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Ruthven author tells how neighbors came together

By Staff | Sep 23, 2009

Alan Oppedal of Ruthven signed his book The Inevitable Triumph at Pioneer Days Saturday at Peterson Point. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

The Battle of Gettysburg had a longlasting influence on the soldiers who fought for both North and South. For generations, even until now, animosities have lasted on one side or the other.

However, a Ruthven man who was a journalist for several decades has written a book of how the two sides came together toward a common cause – winning World War II.

Alan Oppedal, author of The Inevitable Triumph, was at Pioneer Day Saturday at Peterson Point signing copies of the book he authored a few years ago that chronicles how, through time, neighbor joined neighbor in the war that would change the course of civilization.

It was actually the area topography that determined where people settled. While long-established families settled in the more level Lake Township in the far northeastern corner of Clay County, Norwegian and Danish immigrants settled Lost Island Township in the far northwestern corner of Palo Alto County. Oppedal drew from the family histories of both sides of his family for the book.

Oppedal’s father came from Norway to the rugged logging camps of the Pacific Northwest in 1909 and sent money to his family back in Norway. His sister lived in Lost Island Township and they hadn’t seen each other for years.

When Oppedal’s father went to visit his sister he learned that she had a son and was not married. So he decided to stay and help care for the boy who tragically died in the 1919 flu epidemic.

It was while living there that Oppedal’s father met his mother, a teacher at Lake Center School.

Oppedal recalls in the book how as a child he had to pick up so many rocks. He wondered why there were not nearly as many rocks just a couple miles away. He soon learned that a glacier had stopped just miles away, leaving the Ruthven moraine, a major landmark still visible just south of Ruthven along Highway 18.

While certain people settled given areas, reflecting their beliefs, those people did in fact come together to answer the call of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt who issued a call to arms.

The Inevitable Triumph is available for $20 from Alan Oppendal at Box 28, Ruthven, IA 51358 or by calling 712-837-4725.