Arley R. Bjella Papers, 1946-1968
Primary Creator: Bjella, Arley R. (1916-2001)
Extent: 1.25 Linear Feet
"Arley Bjella, former chairman and chief executive officer of Lutheran Brotherhood, died Monday at the Walker Medical Center in Minneapolis of complications from pneumonia.
Bjella, 84, was born in Epping, N.D., the youngest of five children raised by Norwegian immigrants. He earned a law degree at the University of North Dakota in 1941 and began practicing in Williston, N.D.
Starting in 1942, Bjella served in Europe as a captain in the legal division of the Army. After World War II he worked as a prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials.
He returned to Williston and resumed his law practice, which flourished after the discovery of oil in the Williston Basin. In 1950, Bjella, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor.
In 1967 he was elected a director of Lutheran Brotherhood, a financial service organization. In 1970 he moved to Minneapolis after being elected CEO and chairman of the board.
He served in that position until 1987. His priorities included expanding the organization's charitable work. The organization also flourished financially. The life insurance division grew from $4 billion in 1970 to more than $18 billion in 1987. Its assets rose from $579 million to $5.3 billion, and its charitable foundation grew from $1.9 million to nearly $28 million.
Bjella's church, civic and community work included leadership roles in the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Courage Foundation and the Minnesota Meeting.
Survivors include his wife, Beverly, of Minneapolis; sons Lance of Minneapolis and Brian of Bismarck, N.D.; daughter Bryn Parchman of Baltimore, and a brother, Lanceford, of Tucson, Ariz.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Av. S., Minneapolis. There will be a visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Werness Brothers Funeral Chapels, 3500 W. 50th St., Minneapolis. Memorials are preferred to the Luther Seminary Foundation, the Bethlehem Foundation or the Norwegian- American Museum in Decorah, Iowa."
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 23 May 2001
Access Restrictions: Open for inspection under the rules and regulations of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections.
Acquisition Source: The original acquisition records are unavailable
Preferred Citation: (Description of Item). Arley R. Bjella Papers. OGLMC 297, Box #, Folder #. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.
Finding Aid Revision History: Finding aid input to Archon in August 2016.
Browse by Box:
- Box 1
- Folder 1: General political file for 1950: correspondence regarding campaign for North Dakota Lieutenant Governor (March-June)
- Folder 2: General political file for 1958: correspondence, clippings, 1956 and 1958 Republican platforms
- Folder 3: General political file for 1957: correspondence
- Folder 4: General political file for 1958: correspondence
- Folder 5: Republican Organizing Committee platforms: 1946 and 1952; Williams County Republican Organizing Committee platform: 1952
- Folder 6: Republican Organizing Committee Executive Committee meeting minutes: May 1, 1954
- Folder 7: Republican Organizing Committee recommended revised constitution and by-laws: 1954
- Folder 8: General political file for 1964: correspondence and other documents related to the state and national Republican conventions
- Folder 9: General political file for 1962: correspondence and clippings related to the March Republican convention and June primary election
- Folder 10: General political file for 1959: correspondence, clippings, pamphlets
- Folder 11: General political file for 1957: correspondence and clippings related to the September meeting of the Republican State Central Committee
- Folder 12: General political file for 1958: correspondence, pamphlets, maps, clippings
- Folder 13: General political file for 1954: ROC correspondence, clippings, pamphlets and lists of Williams County Republican Committeemen
- Folder 14: General political file for 1952: ROC correspondence, Williams County ROC platform
- Folder 15: General political file for 1951: correspondence
- Folder 16: General political file for 1950: Correspondence (January-March)
- Folder 17: "Sketch of Arley R. Bjella, Williston, North Dakota"
- Folder 18: General political file for 1946: primary election statistics, ROC voter guides, ROC form letter to Williams County voters
- Folder 19: General political file for 1968: correspondence from Senator Milton Young and invitation to the inauguration of President Richard Nixon
- Folder 20: General political file for 1966: correspondence from Senator Milton Young and the state Republican platform
- Folder 21: General political file for 1962: correspondence and clippings related to Bjella's resignation as State Republican Chairman
- Folder 22: General political file for 1961: correspondence, clippings, pamphlets
- Folder 23: General political file for 1960: correspondence, clippings, pamphlets
- Folder 24: General political file for 1959: correspondence, clippings, pamphlets
- Folder 25: General political file for 1948: sample ballots, correspondence, clippings
- Folder 26: General political file: By-laws of the Republican Party of North Dakota
- Folder 27: General political file for 1962: correspondence regarding Lincoln Day
- Folder 28: General political file: Senate and House Elections Committee, 1959-1962
- Folder 29: General political file: 1962 Campaign Committee
- Folder 30: General political file: correspondence regarding election laws, 1959-1961
- Folder 31: General political file: correspondence regarding Republican Party platform, 1959-1961
- Folder 32: General political file for 1962: correspondence and publications
- Folder 33: General political file for 1962: meeting minutes of the State Republican Convention, held in Bismarck, March 29, 1962
- Folder 34: Text of sermon entitled "First or Last" by Pastor Chris Nelson, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota: March 1, 2015
- The sermon relates a story of Bjella, who served as a Judge Advocate General during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trails.
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