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Tribute to Fred Rydholm (0042-Rydholm Tribute)

Tribute to Fred Rydholm

March 11, 1924-April 4, 2009

On April 4, 2009, our dear founder and motivating force passed quietly onto his next phase. He will continue to whisper in our ears, and nudge us onward toward the fulfillment of his - then the greater - dream of acquiring the giant hunk of Keweenaw float copper, the 20 acres upon which it sits, and the museum to be built there, with the copper becoming the centerpiece attraction. He is deeply missed, honored, and respected by thousands, especially his family and closest workers toward this goal. $340,000 is still needed to buy the copper and the 40s acres of land.
Here's a link to video tribute on TV-6:

Official Obituary from the Family

               Noted local historian, author, teacher and three-term Marquette mayor, C. Fred Rydholm, died peacefully in his sleep Saturday evening after an eight-month battle with cancer. Known and beloved as a storyteller, mentor and friend to countless numbers of followers and fans both regionally and internationally through his books, travels and speaking tours, Rydholm inspired and influenced the way many think and relate to their personal life-story, their cultural identity and their relationship to the Upper Peninsula's wilderness heritage.

Born on March 11, 1924, to Eber F. and Louise Harwood Rydholm, Fred was a graduate of Albion College and served as a Navy hospital corpsman during World War II.  For most of his professional career, Rydholm taught seventh and eighth grade general science, retiring from the Marquette Public Schools in 1982. His public and personal avocations over the course of his lifetime were numerous, including fourteen years as a Marquette City Commissioner, a candidate for State Representative in the 1960's, a loved and well-remembered counselor at Bay Cliff Health Camp, and a wilderness guide at the Huron Mountain Club.

 On December 26, 1953, Rydholm married June Elsie Beltrame, and from 1953 to 1968 the couple served as co-directors of the children's program at the Huron Mountain Club, while raising their two sons Fred K. and Dan. In 1949, Rydholm purchased the half-way camp on the Bentley Trail, the historic foot-path connecting the McCormick Wilderness Estate near Michigamme and the Huron Mountain Club. Rydholm would spend the majority of the rest of his life documenting the history of the people and places associated with this overland route through some of the most pristine wilderness in the country. His life-long efforts culminated in his two-volume work, Superior Heartland: A Backwoods History, which is now considered a regional classic of its genre.

In his later years, Rydholm turned his attention to the region's mining and mineral heritage, hoping to confirm his theory that the natural native copper endemic to Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula was a focal point of  contact and trade in the ancient world. His theory along with a personal meditation on his life-long fascination with native copper is presented in his last book, Michigan Copper: The Untold Story, which, in many ways, serves an epilogue to his earlier work and an epitaph to his life.

Rydholm's final years were devoted to the vision of building a museum in the U.P's Copper Country where the world's largest piece of float copper could be displayed to dramatically show the area's peculiarly unique mineral heritage. As president of the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society, it was Rydholm's dream to raise the necessary funds to accomplish this goal.  Rydholm is survived by his wife, June, and his two sons, Fred K. (Pat Berke) and Dan (Kathleen Heideman). Rydholm willed that his remains be sent to the Michigan State University School of Medicine. A memorial service will be planned in the near future. Memorial gifts will be gratefully accepted by the Yellowdog Watershed Preserve, P.O. Box 5, Big Bay, MI 49808 (www.yellowdogwatershed.org); and the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society, c/o Judy Johnson, P.O. Box 216, Skandia, MI  49885 (www.aaapf.org).


 historical note:


Pennington Film on Fred

"Let Me Not Drown on the Waters: Fred Rydhom, Michigan's Mr. Copper"

Premiered SAT. MAY 30, 2-4:00 at the Peter White Public Library in Marquette. Presented by the Rydholm family.





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