Alfred, Orland, and Joan Ogden
Alfred R. (1874-1948)
Alfred R. Ogden, a pioneer worker and missionary in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, served for nearly fifty years as a pastor and administrator. He was president of three conferences and a union in the North American Division and three unions outside the U.S.
Alfred was born in Muscatine, Iowa, on May 7, 1874, the oldest of seven and one of three sons of John R. and Mary Ann Bechtel Ogden. His parents moved to Great Bend, Kansas when he was three and lived there for the next six years. They then moved to Wichita, Kansas, where he completed both elementary and high school. While living there they became charter members of the SDA church in 1886.
Alfred became a colporteur at age 16 and in September 1891, a year later, enrolled at Union College, one of seventy-three students present on the first day of classes. It was a challenging year filled with hardship on a campus of not quite finished buildings, very little heat, and more than the usual amount of rainfall on a sea of mud, bridged only by makeshift slippery wooden sidewalks. Even so, by the end of the school year, enrollment had climbed to 301 and morale was high.
He continued to colporteur in the summers and in 1894 also became involved in evangelistic meetings. After graduating from the Biblical Course in 1896 and completing the Scientific Course in 1897, he married (Esta) Mae Meek in May 1898. They worked in the Kansas Conference before leaving for mission service in South America in 1901.
He served as superintendent of the West Coast Mission, which included Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Unfortunately, Mae became seriously ill with a high fever which continued for weeks after the birth of their first child, Beatrice Maxine (Squier) in October 1902. They returned to the Midwest in 1903, where he served as vice-president of the Kansas Conference in 1907.
A second child, Orland, was born in Wichita on October 8, 1908.Alfred served as president of the North Missouri Conference, and then as president in the Iowa and Western Washington conferences, and of the North Pacific Union. During these years, even though in poor health, Mae continued to assist him in evangelistic meetings and directed the children’s programs at camp meetings. One of those children, Dolores, chose to become part of the Ogden family and became an unofficial “daughter” who cared for Mrs. Ogden during her ongoing illness.
The Ogdens returned to the mission field with Delores in December 1928, living in Havana, Cuba, where Alfred served as president of the Antillian Union for ten years. The tropical climate proved to be too much for Mae, however, who returned to the U.S. with Dolores to live with her daughter Beatrice in Glendale, California, in August 1929. She became seriously ill in early 1931 and died on December 20, 1931.
In his years of service, Alfred wrote articles for SDA publications about events where he was working, such as the devastation of hurricanes that struck Santo Domingo in 1930 and Puerto Rico in 1934; numerous reports from the field such as “Special Meetings in the Antillian Union” in 1935; “Ninety-one Persons Buried at Sea” (a mass baptism of 91 in Panama) in 1945; a speculative article in 1934, titled “Who Will Start the Next War?” and others about spiritual concerns, such as “Forget God’s Sabbath – Forget God.”
Alfred completed his service in Cuba and then served as president of the Caribbean Union Conference, headquartered in Trinidad. His last assignment was to serve in the Panama Conference in the War Service Commission and as pastor of the Panama City English Church.
He was living in Cristobal, Panama, when he died on December 26, 1948, at age 74. He was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, with H.M. Richards assisting in the service. His son, Orland, was a musician and a successful businessperson who eventually owned a large music store in Portland, Oregon. He would in his own unique way continue the Ogden legacy in assisting in the work in countries outside the U.S.
When he became aware of the needs in university music departments and churches in Mexico and elsewhere in South America in the early 1990s, he and his wife, (Mary) Joan Jungwirth, donated over thirty pianos, including four 9-foot concert grands and 6 smaller grands; fifteen organs; and band instruments, valued at just under a million dollars, to four schools: the University of Montemorelos in Mexico, and Sao Paulo, Chile Adventist, and River Plate universities in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, respectively.
The schools at Chile and River Plate were of special interest to Orland because of his parents’ pioneering work in those regions of South America. These instruments helped them establish fully equipped music schools. River Plate responded by naming their music building the Ogden School of Music, to commemorate the role that the Ogden family had played in the SDA church in their country.
Orland and Joan Ogden, owners of Ogden Music in Portland, Oregon, were given the Global Award in Adventist education in 2001 for the outstanding support they had provided for music programs in Adventist schools. The award was presented to them by Humberto Rasi of the General Conference Education Department in April at Walla Walla College during a church service
Since 1998 the Ogdens had donated over fourteen organs and thirty pianos, including three 9-foot concert grands, and other instruments worth over $ 1,000,000 in retail value, to three of the Adventist universities in Central and South America. Additionally, many Adventist colleges and academies, as well as churches, had also benefited from the generosity of the Ogdens by being able to purchase instruments at near wholesale cost.
