Pram Comes Full Circle with Tokheim Family

Gene and Lucy Tokheim with the Pram

Gene and Lucy Tokheim with the Pram.

On Saturday, October 31st, CURE’s first online auction ended with the winning bid going to Ben Tokheim, son of Lucy and Gene Tokheim of Dawson, MN.

In early October, I had the opportunity to visit with longtime CURE member Lucy. She mentioned that she knew of someone who might be interested in the Pram. Little did I know that the interested party was Lucy and Gene’s son, Ben.

Ben was a student member on the CURE Board of Directors from 2001 to 2003. He participated in riverbank cleanups and spent weekends paddling the Minnesota River. Currently, he is a student at Washington State University in Pullman, WA, where he is finishing his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry next spring and hopes to return to Minnesota to teach.

Ben Tokheim

Ben Tokheim, proud new owner of the Pram.

Ben shared with CURE his motivation to purchase the Pram:

The sweeping beauty of a wooden boat meeting placid waters is one of the strongest memories I have from the age of six. I lived in Norway at the time and remember the fishing boats of Bergen and the steep walls of the rocky fjords. The harmony and utility of these boats seemed so natural, yet foreign from my limited experience near the water in Minnesota. It was not until junior high school in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness that I rediscovered this beauty. My brothers and I were taught to only allow our wooden canoes to touch water and air. The boat took care of us and we took care of it.

After returning to the prairie, I learned about CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) and found that there were veins of exquisite beauty running throughout southwestern Minnesota. There is a particular joy in conveying yourself on a body of water and hearing the soft drops of water fall from the blade of your paddle. The Norwegian pram encapsulates my early fascination with fishing boats on the fjords and my current desire to fully experience local waterways. The pram has many small voyages ahead, and I look forward to them all.

Gene Tokheim

Gene Tokheim standing next to the Pram he helped build.

For those of you who missed the brief history of the Pram on the online auction page, Ben’s father, Gene Tokheim, was one of the four men who built the Pram in early 2000. When Gene picked up the Pram for Ben, we talked about how the Pram is coming full circle and returning to the family.

“I am glad that he (Ben) will have something that I helped to build,” said Gene. “Ben will take good care of it and treasure it as an example of fine woodcraft and a living tradition.”

For the staff at CURE, we are happy to see the Pram come out of storage and be passed on to the next generation in a family of paddling artisans.

Longtime CURE member Joe Amato had given the Pram to CURE with the expressed intent that it be sold to raise funds that benefit the organization. The sale of the Pram moves us closer to our goal of raising $21,000 by December of this year. With only $8,000 left to raise, you can help us reach our fundraising goal by donating to CURE on Give to the Max Day.



Blog post by Peg Furshong, Director of Operations and Constituent Relations and photos by Sarina Otaibi, Director of Communications.