Army Badge
  • Name: Julius Benhardt Koppala
  • Location of Birth: Trout Lake Township, Itasca County, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: December 10, 1923
  • Date of Death: August 4, 2017
  • Parents: Julius Koppala, Sr. & Senja (Ollila) Koppala
  • High School and Class: 1941 Greenway High School, Coleraine, Minnesota
  • College:
  • Highest Rank:
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: May 1943
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge: April 16, 1946
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:

  • Military Highlights:
    WW II Draft Registration Cards – 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947
    State: Minnesota
    Name: Julius Benhardt Koppala
    Race: White
    Age: 18
    Birth Date: December 10, 1923
    Birth Place: Bovey, Minnesota, USA
    Residence Place: Trout Lake Township, Itasca, Minnesota, USA
    Registration Date: June 30, 1942
    Employer: Oliver Mining Co., Marble, Itasca, Minnesota
    Weight: 151
    Height: 5-8
    Complexion: Ruddy
    Eye Color: Blue
    Hair Color: Brown
    Next of Kin: Francis Koppala, Bovey, Minnesota

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota – May 26, 1944 – “San Rafael, Calif., April 22, 1944. Dear Mary: Well, it seems as if I owe you folks back home a letter to thank you and the Service Men’s Club for all you have been doing to keep us service men well up to date on what is happening in our good old home town of Bovey. I receive the Press every week and the Reader’s Digest finds its way to me every month. I read Ann’s letter first of all and how she makes them so interesting is beyond me. Keep up the good work, Ann, and we’ll do our best over here. So, Bobby is anxious to get into the service. Of course, there aren’t very many boys left to chum around with, so I wouldn’t blame him for feeling the way he does. I hope this war would end soon so we could all join in and have one big celebration in Bovey. Well, I’m still in the same camp and as far as I know we’ll be staying here. I’m a messenger in the communications section and I like the job better than any other I’ve had since I entered the Army. It keeps me from pulling K.P., so that’s one good reason. Ha! Ha! This California weather isn’t as warm as I thought it to be. The nites are kind of chilly and sleeping with the door and windows open keeps one busy tugging for more blankets. It isn’t an order to have the windows and doors open, but a few of us Minnesota boys want to feel like at home. Well, folks, I guess that’s all I have for this time. Thanks again for the Press and the Digest and keep up the good work back home. Until next time, I remain, As Always, Julius Koppala.”

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota – August 4, 1944 – “Camp Gruber, Okla., July 16, 1944. Dear Friends: I received a letter from the Service Men’s Club a few days back so I think I’ll take a little time to write back. I enjoyed getting these letters telling all about the chit chat and piddle diddling going on in my home town. I have been receiving the Bovey Press every week and enjoy it very much. Probably you have noticed from the address that I’m located in a new camp and I also was fortunate enough to have a brother stationed in the same camp. As yet I have not seen him because he left for home on furlough two days before I arrived at this camp. As soon as he gets back he is shipping out to another camp in Oklahoma, so I won’t be able to see him very long. I imagine you have heard from the different boys all over the country their opinions of the different camps they go to. Well, here’s my opinion of this place. Personally I think this is a good place to be away from. The weather can be compared with that of Africa to a great extent. The tar roads they have around here melt away; the dust gets into your eyes to almost make you totally blind; the camp itself is spread out so much that you almost need a furlough to get out of the camp area; you can’t get much sleep because of the heat and if it isn’t the heat, the jiggers keep you scratching all nite. I may be exaggerating a bit on my opinion of this rat hole, but it’s a great change from California where we came from. Our life of ease ended when we came here and they are going to make real fighting men out of us now. Well, I can say one thing, that we done a good job of defending the west coast while we were there. I don’t think you read of any Jap landings on the West coast, or did you? Ha. Ha. Guess that’s about all I have to say at this time, so I think I’ll take in a show tonite and then get my beauty rest. I want to thank you for sending the Bovey Press and keep up the good work back home. Hoping to see all you folks back home someday soon, and until then I remain. Sincerely yours, Julius Koppala.”

