1930. Edlo’s mother was determined to see both children finish college, and both Edward and Edlo earned degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.
After college, Edlo accepted an exciting offer to teach physical education for one year at a college in Minnesota. She went to Northfield in 1937, taught at St. Olaf for a year that became two, and once again built friendships to last a lifetime. One friend was a professor of mathematics named Arthur Solum. In 1939, Edlo returned to Berkeley and earned a master’s degree in physical education. Then she taught high school in Mountain View, California, for three years.
All this time she and Art Solum kept up a steady correspondence. In 1943, their friendship that blossomed in St. Olaf and grew strong with letters spanning the country became a marriage – one that lasted more than 50 years. They were married in Northfield and lived and taught there the rest of their lives.
Edlo taught women’s physical education and health at St. Olaf until she retired in 1976, and chaired the department for many years. After her retirement from teaching, she served as St. Olaf’s Title IX equal opportunity coordinator until 1980. In 2001, Edlo was inducted into the St. Olaf College Athletics Hall of Fame. She was also active in many professional associations at the national, state, and local level.
Edlo had a lifelong interest in the church. She taught Sunday school for years at St. John’s Lutheran in Northfield and was active in several church committees and organizations. Over the years she was also active in the Northfield community, volunteering with the Girl Scouts, the Northfield Recreation Board, and the Arts Guild.
Edlo had many interests and hobbies throughout the years. Sports and physical education were a lifelong professional and personal pursuit. After she and Art bought a cabin on a wooded lakeshore near Bigfork in 1965, they spent many fulfilling summers studying the forest and wildlife, canoeing, fishing, swimming, hiking, and welcoming guests.
Edlo loved animals. From Heck and Dick in her childhood, to Maude the mule who would buck off every kid but her, to a feisty Scottie in Berkeley, to assorted dogs and cats in Northfield, and later to the pets of her children and friends and the birds and squirrels at the cabin – she loved them all.
She also loved travel and adventure: trips all around the United States (including the opening day of Disneyland in 1955), Caribbean cruises, Europe, the Middle East, Hawaii, Alaska, and Australia. Closer to home, she loved visiting family and friends’ homes in Minnesota and her daughter and son-in-law’s ranch in South Dakota.
Music was another lifelong interest: She played trumpet, violin (on an instrument inherited from her mother), accordion, concertina, steel guitar, tin whistle, harmonica, ukulele, electric organ, and anything else that would make music. She loved singing in church and faithfully attended the St. Olaf Christmas Concerts.
Computers were another hobby: Edlo wrote countless letters, histories, and travelogues; created digital illustrations and greeting cards; and enjoyed email correspondence with friends and family.
In 1949 Edlo and Art built a house on West Second Street where they raised their two children, Patricia (Pat) Solum Shaver and Stephen (Steve) Solum. Edlo’s mother also lived with them for many years until she died in 1963. Art and Edlo later welcomed three grandchildren, Aaron Shaver, Marianne Shaver, and Nate Solum. Art died in 1998. In recent years, Edlo cherished spending time with her two great-granddaughters, Ellie and Tessa Shaver. She was also the presiding “honorary grandma” to many other relatives and in-laws.
In 2002, Edlo moved to Parkview at the Northfield Retirement Community. She was delighted to have such a wonderful home in the Minnesota town that first welcomed her so warmly more than 70 years ago.
Edlo was an eternal optimist, and a model to those around her in how to accept the harsher aspects of life with grace. Edlo and Art’s advice on life was to accentuate the positive, and she lived that advice every day. Her warmth lives on in everyone she touched.
Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and husband Craig Shaver of Sturgis, South Dakota; her son, Stephen of Minnetonka; 3 grandchildren: Aaron (Pamela) Shaver of Plymouth, Marianne Shaver of New York City, Nathan Solum (Shauna Meyer) of New York City; 2 great-granddaughters: Ellie and Tessa Shaver; nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.  She was preceded in death by her husband and her brother Edward Caldwell.
Edlo passed away with her family by her side on Thursday morning, September 27, 2012 at  Southview Suites of the Northfield Retirement Community, at the age of 98.

Funeral services will be 2:00PM Monday, October 1, 2012, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield with Rev. John E. Quam officiating.  Music will be provided by Ruth Legvold and Daniel Fenn.  Interment will be in Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield.  Casket bearers will be Aaron Shaver, Marianne Shaver, Nate Solum, Ann Bundgaard, Larry Defries and Pat Defries.   Honorary casket bearers are Jim Dimick, Bob Gelle, Dave Hauck, Tom Porter, Bill Thornton and Ken Wilkens.  Visitation will be 2-5PM Sunday, September 30, 2012, at the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home in Northfield.  Visitation will continue at the church on Monday one hour prior to the service.

Memorials are preferred to St. John’s Lutheran Church or St. Olaf College.

Arrangements with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com


  1. Karen Appeldoorn

    I am just now realizing how much Edlo gave me when I was growing up with Pat (our birthdays are three days apart). She gave me her smile, her easy-going nature, her sense of serenity, her acceptance of life as it was. I can only hope to come to emulate her in the years ahead. Luckily she gave me Pat who continues to glow with those same qualities. I will miss you Edlo!

  2. Ted Fredrickson

    Edlo was a wonderful person, a great parent and life-long learner and educator. What an outstanding career she had. I am sure she is still applauding the positive results of Title IX!

  3. Kevin Shaver

    When my brother married Edlo’s daughter, a process I think of as a merging of families began. Edlo and my mother, Emma Shaver, were close friends and travel companions. I am a fortunate son of two great mothers, born of Emma and “bonus” with Edlo. No person I have ever met has more of my respect than Edlo. She was genius at listening, the soul of caring, and always on time offering her wisdom at the moment when it could be heard.

  4. Kalina Bourdeau

    Edlo wasn’t a part of my life terribly long, but she made a big impact. She was wonderfully intelligent, giving and POSITIVE. I’d never met someone who so CONSTANTLY looked for the good in everyone and every situation. I have so many things I am thankful to Edlo for, I couldn’t begin to list them all. I owe her a debt, she changed me a little and I miss her.

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