Born at the end of the roaring twenties, on March 9, 1928, Glenn Rudel came roaring to life, as the sixth child of Christian and Lydia Rudel. He was born on the farm and lived there with his five siblings and parents in Wells County North Dakota near Fessenden. He was several years younger than his older siblings, so essentially grew up as an only child, with ensuing shenanigans inevitable. He had fond memories of his father, Chris, teaching him to hunt and fish. His mother cared for and cooked for the family. Her menu often consisted of many of the family recipes like the strudel of the German Russian families in North Dakota. This was not like the strudel of some German families, but a rolled dough that was boiled with beef and served with broth. Life was not easy on this farm during the depression years, and all the family members worked diligently to keep the farm going. His father Chris earned extra money by driving the bus for the farm children and Glenn especially remembered with fondness riding to school on the sleigh pulled by horses when the snow was too deep for the bus.
Glenn went to school grades 1-12 in Fessenden, North Dakota. He had many fond memories of his years there, and especially of playing football in high school. He loved looking at his FHS yearbooks and reminiscing about his friends there, two of whom became his brothers-in-law, Don Johnson, and Don Pepple. In his later years, he especially enjoyed talking about his girlfriends! He graduated from high school in 1945. He went to the North Dakota School of Forestry and played football there until an injury sidelined him for the season.
He married Arlene Georgeson in 1951 at Hoff Lutheran Church in Heimdal, North Dakota. They lived in Oberon, North Dakota where Glenn managed an International Harvesters Store and then managed the Farmers Union Coop there. Their two daughters, Glenda and Cindy, were born while they lived there. In 1955, they moved to Rolla, North Dakota, a small town very near to the Canadian border. The winters there were frigid and long. The summers were warm and green and perfect for farming most years. Glenn was the manager of the Cenex company which he grew from a small business operating out of a tiny Quonset on the southwest part of Rolla, later growing to the larger building on the Main Street of town where the business thrived for many years. He diversified the business selling everything from Oliver farm equipment, Versatile swathers, and even Evenrude boat motors and boats too! The board members of this business were also support partners for him. He had many friends among the board members over the years.
While living there, Glenn became a small aircraft pilot. Leonard Krech, a good friend taught him to fly and Glenn loved flying. He flew to many fishing and hunting destinations, including northern Manitoba, Alaska, and all over the western United States. His favorite airplane was a Bonanza that won the "most beautiful" Bonanza contest in 1988. He was quite proud of this. He even encouraged family members to learn. His daughters declined, but his son-in-laws learned to fly and they flew often with Glenn on cross country trips. One of his saddest days was when he gave up flying and sold his airplane. He was happy when old friends from Rolla bought his beloved plane. He liked knowing it was in good hands. Glenn's family was relieved when he reluctantly gave up this hobby.
While in Rolla, he was also busy serving the community of Rolla. He was once President of the Chamber of Commerce, and also President of the Kiwanis Club. He expressed amazement to us that he had once held those positions. On one of the celebrations of the local Bulova Jewel Bearing Plant in Rolla, he had to pick up Governor Guy at the airport. He broke his shoelace while getting ready to leave for the airport, and was upset because he just couldn't be late picking up the governor. He was also the host for General Omar Bradley that day. He was nervous about these duties, especially about encouraging the General to follow the schedule for the day. The General was not accustomed to being told what to do.
In addition, he was a member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church. He was the chairperson of the building committee when they built the new church in Rolla. He traveled widely looking at other new church buildings before deciding on the plan that was chosen for the current church building. He enjoyed building it with other church members and made a life-long friend in Elroy Steinwand who was the pastor at the time.
He was also busy being a dad to his daughters. He and Arlene took many camping trips and the boat always came too. Glenda and Cindy learned to fish, and drive a boat, and waterski too. They visited friends all over the west. When the ski hill was opened Glenn learned to ski and the girls did too! They skied with their dad most Sundays when there was snow and if it wasn't too cold! Arlene and Glenn retired in 1977. They left their life in Rolla behind, and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. They lived just west of Camelback Mountain. He bought an office building on Camelback Road where he had an office until he sold the building in 1984. He developed warehouses with the Rudel Company in Phoenix until his retirement from that business in 1988.
Mostly while living in Phoenix he had a lot of retirement fun. He and Arlene traveled back and forth to North Dakota in their motorhome. Glenn loved to fish and spent many happy hours doing so at Lake Sacajawea and Devils Lake. Of course he made many happy trips north to hunt and fish in Canada too. Another sad moment in his life was when he sold his last motorhome.
Glenn also built a home on Lake Elaine in Flagstaff, Arizona. This house was decorated with many of his hunting trophies, including the Grand Slam of Bighorn sheep. This designation made him very proud.
Arlene and Glenn celebrated many happy holidays and summers at the house. The whole family enjoyed weekend ski trips there to ski at the Snowbowl. Hiking was also a favorite activity. Hiking Mount Eldon and Humphries were frequent activities until his hips could not do it anymore. Perhaps the saddest day for him was the day he sold the Flagstaff house. The entire family was sad when this happened.
Glenn and Arlene also did other traveling, including cruises in Norway and Alaska, and Glenn even skied in Zermatt, Switzerland.
Glenn was loving and generous with his family. His daughters, Glenda and Cindy both moved to Phoenix with their husbands, Joe and Jim. The five grandchildren, Noah, Cameron and Brook Keegan, and Chelsea and Chad Blegen were his fortunate grandchildren. They spent many happy hours in Flagstaff when it was too hot in Phoenix. He also generously helped to pay their tuition to universities in Arizona, California, Washington, and Colorado. The grandchildren as well as their parents are grateful for this gift. He also now has ten great-grandchildren.
It can be said of Glenn that he lived well, worked hard, and played with gusto.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Arlene, and his parents, Christian and Lydia Rudel, and his siblings, Lyle, Roger, Kermit and Erdella, His sister Eva died a week after Glenn.
He is survived by his daughters, Glenda Blegen (Joe) and Cindy Keegan (Jim) and his grandchildren, Noah Keegan (Andrea), Cameron Keegan (Meredith) and Brook Keegan, and Chelsea Martin (Kyle) and Chad Blegen (Ashlay). He is also survived by ten great grandchildren, and one cousin, Weston Rudel, who is 99.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, January 7, 2023 at 11:00AM at All Saints Lutheran Church located at 15649 North 7th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85022.
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