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota – July 13, 1945 – “Mastholte, Germany – June 4th – Dear Mr. Connor: It has been some time since I’ve written to the Club and I feel a little out of place by waiting so long between letters. I received your letter last evening, and I’m glad to hear Bovey is still full of life and activity. It shouldn’t be so very long now until the boys will be coming home, as least I hope so. The Bovey Press has lost its course for I haven’t received a copy of it for a couple of months now. My outfit has been moving around so much that I don’t think there’s hardly anything that will keep up with us. After all operations were over we came to this quiet peaceful little town of Mastholte. We are more or less resting and waiting for our new assignment. I hope it’s the States, by all means. We are not staying here very much longer, and I guess it’s a trip out of Germany, and I hope it’s forever. I’m with the 9th Army now, but we were in operations with the fast moving 1st Army. We got as far as Liepzig and I’ve seen plenty of Germany, including two of the concentration camps that were mentioned in the Yank magazine. Well, I’ll have to start getting ready for guard duty tonite, so I’ll have to close. I want to thank the club for their interesting letter, and in the meantime, I hope the Press catches up with me soon. The Service Club has done a swell job of keeping the boys supplied with the latest home news, and I’m sure they all appreciate it as much as I do. Sincerely, J. B. Koppala.”

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota - “September 24, 1945 – Heidelberg, Germany – Dear Mrs. Martin: Well, I guess it’s my turn to write, for it has been some time since I last wrote to the Club. I received your most welcome letter, and it was very interesting. I often wondered what some of my old school pals were doing and your letters and also the Press keep me pretty well posted. The Press has been getting to me in almost record time, so that makes the news more interesting. I also received the request card so I will fill it out and send it along with this letter. I knew I was transferring to another outfit so I hesitated a bit in answering the letter. The town we’re stationed in is very nice. Our air force didn’t let lose any bombs on this town so it’s about the best city in Germany. There are three theaters for us to go to and a very nice Red Cross Club. The scenery is also very beautiful for the town is in a valley and there is a river alongside the town. I’ve taken several pictures already but the weather seems to be against me every time. This is the real life here, but of course I’d take the states any day. About all we do is twiddle our thumbs. We have no formations and there are plenty of passes and furloughs open. I usually sleep through breakfast and about nine I get up to clean the room in case they want to inspect. Right now I wish I had those seventy points to take me home. Guess I should have got married and had twins, but it’s too late to think of that. Well, before I close, I want to thank you and the Club for the wonderful job you are doing, and I hope I can drop in personally someday soon and thank you for everything. Yours truly, (Sweating it out) Julius Koppala.”

    After training, Julius was shipped overseas to England and Germany. In September 1944, he served in the European Theater of Operations where he belonged to the Signal Corp as a Cryptographic Specialist 805 (code-work) until his discharge in 1946.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Julius Koppala worked for Oliver Mining Co. & Pickands Mather (Danube) until he was drafted into the Army. After his discharge in 1946, Julius enrolled in Itasca Junior College in 1947. He began photographic training at Enstrom Studio in Bovey in 1948. After further training in Salt Lake City he returned to Enstrom Studio from 1950-1965. He married Doris Bemis in Minnesota in 1949. They moved to Los Angeles, California in 1962 where he worked in photography for a year before joining the U.S. Postal Service. He transferred to Hibbing, Minnesota in 1966 where he continued as a letter carrier until his retirement in 1985 after 25 years of service. After his wife Doris died in 2004, he moved to Chisago City, Minnesota, and then in 2007 he moved to Grand Rapids, Minnesota. In 2006 he traveled to Finland and Sweden to visit his cousins. Julius was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Hibbing where he photographed all church activities, including two yearbooks. He volunteered in building a new church in 2003-2004 and took pictures of the construction from start to finish and stained and varnished all the windows and woodwork.

    Julius died in Chisago City, Minnesota. He is survived by his son, Steven (Alyce) Koppala; grandchildren, Lisa (Chad) Monson, Julie (John) Bennett; two great-grandchildren, Jocelyn & Jayla Bennett; a nephew; two nieces; and his loving companion, Irene LeClair and her children, Mike Johnson & Sandy Sampson. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Doris; his brother, Francis; his step-brother, Reino Hendrickson; and a great-granddaughter, Ava Monson.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):