Hunter Hall of Fame

Marie Saltwick

Born Jan. 20, 1908
Died Jan. 22, 2001

Marie Saltwick taught biology for 40 years at Denfeld, always willing to put in extra time for struggling students. Her biggest gift to Denfeld may have come after her death, however. Her bequest of $2.7 million to the Greater Denfeld Foundation will help send Denfeld students to college forever.

After graduating from Denfeld in 1925, Saltwick attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., where she studied biology. She received her teaching degree in 1929 and became a teacher and principle of a two-room schoolhouse between Embarrass and Biwabik. She stayed there only one year, returning home to Duluth to take a job at Denfeld in the fall of 1930.

During her first year at Denfeld, she taught math and English, then switched to biology her second year. She was known as a stern and demanding teacher who insisted that her students perform to the best of their abilities.

“She follows a system and students learn much,” reads the caption next to her photo in the 1958 Denfeld Oracle.

In the 1950s, Saltwick was one of the founders of the Greater Denfeld Foundation, which was created in memory of another Denfeld teacher, Lenora Snodgrass.

For many years, Saltwick served as Denfeld’s co-curricular activities chairperson. It was her job to check students’ grades and conduct marks to determine their eligibility for Honor Ds, the awards given to outstanding students each year.

It’s unclear exactly how and when Saltwick accumulated her wealth, but the general consensus is that she invested well and was very frugal. A stock tip from Denfeld band teacher Lloyd Swartley is believed to have led Saltwick to invest early in Polaroid Corp., which was the foundation of her fortune.

Saltwick retired in the spring of 1971, at the end of her 40th year of teaching. She continued to serve on the board of directors of the Greater Denfeld Foundation into the 1980s.

She died of Alzheimer’s disease at age 93. At the time, the Greater Denfeld Foundation had assets of just $175,000.

As one of Denfeld’s longest serving teachers, she educated thousands; as a benefactor, she’ll continue to educate Denfeld students who pursue a higher education, forever.

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