Sophia Carolina (Lena) Otteson




Life and Work

Sophia Carolina (Lena) Otteson served as postmistress and operator of the telephone exchange in Donalda from 1914 to 1950. The post office and telephone exchange were in her home and she served people by day and night, weekdays and weekends. Her husband unfortunately passed away leaving Lena a pregnant widow with three small children and a bed ridden mother. In 1927 tragedy struck when the post office, telephone exchange and living quarters were all destroyed by fire. Luckily, a new residence was constructed at the front of the building for Lena and her family.

Lena was a charter member of the Rebekah Valley View Lodge and its first Noble Grand. She was a member of the United Church and of Ladies' Aid and an amateur horticulturist.

She died in 1962 and is buried in the New Norway Cemetery.


Letter of Appreciation by Jacob Stolee

Dear Mrs. Otteson:

I recently learned that you have retired as postmistress and operator of the telephone exchange.

It is many years now since Donalda was my address. I will not forget the first time I bought a money order from you.

I was a young boy. My folks had entrusted me with this task, as humble as it seems now, but I was flustered and unsure. I sealed the dollar bills in the envelope. That left you holding the money order intended for the firmly sealed envelope.

You helped me sort out the confusion of the money and money order. I should have thanked you then. Well, I wish to do that now. We appreciated the faithful service you gave and the grand job you were doing. We ought to have told you this often.

May your years continue to be bright and happy, as your memory is with me at this time.


Jacob B. Stolee
Birch Hills, Saskatchewan