THE RAPALA FILE, A MINNESOTA STORY
Ray Ostrom, whose funeral was Saturday in Edina, and partner Ron Weber changed fishing in Minnesota and throughout the world when they began importing Rapala lures from Finland in 1960.
Ideally paired for the project, Ostrom and Weber were both experienced fishermen. As a boy living in south Minneapolis, Ostrom trapped where Southdale Mall is now and hunted ducks near the airport. His particular fishing love was muskies, while Weber fished all species and was a fly rod steelhead specialist.
Ostrom owned a south Minneapolis sporting goods store in the late 1950s, while Weber owned a fishing tackle distributorship.
After writing to Lauri Rapala in Finland in 1959, they were given rights to distribute Rapala lures in the United States and Canada.
Ostrom would sell his share of the North American Rapala business -- called Normark -- to Weber in 1984, and a decade later Weber would retire, selling Normark to the Rapala family.
Both men are members of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and have received many other honors, including Knight First Class of the Order of the Lion by the Finnish government.
Ostrom was 85 when he died June 16. His wife, Norma, died only a few weeks earlier. Weber lives in Edina.
Rapala USA remains headquartered in Minnetonka.