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Man Receives Diploma 73 Years Late - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Man Receives Diploma 73 Years Late

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  It's one of the most unusual high school graduation stories you'll ever hear.

  Harry Anderson of Stephen, Minnesota now lives with his wife, Hazel at the "Valley Home, Assisted Living Center" in Thief River Falls. But, despite being 90-years old, Anderson just received his high school diploma.

  Anderson grew up on a farm near Stephen and attended school through 8th grade and then went to work on his father's farm.

Reporter: "You never had the chance to go to high school?"

Harry Anderson: "No. We were 10 miles from town and there were no buses and the roads in those days…."

  Then, along came World War II.  Anderson wound up as a mechanic aboard a Navy ship hunting Japanese subs in the Pacific. But, following the War he wasn't able to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and go to college, because he never did get a high school diploma.

Harry Anderson: "Well, I guess I was mechanical minded. I think I would have liked to go to the A.C. at Crookston first."

Reporter: "The Agricultural College?"

Anderson: "Yeah."

  Instead, Anderson spent his life working on the farm and as a mechanic. But, recently, Anderson's son contacted some veterans groups and the Minnesota Department of Education. Anderson finally received his honorary, high school diploma from Stephen High School this past week… 73-years after the rest of his class.

Lois Anderson, Valley Home: "You know he said he waited over 70-years for his diploma and at the age of 90-years old he was finally granted his diploma."

Reporter: "So, I guess the big question now that you have your high school diploma, are you and your wife going to the spring prom?"

Harry Anderson: "Ha, ha…. I been thinking about it. Ha, ha….."

  Harry's wife, Hazel is cared for in a separate room at Valley Home.

  Activities Director, Lois Anderson says the graduation reception that was held for Harry was the first one they've ever held at their nursing home.

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