Harold Rye family steeped in Mobridge’s history
Funeral services for Harold Rye, 94, of Mobridge, were held Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Burial was in Mobridge City Cemetery under the direction of Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge.
Harold passed away Jan. 30, 2013, at Monrovia Memorial Hospital in Monrovia, Calif.
Harold Rye was born March 23, 1918, to Absalon A. Rye, who was born in Gloppen, Nordfjord, Norway, and Jessie Matilda Olson, who was born two miles west of Mobridge. Harold’s family was involved in the settling of pioneers along the Missouri River and intimately connected with Mobridge history. Simon and Bertil Olson, Harold’s grandfather, and Martinus Olson were called Reigstad settlers because they came from Reigstad, Norway; thus the name, Reigstad Bottom. They had livestock and planted crops of oats and corn. They built log homes in which to live. Bertil Olson married Anna Paulson in 1884. They had three children. The oldest became Mrs. John Frisvold, and the youngest, Jessie, became Mrs. Absalon Rye. The Rye family then owned the farm originally filed on by Simon Olson. Bertil Olson was intensely interested in public schools. He was chairman of the first school district organized in the area. The first meeting of the board of Flora School District (which later became the Mobridge Independent School District) was held at his home on Aug. 13, 1887. He was many years later honored when the Mobridge High School yearbook was dedicated to him. It stated that Berril was a man who for 43 years gave faithful, loyal and enthusiastic service as a member of the Board of Education.
It was also extremely important to these settlers to have a church. On June 8, 1884, Rev. A.L. Lobben visited the settlement and services were conducted on Reigstad Bottom at Simon Olson’s log house. Several small congregations were organized as time progressed. They met in homes and schools. History continues and three of those congregations united to form Trinity Lutheran Church in 1908.
Harold became head usher at Trinity Lutheran Church, starting back in the first location of the church, and continued for many years in the new location. As he became older and gave his volunteer position to younger people, he would be observed every Sunday sitting in his chosen pew.
Like his dad, Harold became a farmer. When the Oahe Dam came into being, he and his dad and mother were forced to leave the land they called their home. Harold was a talented carpenter. He built a house for his parents and one for himself on Sixth Ave. W. in Mobridge. Harold was also an insurance agent for Lutheran Brotherhood Insurance.
During World War II, Harold trained to be a mechanic. He was assigned to a tank. During one of their war experiences, the driver of the tank was injured. Harold took over the driving of the tank, and that’s where he continued to serve. He has many experiences to share with us from his tour in Europe.
On Sept. 3, 1960, Harold married Dolores Ann Salzseidler at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mobridge. They lived in Mobridge in the house Harold built.
Harold and Dolores loved to travel. Trips took them to Canada, Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, through the Panama Canal and on cruises, to name a few. Harold was a great amateur photographer and he always had his camera with him. The trips gave him many picture opportunities, but he also took pictures at weddings, birthdays and family gatherings. In 2006 and 2007, he made calendars using his photography, which he gave for gifts.
A masterful woodcarver, Harold was. He made many wooden items, which he gave to friends and family for Christmas gifts and other occasions. His eyes lit up as he told people he had been given a black walnut tree trunk. What great gifts he would make out of black walnut!
Harold’s sisters all moved to the West Coast and Idaho. They raised their families there. Every Christmas, Harold and Dolores traveled to California to see Fern and Shirley, and on the way home to McCall, Idaho, to see Bunny. After Dolores passed away, Harold made the trip by himself. He said one day that he had not missed one Christmas in 40 years. He cherished being with his family. This year was no different, with one exception; his aging body was beginning to fail him. After spending several weeks at Dave and Debbie’s home and at Craig and Joanna’s home and enjoying Christmas and New Year’s, he collapsed and ended up in the hospital. He had shared the fact that this would be his last time and he would go to be with his family. And it was so, life ended where he wanted to be, with his family.
Harold is survived by his sister, Fern (Rye) Dillard; nephews, Craig (Joanna) McMillan, and David (Debbie) Dillard; nieces, Linda (Pat) Tunis, and Patricia (Rey) Braganza; great-nephews, Jotham (Dana) McMillan, Justin McMillan, and Damon (Jillaire) McMillan; great-nieces, Allison (Joe Middleswart) Dillard and Chrisine (Michael Israel) Dillard.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Absalon and Jessie Rye; brother, Allen Raymond Rye; sisters, Anna Shirley McMillan, and Bernice “Bunny” Mathelda Truman; and nephew, Timothy Dillard.