We Lost A Little Magic

Roland Sardeson died over the weekend, and we’re going to miss him.

In typical Roland fashion, he wrote his own obituary.  As he said “What could go wrong?”  Click here to read it.

There’s a website where you can share your memories and photos of Roland — www.rolandsardeson.com.

In an effort to find pictures to share on the Roland website, I looked through past issues of High Street Beat.

No other person has been featured or mentioned in this blog more often than Roland. It couldn’t be helped. He kept doing things that were blog-worthy.

Let’s start with Roland in various parades.




He was a local celebrity.

Remember when this was a billboard?


Even when he played a dead guy in Uncle Willie’s Wake, he was riveting – staying in character as guests started kissing him.


Roland didn’t need a stage to perform.  The entire town was his stage.

He was Scrooge during last December’s Gallery Night.


He was Allen Ludden at the Password Tournament.


He wore a straight jacket and surprised dinner guests by launching into Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart at the Walker House.

He made Mineral Point even more beautiful by building and preserving stone walls all over town.




On a nice day you could find him reading on his roof.


A Marine who served in Vietnam, Roland re-worked the Veteran’s Memorial in town so that people could walk up to it and read the names of the fallen. As he states in his obituary, his service in Vietnam was the “seminal event in my life on which all other things are partially based.”


His studio on Commerce Street, was a curiosity.  He would leave the door wide open even when he was gone. How many tourists wandered in there and wondered what was going on?

Here you see him posing in his studio with a pot he made and in the background you can see the partially constructed Little Free Library that now graces Water Tower Park.


He took the concept of the Little Free Libraries to a new level.



There are at least nine of his libraries around town and they are the best – complete with hidden compartments and details you will only see if you open them up and explore.




One freezing winter he decorated the corner of High and Commerce with giant ice votives.


He decorated himself for Valentine’s Day.


The Wisconsin State Journal accurately described Roland as “the Spirit of Mineral Point.” Parades won’t be the same. The corner of High and Commerce won’t be the same. Gallery Night won’t be the same. High Street Beat won’t be the same. The Nutcracker won’t be the same (but it will still be great and you should go).

The town has lost some magic.

Of course his closest friends and those lucky enough to know him for decades will feel the loss the hardest. But, for the rest of us, there’s a sadness in knowing he won’t be roaming around town. You never knew what character he would be or where you would see him.  But, it was always a fantastic surprise. He embodied all that was good and special about Mineral Point.

Roland will be remembered on April 20, 2017 at the Lind Pavilion. Until then, go to www.rolandsardeson.com to share your photos and memories.

-Contributed by Lisa Hay

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12 Responses to We Lost A Little Magic

  1. What a beautiful tribute to Roland, Lisa. He will live in our hearts forever but Mineral Point won’t be the same without him. Our hearts are broken.

  2. mosaiccabaret says:

    Beautifully said and pictured! Judy Sutcliffe

  3. Oh, thank you for all of this–and especially the pictures & his Little Free Libraries–there was no one like him, and he was so well loved by all who knew him. I think we all have to figure out what we can do in town to honor his memory–something permanent–and fun where, when we see it, we will smile & think of one of our happy memories of Roland!

  4. Cinda (,Walker) Bendorf says:

    I always enjoyed going to plays and waiting for Roland (Rollie) to come on stage. Every character he played was totally different and always entertaining! I was intrigued by him on and off stage and was saddened by his passing. There will be a void on the streets of Mineral Point.

  5. Lily Bragge says:

    Lovely tribute Lisa. Great pic’s too. So bittersweet.

  6. lilybragge says:

    Lovely tribute Lisa. So bittersweet. Great pic’s too. As we say in Oz, what a top bloke!

  7. strangstad@aol.com says:

    Thanks for the comments and pics of Roland. Mineral Point didn’t lose “a little magic” when we lost Roland. It lost a whole lot of magic! For me, he is/was much of what makes Mineral Point special. I knew him for a long time, but we were never truly close. But I feel his loss keenly. Right now, Mineral Point feels pretty ordinary. That’s as it should be. Time will change that, of course.

    By the way, I found no place to write comments about Roland on the website you mentioned.

  8. Paul Norden says:

    Thank you so much

  9. David Froode says:

    I have not seen Roland for at least ten years but very saddened. Not because I will miss him but because the world will as many have already expressed. Roland was without question one of a kind. Always a good friend and joy to be with. If things weren’t going well, Roland was the one you wanted to be with. It wasn’t for his worldly wisdom or problem solving but it was his nature, his way of just seeing the world through Roland’s eyes. He could always make lemonade out of the lemons of life.

    We first met at UW Platteville living in the dorm at The Top of the Melch. We spent about 3 years there. Some of the funnest times I can remember. One to remember was the time a friend walked in to Rolands room and was drinking water from a glass. The guy had a long handle bar mustache. One drop of water fell from the persons mustache landing on Rolands floor. Roland screamed “water fight” and game on. The whole floor went nuts and for the next hour we went at it. The Resident Director would eventually find out about the water fight because water from our fourth floor would leak down through the building eventually exiting his ceiling of his first floor apartment.

    I remember another occasion Roland showed interest in a pottery class I was taking. Thought it was pretty cool and signed on the next semester. Little did we know it would become his profession for so many years. Only Roland could pull that one off.

    We all knew Roland had a tour of Viet Nam. But it was not some thing discuss too often other then his disdain for those ‘decision makers he refers to. Rolands major was Political Science and we all asked “why” because how much he disliked politics. But he stuck it out and got that degree. I see in his obit he mentions being one of those leaders making decisions. I for one would have voted for him ten times over but I doubt he could have survived in the system. He was too pure and good for that.

    Obviously few of us will ever know another like Roland. He walked to the beat of his own drum. Nothing but absolute respect for this man. He was and always will be one of my favorites and lived a life worth emulating.

  10. Carol Garman says:

    I wish I had known this special guy. We could have been friends.

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