In June 1914, Berit L., her mother Berit J. and others took the train at Fagernes to Oslo, a boat to England, a train across to Liverpool, a ship to Montreal and a train to Meota, Sask., NW of Saskatoon, arriving at a large farm. In October her brother Jake and Anna went there and brought her to Decorah. They stopped to visit Ivar in Crookston and she saw "Halloweeners" for the first time.

Bio Photo

Sod-roofed shelter on the saeter, Bertis is on the right,
with other saeter “jenter" (girls) before she left in 1914.

She stayed with Jake and Anna the first winter of 1914-1915. Norton Kjome’s father died in the spring and Berit worked there over the summer. The next 2 years she worked for Mr. and Mrs. Jayne an insurance agent and teacher. She worked for Chris Qualley for a while and then at Ben Bear’s home for a year. She married Christian C. Qualley 25 Jun 1919 at Christine Hamre’s home-Marga-ret delayed the minister outside while they practiced. Chris died in 1944 shortly after their 25th anniversary. Their son Eivind. C. was born 15 Jan 1923 and died 2 Mar 1991. He married Esther Steinlicht and divorced. He married Patricia Skillings (b. 5 Jun 1924 -d. 27 Sep 1981) on 3 Nov 1945. They had 2 sons: Richard Christian and Michael Christian. Eivind was in the Decorah Drum & Bugle Corps in the 1930’s. They live in the Minneapolis area.

Berit was a chaperone on the tour to San Francisco for the opening of the big bridge. (Bay Bridge in 1936 or Golden Gate in 1937— I’m not sure which.) She brought back gifts from Chinatown and made chow mein and chop suey. She loved entertaining. Often she would say,"Mrs. Jayne did it this way!” Berit learned her lessons well. Chris died in 1944, shortly after their 25th anniversary. Berit baked fancy cookies and cakes for people. During the time when sugar was rationed, bridesmaids gave a cup of sugar each to the bride for the baking of the wedding cake. After WWII she opened her home to Luther College students: first married couples, later single men. These men had an intramural team called “Bertha's Boys.”

In 1949 she took a trip to Norway. She visited relatives, friends and friends of friends. When she returned, she acted like a school girl. She had found widower Ingvar

Oraker, a brother of Ivar Oraker of Canton. Ingvar (b. 1888-d. 9 Nov 1982) came to Decorah in the spring. They were married during the Sunday church service at Decorah Lutheran Church on 4 Jun 1950. She sold her house furnished, bought a van and filled it with her washing machine and other things. They went to Norway and lived in Ingvar’s beautiful home at Kapp, overlooking Lake Mjosa near where the 1994 Olympics were held.

Berit visited her son and family in the U.S. every 5 years until the late 1960’s to keep her U.S. citizenship. She lived her last years at a nursing home, visited often by Valborg, Ingvar’s niece who had lived with them. Berit was always a busy person. She wrote letters to a great many people. She made hand-pieced quilts, hooked rugs and did fancy Hardanger embroidery and other types. We all have things she made for us. I called her “Tante” meaning “aunt” and reserved it only for her.

Orvella, Helmer I. and Cora (Stoen)

(Lillian Bruvold)

Helmer Ingeman Orvella son of Ole and Gunhild (Tovson) Orvella was born 28 Dec 1893 in Springfield Twp. He was baptized and confirmed at Washington Prairie Lutheran Church. He attended Broghammer and Red Oak rural schools in Springfield Twp. and attended Valders Breckenridge Business Institute in Decorah.

Helmer married Cora M. Stoen 7 Jun 1922 at Big Canoe Lutheran Church. They had 3 children: Gertrude Lillian Jeanette married Harris Norman Bruvold 7 Sep 1946 at Washington Prairie Lutheran Church. They have 4 children: Orval Harris, Paul Duane, Harlan Neil and Lila Ann (Bruvold) Smith. Willard Kenneth married Eloise Blegan 8 Feb 1953. They have 4 children: Mary Louise (Sersland), Kathleen Ann (Gloede), Larry Allen and James Allen (twins). Arlys Lorraine married Wayne Soeder 27 Aug 1952. They have 3 children: David Wayne, Diane Marie (Main) and Daryl Lee.

Bio Photo

Helmer Orvella family Helmer, Cora, Lillian, Willard and Arlys.


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.

Please, contact the County Coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021