|Bertyne Birkland's education was ongoing, finishing high school in 1912. She then attended Valpariso University, Indiana, Madison Normal of Madison, SD and Northern State Normal of Aberdeen, South Dakota. During these education years, Bertyne was also teaching country school to as many as 40 students. Her one room schoolhouse experience lasted for 9 years. During this time Bertyne married Albert Birkland, and they had 2 children, Jack and Beryl.
As the depression deepened, Bertyne returned to work in 1937, this time as a social worker where again vacations and evenings were spent going to school thereby earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sioux Falls College in 1946. Bertyne was then 53 years old.
<p>During WWI, Bertyne and other ladies would meet regularly with the local Red Cross Chapter to knit garments for the soldiers. This group of women would come together on a regular basis to share ideas as well as time for learning and personal growth. Because of Bertyne's enthusiasm, Pleasant Study Club was formed in 1920. This study club is still in existence today, being a part of the General International Federation of Women's Clubs.
<p>Birkland's commitment to her community led her to service in many areas: member and past chairman of American Legion Auxiliary, Beresford, South Dakota, member and past chairman of Sioux Falls Business and Professional Women member, Bardic Round Table Society member, and past chairman of Sioux Falls Family Service Auxiliary.
<p>After Bertyne Birkland had served 25 years as a social worker and Director of Public Welfare Service, she was given an appointment by Governor Nils Boe to the state Department of Public Welfare as Secretary and member of the Public Welfare Commission from 1964 to 1969.
<p>It seems that we have come full circle and again acknowledging the importance of personal responsibility and self reliance for people on welfare, something Bertyne knew and practiced half a century ago. Bertyne's gift of writing and composing are very evident in the book she wrote in her late 70's. The book Let the Boy Go relates to the story of her mother and father as they lived in Norway, coming to South Dakota on April 1, 1888, just after the worst blizzard in recorded South Dakota History. The book tells of how they struggled to secure their homestead and of life on the prairie where not even a tree softened the skyline. The book Let the Boy Go is in the library of the Center of Western Studies, Augustana College. Her other literary accomplishments are:
|Home Town (Canton, SD)|