Lynda Koliha and her husband, Rodney, will serve as grand marshalls in Thursday's Fourth of July parade.  Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy/News-Record
Lynda Koliha and her husband, Rodney, will serve as grand marshalls in Thursday's Fourth of July parade. Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy/News-Record

Lynda Koliha's doing the 3 p.m. parade wave.

This is her first time being in the parade instead of working at the start of the parade, lining up entries and organizing the parade as a Chamber of Commerce volunteer.

"I am looking forward to riding in the parade. I have not ridden in or watched a Harmony parade in over 20 years, being at the start of each one," said Lynda. "This is quite an honor to be thanked in this way."

Lynda, along with her husband Rodney, will serve as one of two couples serving as grand marshals in this week's annual Fourth of July parade in Harmony. Dr. Franz and Diana Sattler are also leading this week's parade.

Lynda, known as the lady who held the parade's "go" flag for over two decades, made certain the parade started precisely 3 p.m. in order to keep the lineup marching smoothly forward.

She related, "I did most of the lineup organization on paper, and the Lions Club generously put the floats' numbers in line on the street so they could line up. I always started the parade at 3, rain or shine."

The former Lynda Hilke was born in Preston and lived on a farm near Harmony "almost all my life...over 60 years."

She attended Rockne Country School through sixth grade, then went to Harmony High School, where she graduated in 1965.

"Rockne Country School was the last country school to consolidate. Rodney and I went to school together - we were classmates at Harmony High School. After I graduated, I went to school at Rochester Junior College and graduated from there in 1966," Lynda explained.

She went on to get her secretarial certification and worked at Halling Insurance in Rochester from the fall of 1966 to 1968.

Rodney went to Austin vocational school for two years after he graduated, taking farm mechanics. He worked in Cresco at Ingersoll's for a while, then in the fall of 1968, he went into the Army at Fort Hood, where he was for the next 21 months.

Lynda continued by saying, "I joined him after we got married in November 1968. I was there for 18 months, and I started working at an insurance agency right outside the base."

Once the Kolihas returned to Minnesota, Lynda worked for Frogner and Smutny Law Office in Harmony, and Rodney worked at a farm implement company, then for an auto dealer in Preston.

The first of their three children, Carrie, was born in 1974. Holly was born in 1977 and Brandon in 1982.

"We bought some land in 1970, and Rodney was farming part-time, nights and weekends, after work, with my parents. We stayed in Harmony because it had a good school system - Carrie graduated from Harmony High School, but Holly and Brandon graduated from Fillmore Central," Lynda said. "I went back to work part-time in 1984 for Jacobson Insurance and I purchased the agency in July 2003 when Joyce (Jacobson) retired. I've worked here many years. Rodney farms full-time now, raising crops, registered red Angus, and he contract feeds hogs for a local swine nursery."

The couple is "very active in the United Methodist Church" in Harmony and Rodney is a Harmony Township supervisor. Lynda has been on the Preble Township Mutual Fire Insurance board.

"I'm on the United Methodist Women and Rodney is chairman of the administrative board, and he does quite a lot with the smoked pork chop dinner we hold in the park," Lynda pointed out and it should be noted that the pork chop dinner begins serving at 11 a.m. on the Fourth of July and continues until 1:30 p.m. under the park shelter.

"We're both active in the Legion and the Auxiliary here in Harmony, and I've been active in the Harmony Area Chamber of Commerce," Lynda continued. "I'm also a Mary Kay consultant, I like to cook - I've helped with two cookbooks - and like to read cookbooks. We like to go to the Cities to see our daughter and her family, go out to eat, drive around looking at the countryside. We have two grandkids and one on the way in mid-July."

Lynda and Rodney enjoy that Harmony is a small town with people who recognize them on the street.

Lynda stated, "It's a friendly, small town. The people are warm, we know everybody, they say 'hello' on the street, and they're concerned about you, too. It's a good place for children to grow up, it has an excellent school system, nice churches, parks, sports, trails, campgrounds and so much more to do."