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
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
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
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
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