Ella Rickert

Honored by:James & Terri Sanderson
Brick location:D:15  map


(December 23, 1892- January 18, 1967)

Emma Ella Karlsen Rickert was born December 23, 1892, in Davenport, Iowa. Her parents were Peter and Kathrine Brandt Karlsen. Hers was a blended family, including half sister Dani, half brothers Elmer, Hugo, and Arnold, stepsisters Amelia and Annie, and stepbrothers Elmer, Hugo, and Arnold.

While still a small child, she and her family moved first to a farm in Plymouth County and then to a farm northwest of Luverne in Rock County, Minnesota. She attended school at Luverne and taught school for a short time.

Ella married Herman Rickert on Rebruary 12, 1913. Herman and she were the proud and loving parents of six boys and two girls- Orville, Gerald, William, James, Dale, Gary, Glorence, and Mildred.

In 1932, the Herman Rickert family moved from Minnesota to Reinbeck, Iowa, where Herman had been raised. They lived first on a farm and then later in town where Ella resided until her death in 1967.

Ella was interested in many things-education, sports, music, politics, and especially her family. She helped with the farm work and was very proud of their large herd of purebred shorthorns that she helped groom and show at various fairs in Minnesota and Iowa. She was active in her community, her church, and the Order of Eastern Star.

Even though Ella did not graduate from high school, she was an excellent teacher, continually challenging her children to excel. She was a natural psychologist. Her children spent hours and hours playing games that involved history, states and their capitals, information about foreign countries, etc. She encouraged her children to read a lot, to discuss and debate, to think for themselves. And cards! Her children had to play cards- bridge, pinochle, hearts, and others. She wanted to develop their minds, but she went beyond that. If you did something wrong, she wanted you to make it right!

After Herman and Ella’s children grew up and had their own families, their house became the gathering point for enormous family dinners. The food and company were always wonderful. And it was evident that, to a large extent, she had accomplished many of the goals she had set for her children- there never was a lack of enthusiastic and educated (and sometimes loud!) conversations at these get-togethers!!! It was a wonderful place for the grandchildren to be!

Ella was very fond of and had a great deal of respect for Iowa State University. Four of her sons attended ISU as well as other family members including daughters-in-law, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. It seems especially fitting that Emma Ella Karlsen Rickert should be honored by being included in The Plaza of Heroines.

Submitted on 7/13/94