Paul Field in Dubuque, IA17 Jun 1927. In 1930 they settled in Decorah where Dr. Field practiced dentistry for more than 50 years. They became the parents of 3 children, Paul Bertel , John Andrew  and Elizabeth Wald.

Iduna Bertel Field was active in many community and state organizations. She was co-founder of the Winneshiek County Mental Health Association in 1952, served as its first President, and was responsible, along with several others in the community, for the establishment of the Mental Health Center in Decorah.

It was the first rural Mental Health Center in IA (if not the nation). She was also involved in convincing Allamakee Co. to join with Winneshiek Co., thus forming the first Mental Health Center in IA to consist of more than one county. At that time it was called the Winneshiek-Allamakee Guidance Center. Mrs. Field, along with a few others, funded the program for eight months before the counties became involved fiscally. She was also active at the State level in promoting community Mental Health services. This activity occurred in the early 1950’s. Mrs. Field was also instrumental in the establishment of the Northeast Iowa Mental Health Center, which included Howard, Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties. Clayton Co. joined in 1967.

Bio Photo

Iduna Bertel Field circa 1942

In 1953 Mrs. Field was honored by the Iowa State Mental Health Association as recipient of the Award of Merit presented annually to one individual in the state for the most outstanding and distinguished service that year in promoting better mental health in the State of IA. She was elected president of the Mental Health Association of IA, and served on the Board of Directors of the State association.

Iduna Field, a longtime member of the National League of American Pen Women, was state president from 1960-62, and Waterloo-Cedar Falls Branch president from 1956-60. She was the author of numerous articles, many on Indian lore, published in The Chicago Tribune. The Milwaukee Journal. The Minneapolis Journal, and The Chicago Daily News Magazine, among others. On several occasions she won first prize for Best Book Review on The Des Moines Register Book Page. Her short fiction, “The Tryst," was published in The American Short Short Story, an anthology cited as presenting the best selections by American authors in 1935. Every year for more than twenty years from the 1950's through the 1970’s her poetry appeared in Lyrical Iowa, and Mrs. Field was published in other anthologies as well. For four years she was editor of The Annals, a poetry magazine featuring Northeast Iowa poets which was affiliated with the Poetry Society of Iowa. In 1982 Iduna Field researched and wrote a history of Decorah as it was “50 Years Ago" for the Decorah Newspapers.

For fourteen years in the 1930’s and 1940’s Iduna Field conducted a weekly radio program for Station KWLC at Luther College where she broadcast book reviews on emerging writers.

Honored as a 60-year member of PEO in 1992, Iduna was a Charter Member of Decorah’s AAUW. She also set a record as a 35-year campaign worker for the Community Concert Association. Iduna Field belonged to the Congregational United Church of Christ and was a 50-year member of Eastern Star. She may be remembered for her devotion to the elderly, shut-ins, and those who were lonely or alone, among them Mr. Hendrickson, a wood-carver living at the Aase Haugen Home in the 1940’s whose work is displayed at Vesterheim, and Archibald Sowden, the blind violinist from West Union who performed with the Luther College Messiah for many years.

Mrs. Field died in Decorah 5 Jan 1994 at age 95.

Field, Lese (Wald)

(Elizabeth Field Hogan)

Lese Wald Field, mother of Decorah dentist, Dr. H.P Field, lived in Decorah for a few years during her childhood some sixty years before her son would move there in 1930. Born in Flekkefjord, Norway 30 Sep 1862 to John and Tonetta Eiseland Wald, Lese was two years old when her family emigrated to the promised land of America.

The Walds went first to Neenah, Wl but around 1869 or 1870 when Lese was seven or eight years old the family followed the great wave of migration westward to Decorah. Here a second child Louis was born. Old enough to have several vivid memories of Decorah she related that her father loved to fish in the Upper Iowa River and would take her along. While waiting for the fish to bite he would sing Quaker hymns in Norwegian. Like most Norwegians, John Wald, her father, had been brought up and confirmed as a Lutheran but while a young man living in one of the coastal cities of Norway he listened to

Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as birth dates of people that maybe living is not included. See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

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