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Published May 18, 2012, 10:16 PM

Couple donates nearly $1 million to Wyndmere School

Wyndmere, ND (WDAY TV) - A nearly million dollar donation to the Wyndmere School District will last forever. Russell Janssen left the school $800,000 with the stipulation that the principle is never touched rather the school will use the interest made every year on the students.

A nearly million dollar donation to the Wyndmere School District will last forever. Russell Janssen left the school $800,000 with the stipulation that the principle is never touched rather the school will use the interest made every year on the students.

Russell's connection to the school is through his wife Patsy. She's legendary there, having taught for 41 years in Wyndmere before being forced into retirement in the late 90s. Friends say the couple wanted to make sure the town and the school remained strong.

David Hanson – Worked with Patsy: "I don't know if I’ve ever known a man who loved his wife more than Russell he was just so dedicated to her."

Here's the two lovebirds in their wedding photo. It's stored in a Patsy Janssen shrine at the school. Everything inside is from the school and Russell, the case was built by a group of her former students.

Dwayne “Stogie” Brandt – Former Student of Patsy’s: "Every time I go over to the school I maybe take a peek at it."

Patsy taught for 51 years, all but 10 in Wyndmere. This bell gets a lot of comments from past students. It was hers and used as the school's recess bell until she was forced to retire in '98.

David Hanson - "At the end of her tenure she still was one of my very best teachers without a doubt it's unfortunate that the cancer came when it did she was finally going to retire she and her husband were going to travel and they never got to do that."

The couple never had children, but if you grew up in Wyndmere, you had Patsy as a teacher, which then made you part of the Janssen family.

Chris Swenson – Wyndmere Superintendent: "That means loving everything about one another, when Patsy's love was the school Russell can't help but to love the kids at the school too."

In Russell's will he left $300,000, the interest it makes will help seniors go to college, and the interest on $500,000 will go to the elementary for special projects.

Chris Swenson: "What they donated to the school in their estate is a little shocking that they were generous enough to give to the school wasn't shocking at all."

People at the school say whenever former students return they always find that shrine. Russell also donated $200,000 to the church and cemetery.

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