Business brought him here, a girl brought him back
The first time Wes Hasbrouck came to Rosemount he was here on business. Meeting a girl was just a bonus.
That was in 1961. Hasbrouck was an engineer for the Brockway Glass Company, based in Brockway, Penn. The company was building a new factory in Rosemount, and it was Hasbrouck's job to install the equipment he'd helped develop to test the bottles the company made and make sure they were fit to send out. He was here for six to eight weeks at a time, living in hotels and working long hours.
It was on one of those trips Hasbrouck met a young woman named Joan Uitdenbogerd. They were introduced by the girlfriend of a man Hasbrouck served with in the Navy, and they hit it off right away. As he kept returning to Rosemount, they spent more and more time together. He ate meals at her family's house.
"Every time I was out here I was dating her," Hasbrouck said. "Being I was living out of a motel, I was taking a lot of meals at her house. I got very close with her."
He got so close that after two years he married her.
The newlyweds lived in Pennsylvania for 18 months, but when Hasbrouck returned from one of his long trips to find his infant daughter didn't recognize him, he figured he needed a new job.
Hasbrouck found a solution to that problem on another trip to Rosemount. He was ice fishing on Lake Mille Lacs with his father-in-law and one of his friends when the subject of work came up. The friend, a who attended Rosemount United Methodist Church with Fred Uitdenbogerd, happened to be an executive at a company that at the time was called Univac. He had a job available, and Hasbrouck returned to Pennsylvania just long enough to pack everything up and come to Rosemount.
"I took a gamble and was building a house before I sold the one in Pennsylvania," Hasbrouck said.
The couple lived in Joan's parent's basement for several months while they built their own house on Dahomey Ave. It was one of the first houses on the block - the street only extended as far as their driveway - and Hasbrouck has lived there ever since. Hasbrouck, who worked as a carpenter before he joined the Navy and trained as an engineer, remodeled the house himself several times.
"My wife was very patient, because I'm doing sheetrock and dust. She was very tolerant of the mess I was making."
The couple raised three daughters in that house, and Wes and Joan lived there together until Joan died of cancer in 1995. They had been married for 32 years.
Hasbrouck retired in 1989. He said technology was moving too fast for him to keep up. He's kept busy since, though. He sings in the Velvet Tones, a senior choir run by the Independent School District 196 community education department, as well as in the Eagan Men's Chorus and at Rosemount United Methodist Church. He was a trustee at the church and served on the building committee when it built its first addition.
After Joan died, Hasbrouck's pastor suggested he do something to help others rather than focusing on his own grief. So, Hasbrouck started taking mission trips to Haiti to help build a church. On the last of those trips, just after Sept. 11, 2001, he connected with a woman who was also a member of the Velvet Tones. He proposed when they got home.
Hasbrouck's second wife also died of cancer. Now he lives alone in the same house he built when he first came to town, surrounded by all of the neighbors who have come along in the years since.
All in all, he figures those business trips he made all those years ago paid off pretty well.
"I've had a good time here in Rosemount," he said.