Orland, who died in 2002, spent the early years of his life playing clarinet and saxophone in theater bands, becoming widely known for his playing abilities. Subsequently, he would establish a beauty parlor business in the Salem/Portland area of Oregon, which prospered throughout the Depression years and, with his wife assisting, would engage in a number of other business endeavors. The success of these ventures and in buying and selling real estate enabled them to assist schools and churches in a philanthropic way. Although primarily a businessman, Orland's first love was music.
Orland O. Ogden
Orland Ogden, whose lifetime spanned the 20th century, began and ended his journey through those years with music. He was born four years after the first airplane flew, when few persons in America had a car and most homes in this country were lit at night by kerosene lamps. The first model T Ford was built and General Motors was formed in the first year of his life; there were five telephones for every 100 people in the United States, and radio did not exist. It was an amazing century, and his journey through that time and how he rode the waves of change is a remarkable story.
It was just another concert in a small town in the Northwest for the John Philip Sousa band during a tour in 1919, but seated in the audience was a short twelve-year-old boy who was totally transfixed by what he was hearing. Within a few days he began study on clarinet, determined to make music his life. Within two years, by the time his parents had moved to the Seattle area where his father would be in charge of the SDA work in the Northwest, he was playing both the clarinet and saxophone.
Since he was the only one who could drive, he was assigned the challenge of driving his parents and a sister through the deserts of central Washington and over the Cascade mountains to their new home. The trip was made in an open Buick with a black canvas fold-down roof. And it was a difficult trip, with numerous flat tires and swirls of dust as they chugged down the road and every so often waited for oncoming cars to pass at oneway sections of the highway.
Although Orland was supposed to attend Western Washington Academy, now Auburn Academy, when he went to enroll, hoping to play both his instruments, the principal told him that the school did not have instrumental groups because these would create problems and encourage a tendency towards sin. Shortly after, he went to a theater in nearby Seattle, where he met the director and asked to audition for a position in the band which played for Vaudeville programs and accompanied silent movies.
He was told to come to the rehearsal at midnight, immediately following the last show. When he arrived, he was told that he would rehearse with the group, but he should be prepared to leave within five to ten minutes. They let him play the entire rehearsal, though, and at its conclusion offered him a job with the group.
After playing for a few months, he successfully auditioned for what was known as a jobbing band, a group of musicians who performed for different occasions in the area. His reputation grew, and in time he was in demand as one of the best lead saxophone players in the Northwest. Eventually, he established his own group, known as Ory Ogden and His Band.
During this time he started working as a salesman in a furniture store during the day. It soon became apparent that he had a gift for choosing furniture in colors and styles customers preferred, and eventually Orland was entrusted with the purchase of furniture for the store . . . and the running of the business.
Following the financial crash in 1929, he got into the beauty business, starting with a beautician school in Eugene, then a beauty salon in the Salem area. By the early 1940's, his business had expanded to include several salons and training schools for beauticians in Oregon, all of which prospered and were highly regarded. He met and married Mary Joan Jungwirth during this time.
Orland had made a promise to his mother when she had in the late 1920's that he would return to the Adventist church. The two busiest times for the beauty business, however, were Friday evenings and Saturdays. When Orland told the owner of the upscale Bidell's Department Store in which the Portland salon was located that the salon would not be open at those times, because he was now keeping Saturday as the Sabbath, Bidell was furious. The salons were subsequently sold to Bidell.
Shortly after this, In 1948, Orland and Joan moved to Mira Monte, an historic farm in the Willamette valley with a beautiful view of Mt. Hood, where he and his wife developed a number of successful farming-related businesses. In one of the areas where the customers waited and transacted their business, Orland created a display area for furniture and appliances and, in time, a few organs. This endeavor flourished also and led in time to a furniture, appliance, and music business, which, after they moved from Mira Monte in 1968, continued out of their house.
An intense high-energy person, Orland lived life with gusto, to the fullest. Adventure and risk-taking were a way of life for him, whether it be chugging over dusty roads as a teenager driving the family to a new life in Seattle, audaciously auditioning for a music position as a fourteen-year-old after studying music for only two years, or taking his first commercial airplane ride from Oregon to California in a wicker seat strapped to the inner framework of a Ford Tri-star, an airplane that could fly only in good weather and during the day.
From his early years, when he made a living as a freelance musician, through numerous ventures in business and real estate, Orland relished the challenge of the unknown - and prospered, assisted in the office by his wife. When he was 76, on returning from a trip to nearby Portland, he informed his wife that he had just bought a building and that they were now going to conduct their furniture, appliance, and music business from that location. The inventory of music instruments soon crowded out the furniture and appliances. And that was how Ogden Music, now the biggest music store in Portland, with over 100 pianos and organs on the floor, none of them on consignment, started nineteen years ago.
