By Bob Gaffaney
Sunday,  May 06, 2007

 Mike Lien was the Fargo Forum’s photography chief – and an excellent photographer. Being an aspiring photographer myself, I scanned the Forum every day for his remarkable images.

He began to gain wide attention for his work, and in 1967 he won the prestigious National Press Photographers Association Photographer of the Year Award. It was not long after that word came that he was leaving Fargo to join the Washington DC Bureau of the New York Times.

Roger Olson, a good friend and classmate, was a part time sportswriter high school and college for the Forum and had become friends with Mike. Mike even took candid photos at Roger’s wedding. There I met him face to face for the only time – and watched with a sense of awe as he worked. I felt a connection to him that I could not explain.

In Washington he took many classic photos of the high and mighty of the American political scene – Nixon, his cabinet, the Watergate conspirators – all the players.

Tragically, Michael died in a car accident in Baltimore in 1977.

June Aggerholm went to work for Gaffaney’s Office Specialties, Incorporated when she was only 17 years old. I knew June only decades later as a closed and forbidding old woman who ran the day to day operations of the Gaffaney’s Stores with an iron fist, being over my father and his brothers in authority.

She had no life beyond Gaffaney’s then, living in an apartment on the third floor of the building, above the Stationary Store. She rarely went out.

June took breaks from Gaffaney’s in 1935 and again in 1936, allegedly to go to a spa in Hot Springs, Arkansas for treatment of arthritis.

We learned in the last few weeks that June Aggerholm, in fact, gave birth to a child during each of these absences: a daughter and a son. The father of these children was J.E. Gaffaney, my grandfather.

So Michael Lien was my father’s brother.

As you might imagine, we were shocked. In the past few weeks we have been following up with people who knew Mike. The story is indeed true, others knew the facts.

Mike’s sister, Barbara Whalen Katzer, never lived in Fargo. We have learned that Barbara was born in St. Joseph, Missouri and now lives in Greeley. Barbara’s daughter, Angie Plumb, lives in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. We communicate with Angie often and she keeps us up to date on that new branch of the family tree.