a big factor. Also, the ‘America Fever” was rampant in Valdres. A greater number of immigrants came to America from Valdres than from any part of Norway.

Jerend Riste came to America in 1861. She stayed with the Soland family helping with the work and looking after Soland’s 2 sons, Gilbert and Erick. Soon after her arrival she met Peder Ode. She brought greetings to Peder from his family. Jerend Riste was born 24 Apr 1841 near Lomen Vestre Slidre in Valdres, Norway.

Six years after his arrival, Peder was married to Jerend Riste on 13 Dec 1862 by Rev. Abraham Jacobson. In fact, the Rev. A. and Mrs. Jacobson were also newlyweds. For about a year and a half these two couples lived together in one large room, cooked on the one stove, but ate at their own tables. Their first babies—Ode’s son Austin and Jacobson’s daughter Clara were born just 3 weeks apart. In all the time these two couples lived together in the one room, Mrs. Ode said that angry words were never spoken between them. They all remained close, dear friends throughout their lives.

Jerend and Peder’s next home was a log cabin consisting of a large living room, bedroom, pantry and 2 upstairs rooms. They raised sheep and Mrs. Ode washed, carded and spun the wool into yarn and then wove the yarn into bed-blankets. Jerend helped with the outdoor work also, leaving the first two little ones in the house while doing chores. She would sprinkle sugar all over the seats of several kitchen chairs. Picking up the sugar with their little fingers kept the two children busy and contented until she returned.

The log cabin was their home until 1884 when they built a new house on the 200 acre farm near Decorah. They lived the rest of their lives at this homestead and made a happy home there for their 9 children: six boys-Austin, Gustave, Nels, Ole, George, and Paul, and 3 girls-Sarah, Beata, and Marie Elizabeth.

Peder and Jerend sold the farm to their son Paul and lived with him and his wife Clara until their deaths. Peder Ode died in May 1919. Jerend died in 1926. They are buried at the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Ode, Rudolph and Gail (Wepler)

(Gail Ode)

Rudolph Wilhelm Ode was born in Springfield Township 3 Jan 1918. He died 9 Aug 1979. His parents were Paul and Clara (Nelson) Ode. (Refer to family history). He received his education at Red Oak School up to eighth grade and received his high school certificate at Northeast Iowa Community College at Calmar, IA by taking a high school equivalency test. He married Gail Wepler (b. 11 Jun 1918) in Shreveport, LA on 21 Apr 1943. Gail’s parents were J. Elmer and Inga Marie (Skogstad Anderson) Wepler. (Refer to family history.)

Rudy and Gail are members of the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church. Rudy was a trustee, Chairman of the Church Congregation, President of Brotherhood; he was active in community affairs and was in the U.S. Army for 9 years. Rudy was a WWII veteran, a lifetime member of the VFW; belonged to the Cootie Puptent, the American Legion, a member of the Farm Bureau, clerk of Spring-field Twp and a member of the A.S.C.S.

Gail held different offices in the Ladies Aid Auxiliary and church circles. She was President of the VFW Auxiliary and is a lifetime member. She belonged to the Cootie Auxiliary, was accepted into the Hanna Lee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is a member of the Association for Retarded Persons.

Bio Photo

Ode family
Gail and Rudy, Joyce 17 years, Butch 15 years, Judy 13 years and Karen 7 years.
Taken Christmas Day 1961 at their home.

Rudy and Gail were parents of 4 children: Joyce Elaine was severely handicapped and lived with her family until she was 36 years old. At that time she made her home at the Oneota Riverview Care Facility, Inc.

LaDue Wayne nicknamed “Butch” (b. 31 Oct 1946 - d. 9 Jun 1974) received his education at Nordness, Red Oak and Decorah High School. He was in the Decorah Drum and Bugle Corp (Kilties), played football and was a wrestler at the high school. He joined the Marines and was in the service for 5 years. Butch was a Viet Nam Veteran and served as a Marine Security Guard at two American Embassies at Karachi, Pakistan and Nairobi, Kenya. He belonged to the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church, was a life member of the VFW, belonged to the Elks Lodge and he was the fourth generation to farm on the Ode homestead. He was buried at the Washington Prairie Lutheran Cemetery.

Judith Carol went to Red Oak School through sixth grade and then went to the Decorah Community Schools graduating in 1966 from D.H.S. She attended the University of Iowa where she met her husband. She married Lt. William F. Boiler III on 30 May 1970 at Washington Prairie Lutheran Church. Her husband graduated from U. of I. and received his R.O.T.C. training while in school. He was a Viet Nam veteran, returned to the states and was in the Army Reserves and discharged as a Captain. Bill and Judy have 4 daugh


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