Beginning in 1995, with a donated organ to Montemorelos University in Mexico, the Ogdens began giving what at last count added up to over fourteen organs and thirty pianos, including three 9-foot concert grands and other instruments, to three Adventist universities in Central and South America, instruments with a retail value of nearly a million dollars. Three Adventist colleges in the U.S., as well as a number of academies, also benefited by being able to purchase instruments at near wholesale cost.
One of the schools in South America, River Plate Adventist University in Argentina, was a project especially dear to the Ogdens because of the pioneering missionary work done there by Orland's parents a century ago. The school, in turn, responded by naming their music building The Ogden School of Music in 1998. In April 2001, the General Conference Education Department presented its highest award, the Global Award in Adventist Education, to the Ogdens for their important role in promoting music in Adventist education.
At the funeral service for Orland, representatives from two of the South American universities were present. Tributes and notes of appreciation for the transforming effect the donated instruments had made in the music programs of those schools were the centerpiece in a service which celebrated the life of a man whose love of music has made, and will continue to make, a significant difference in the lives of thousands of music students and worshipers.
Sources: Conversations with Orland Ogden, 1980s and 1990s; personal knowledge.
Mary Joan Jungwirth Ogden
1920 - 2020
Mary Joan (Joannie) was born September 19,1920, the only child of Henry and Mary Viola Jungwirth. Over the years when Joannie talked about her childhood, it was always with great affection. Although her father was born in South Dakota, his grandparents had come from Vienna. There were several in the family who had been artists (sculpture, wood carving) in Europe and there was one relative, Leonard Daniel Jungwirth, a sculptor who was widely known for his work and taught sculpture at Michigan State University. These artistic skills were inherited by Joannie, as evidenced by several drawings.
The Jungwirth family were devout Catholics, as were the parents of Joannie's mother. That was why Joannie shared the same first name, Mary, with both her mother and grandmother. Like Joannie, her mother chose to be known by her middle name, Viola or Vi, the latter being how she was known by her family and friends.
Joannie enrolled in a beauty school, one that, by chance, was owned by Orland Ogden. They eventually married. Orland later observed:
While her parents were not too happy about their only child marrying outside of the Catholic Church, I got along pretty well with them. Even later when I returned to the Adventist church and Joannie joined it, after they got past their upset, we had a good relationship with them. We have been married for over fifty years and have really had a good marriage. We work well together.
As a couple, they proved to be astute in business and prospered. They assisted the church in its work by selling furniture, appliances and musical instruments at near wholesale cost to churches and church workers. Also, as subsequent dealings in real estate and business led to significant financial resources, they found ways to help in even more quiet but profound ways.
Beginning in 1995, with a donated organ to Montemorelos University in Mexico, they began giving what eventually added up to over 15 organs and 32 pianos, including four 9-foot concert grands, and other instruments to four Adventist universities in Central and South America, instruments with a retail value approaching a million dollars.
Three Adventist colleges in the U.S., Southwestern Adventist University in Texas, Pacific Union College in California, and Walla Walla College (now university), as well as a number of academies, also benefited from their generosity by being able to purchase instruments at near wholesale cost. One of the schools in South America, River Plate University in Argentina, was a project especially dear to both of them because of the pioneering missionary work done there by Orland’s parents a century ago and a number of keyboard instruments were donated to the school. The school, in turn, responded by naming their music building The Ogden School of Music in 1998.
Additionally, after his death, Joannie, insisted that a commitment made to the Adventist college in Australia by Orland for a new organ be honored. As that was completed, she wrote in a note to us that It was a happy time for her and them, a win-win situation.” She was deeply impressed with letters she received from them at that time. On her own, she responded to a request for more instruments by giving a large organ, a concert grand piano, and a harpsichord to the Adventist University in Brazil in 2003. Additionally, she established a scholarship named for Orland in that same year to be given annually for a promising music major at Walla Walla College.
In 2001, they were honored for their important role in promoting music in Adventist education with the highest award given by the world church’s Education Department, the Global Award in Adventist Education.
She loved reading, sketching, flowers and her cats. It was this constancy in love and commitment to the needs of others that made her the remarkable woman she was.
Joannie Ogden died in the summer of 2020, just before her 100th birthday. Even after their deaths, the Ogdens' generosity continued with a bequest of over a million dollars to create scholarship endowments in music, art, and theology at Walla Walla University.
Source: personal knowledge