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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Orville Redenbacher's friends look forward to first Popcorn Festival

Friday, September 26, 2003

Orville Redenbacher visited with Edyth Dierdorf, one of his childhood friends from Center Point, in 1994.

Mary Schepper and her brother, Bob Dierdorf, enjoy talking about the first up-coming Popcorn Festival of Clay County. It will take place Oct. 3, 4 and 5, at Forest Park and various places throughout Brazil.

The festival will promote the community as well as generate funds for individual organizations, businesses and not-for-profit and other groups. And it will honor Clay County native Orville Redenbacher.

Using the agronomic knowledge he acquired from Purdue University and his own marketing skills, Orville built a very successful hybrid popcorn business in the best Horatio Alger tradition.

Mary and Bob have heard many stories about the bow-tied country boy from Center Point who never made excuses for his humble beginnings and simple value system.

Their father, Jim Dierdorf, was Orville's cousin. Their mother, Edyth Dierdorf, was a childhood friend to Orville and his sister.

They all lived in the Center Point area and attended the Clay Prairie School located on SR 42. A church set close by on the other side of the highway.

Mary talked about her mother's sense of humor and a comment she used to make when they'd drive past that area.

"That's where I got my religion," she said, pointing to the old church building. Then gesturing toward the school she added, "And that's where I lost it."

Even after Orville became wealthy and famous with his popcorn business, he kept in touch with his family and old friends from Center Point.

He last saw Edyth when he came to a birthday party in his honor at Forest Park in May of 1994. Orville visited with Edyth at her apartment in Brazil. She was 99 years old at the time.

Orville passed away just a few months after that visit. Their mother's gone now, too, but Mary and Bob still reminisce about the good old days. They're looking forward to the Popcorn Festival because it brings back a lot of pleasant memories from the past.

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