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Warroad's Allison Park Is A Lasting Tribute


On a very special Wednesday afternoon on July 3, the late Allison Marvin, an extraordinary young woman who died way too young on August 28, 1992, was remembered fondly during the dedication of Allison Park in Warroad.

Allison, the late daughter of Jenine Bjerk and Jake Marvin, bridges two towns and is forever 23.

During the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony at Allison Park, it was a festive affair with applause, appreciation, and anticipation as the younger kids sat patiently in the grass waiting to romp in the picturesque park.

Remembering Allison

How do you recap someone so young and vibrant and then realize that Allison would have been 50 on June 11?

Her mother knows!

"Allison was born on June 11, 1969, at the Warroad Hospital, and it sat on the same block that Allison Park is now located," said Jenine Bjerk.

Oh, the memories!

"She played football in the sixth grade with another girl, and she also wrestled."

Allison knew the moves.

"She went to Crookston for a wrestling tournament, and she beat a boy and made him cry," said Jenine. "She came home feeling very bad about that."

There was so much about Allison that made her special.

"She had lots of spunk, and she had her horse, Dusty," said her mother, adding that her horses were a big part of her life.

"She was always bringing some horse home that needed work done, whether it be breaking it or tuning it up a little bit. She wasn't fearful of them."

Just like in the movie, Lonesome Dove, Allison would gently place a saddle on the reluctant horse, mount up, and let the fun begin.

Oh, the memories!

"She was full of fun, and she was also kind and compassionate," said Jenine. "I can remember her going to Farmers Union Hall dances and getting all these old gentlemen who were sitting around out on the dance floor."

Following Allison's graduation with the Roseau High School Class of 1987, she attended Bemidji State, majoring in elementary education.When she had visitors to her small dorm room, she was as likely to demonstrate her favorite kicks.

"Allison started in Tae Kwon Do in Roseau with Tom Zeidlik," her mother recalled.

There was a code of honor with the spirited lass.

"She pretty much liked everybody. If you were on her bad side, then watch out," she said.

She was no pushover!

Ms. Allison Marvin, who loved kids and had a special bond with them, student taught below the Mason-Dixon Line.

"She did her student teaching at Rockbridge Elementary School in Stone Mountain, Georgia," said Mom, adding that Allison loved Stone Mountain and had accepted a teaching position in the Atlanta area in the fall.

At the top of her game, Allison unexpectedly got sick before she was to start her first year of teaching.

"She spent three weeks in the hospital before she died. She was on life support," said Jenine.

"It was adult respiratory distress syndrome. They call it ARDS. The lungs harden and can't absorb oxygen. It's quite common with people that have had a severe shock to their system. That's why it was so puzzling."

Just as suddenly, a bright light was extinguished.

Allison was survived by her parents and her brother, John Marvin .

"John is two years older, but Allison had half brothers and sisters on Curt's side of the family and her dad's side of the family," said Jenine.

"Allison's theory was always 'They're my brothers and sisters. There's no such thing as step and half. And what does that mean? Does that mean they're a step above or a step below?'

"No, they were her brothers and her sisters," said Jenine, mentioning that Allison's nickname was Alli P and the P is for Paula, her middle name.

Alli P was the granddaughter of Bill and Margaret Marvin.

Following the dedication ceremony, her mother reflected on what might have been.

"It will be 27 years in August since Allison died, and Curt and I still miss having her around," she said. "I miss not knowing what kind of grandchildren we would have had and what kind of teacher she would have been," she said, adding that Allison called her stepfather Curt.

"He was a big part of her life from the age of 10 until she died," she said.

A week ago Wednesday, July 3, there were numerous dignitaries on hand at the dedication, but the best part was the love and admiration for a remarkable young woman, whose life was cut short and who had so much potential.

"It was a very nice ceremony," said Jenine Bjerk, who shared a special bond with a very special daughter.


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