Sunday, May 1, 2016

Reidar Dare Rovig Sr. (1877-1943)

Portrait from The Rotarian, February 1943.

    Norwegian native Reidar Dare Rovig is yet another in a bevy of new strange name discoveries, and despite attaining high political office (that of Mayor of Yakima, Washington), little information could be located on him! 
  Born on November 26, 1877 in Namsos, Norway, Reidar Dare Rovig was the son of Olaf and Petra Rovig. Little is known of Rovig's early life or education, as well as the date of his immigration to the United States. Beginning in 1892 he began a lengthy connection with the Chicago, Milwaukee, Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad, being employed as a telegraph operator. He would continue to be affiliated with that railroad until 1910, last being a "northwestern passenger agent" based in Bismarck, North Dakota. Rovig married in 1905 in Minnesota to Jane M. Matthews (1883-1964) and later had four sons: Walter Dare (1906-1973), John Forsyth (1909-1993), George Virtue (1912-1919) and Reidar Dare Jr. (1913-1945).
  Upon leaving railway work Reidar Rovig migrated to Washington to make a name for himself in the retail lumber business. Settling in North Yakima, Rovig would establish the Rovig Lumber Co., which in 1916 could boast of having "$100,000 capital". He held the post of manager of that company and around this same time became affiliated with the Superior Lumber Company, of which he would serve as vice-president.
  After gaining a firm foothold in the Yakima business community, Reidar Rovig turned to politics, announcing his candidacy for Mayor of Yakima in 1920. Running under the slogan of the "business man's candidate", Rovig won the election on December 6th of that year, defeating Earle J. Barnes by a vote of 2,327 to 2,073. Rovig would serve one term of three years and was defeated for reelection in the November 1923 primary by William B. Dudley, who would go on to win the general election that December.
   Following his time as mayor Rovig continued to be active in the business and commercial life of Yakima, serving as the secretary of that city's Rotary Club. He would hold that post for over twenty years and in the late 1930s also served as a member of the Yakima County Advisory Welfare Board. Reidar D. Rovig died at age 66 in Yakima on March 27, 1943. He was survived by three of his sons and his wife Jane, who would later remarry to Milford Roy Knauft. Both Rovig and his wife were interred at the Terrace Heights Memorial Park in Yakima.

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