Posts Tagged: advice

Probituary: Grace Torresdal

Originally published in the November 2007 issue of Inspire(d), we offer our condolences to the family and friends of Grace Torresdal. She passed away May 6, 2015.

Interviewed by granddaughter and long-time Inspire(d) friend Kristin Torresdal (pictured here with Grace). 

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
It’s better to earn your own way through life than to expect other people to support you.

How about the worst?
I can’t really think of any bad advice I’ve received.  I suppose it was when Lester (my husband) told me how great the farm was.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I was raised during the Depression years so I didn’t think about choosing a particular career; I was more concerned with finding any job where I could earn enough money to support myself.

What do/did you do?
I was a telephone operator in Watertown, SD (1947) and Tacoma, WA (1951); after that I was a stay-at-home mom and I worked on the farm (near Ossian, IA) with my husband, Lester.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
A cell phone, a bag containing hair supplies (my hair rollers, comb, and hairspray), and a fishing rod.

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
I tried to be the best helpmate that I could be to my husband and family in spite of not liking the farm life and I enjoy helping friends by doing babysitting and things like that.  I don’t know, it’s hard to describe yourself in just one sentence. What would you say about me?

Kristin: I would say that you are a very strong, intelligent, hard-working woman and that your faith, family, and a desire to help others are really important to you.  I know that this is cheating (because it’s more than one sentence) but I have to add that you are also a wonderful cook, that you have a great sense of humor, and that you are the best grandma a girl could ever have.

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Seafood: scallops, shrimp, and lobster. I really started to like seafood when we lived in Tacoma, WA.

Name one thing you could not live without.
I can’t think of anything I couldn’t live without because we never know from day to day what’s going to be taken from us.

Tell us about… your wedding:
I was married at Decorah Lutheran Church on Dec. 15, 1950 in a terrible snowstorm with well-below zero weather.  It was a wedding that truly focused on our Christian faith and how important it is to both of us.  My mother, brother, and sister were able to come, though they got stuck in the snow on their way to Iowa because the roads were drifted…but they made it to the ceremony in time. Shortly after the wedding, Lester and I left for Tacoma, WA.  We lived in Tacoma for 2 years and then moved to the farm (near Ossian, IA) and lived there for 37 years.

Probituary: John F. Hassebroek

Interviewed by Amalia Vagts, granddaughter (left) • Originally published in the Summer 2014 Inspire(d)

gpa john & amaliaMy grandfather, John F. Hassebroek, can have a conversation with anyone, anyplace, anytime, on pretty much any subject. At 97, he’s slowing down a bit. But if you find yourself in Sioux City, Iowa with some time on your hand, he’d be glad to visit with you. John worked for the American Popcorn Company in Sioux City for 36 years traveling from farm to farm throughout Northeast Nebraska and Northwest Iowa where he was known as the “Pop Corn Man” by the farmers he visited. We caught up on Skype for this interview (with some help from my mom).

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I don’t know that I ran around and asked for advice, but, for one thing, “Be happy.”

How about the worst?

This is really more the worst idea than the worst advice. I moved to Buffalo Center around the time of high school. We had a big ice storm one day and I skated to town on Highway 9, right down the pavement. Luckily, things turned out okay.

What jobs did you think about doing when you were a young kid?

I was raised by my grandfather and grandmother and did a lot of jobs as a young boy. My grandfather ran a filling station next to the house and I worked there sometimes. In fact, my dad dug a pit inside our dirt garage, and I would get in it. The cars would drive in and I would drain the oil, and then tell whoever was up top that I was done and they would pour the oil in. This was when I was 12 or 13 years old.

What work did you do as an adult?

In 1938, I went to the State Fair in Des Moines with my brother and some friends. When they went home, I decided to stay and got a room at the YMCA. Finally down to no funds, I sat on the curb outside a bakery one day eating day-old doughnuts. I got a job with a salesman who sold fur coats in home-owned ladies stores. I finally tired of that and got a job at a parking garage around the corner from WHO where Ronald Reagan was a sports announcer. After that, I joined the service and am a World War II veteran. I spent most of my working years at the American Pop Corn Company. I was a fieldsman and businessman for them for 36 years. I went out and worked with the farmers who were growing the fields of popcorn. I had a very interesting career with a great company.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?

Radio, shelter, and a friend. I suppose for food I would want a fire, so I would need some matches. So if I smoked, I tell you I’d quit on the spot!

Describe yourself in a sentence.

Well, I think I’m a thoughtful person, friendly…I look forward to helping somebody.

How did you meet your wife (the late Bonnie Brodie Hassebroek)?

I was stationed at Fort Des Moines. One night I ended up at the ISO and noticed this pretty classy looking red-haired WAC (Women’s Army Corp) and challenged her to a game of ping pong. She was very friendly and we had a good time. We wound up at an upstairs bowling alley that had booths for short orders. Des Moines had citywide blackouts then and one of those happened so we sat across the booth and chatted in the dark. Well, we hit it off and that started the romance!

What is one of your favorite features of where you live now?

The bathroom, naturally!

A favorite memory…

Bonnie and I were featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Bonnie was in the Women’s Army Corps and I was in the Army. Bonnie was deployed to London soon after the wedding. She went to France some weeks later and then I got orders to go to France with the 167th General Hospital Unit. We had a reunion in Verdun, France after I got a tip from a WAC who knew of a red-haired WAC named Bonnie staying in a farmhouse about 10 miles from the German front. I showed up and knocked on her door and it was on our first wedding anniversary, within one hour of our marriage ceremony. My sergeant mailed in the story to Ripley and it won first prize in 1945. We had quite a life together.

Probituary: Verne Koenig

Verne Koenig, a long time resident of Decorah, started his career in radio at KFJB in Marshalltown, IA. Eventually, he settled in Decorah and became co-owner of KDEC radio along with Ken Bjerke. He still lives in Decorah and was married to his wife Ardith, for 70 years. Ardith passed away in 2013.

Interview by Sarah Cisco, granddaughter of Verne • Orginally published in the Spring 2011 Inspire(d)

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
My Dad said, “Be your self. Do the best you can with what you’ve got and you’ll turn out okay.” So, I’ve tried to follow that and I believe it works.

How about the worst?
If anybody did give me terrible advice, I don’t remember it.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A Country and Western cowboy singer on radio.

What do/did you do?
I did become a Country and Western singer and it grew into my career of a radio station personality, entertainer, newscaster, announcer, emcee, and so forth. And that eventually lead to my owning and operating a radio station in Decorah.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
My guitar, my stamp collection, and my recordings.

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
I’m someone who cares deeply for humanity. I hate brutality and wars.

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Any kind of pie.

Name one thing you could not live without.
The love of my wife & family, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Tell us about your favorite memory.
Meeting and announcing with Ronald “Dutch” Reagan during a high school football game over KFJB. Reagan came from WHO radio in Des Moines to fill in for our sportscaster who was ill.