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Michael Bushfield, Eureka, MT, is the winner!

Violet June Opdahl is the answer for Clearwater History Trivia #641, a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: A secretary

Tuesday: An entrepreneur

Wednesday: Wrote a book

Thursday: Sang in a choir

Friday: A teacher

Saturday: Born on a farm

Monday: Graduated top of the class of 1947

Violet June Opdahl was born April 7, 1930 on the family farm in Grant Township in northern Iowa. She embraced the simple, solid upbringing of a farm girl and later self-published an autobiography, Memories of a Country Girl, which she gifted to family members and friends.

She graduated valedictorian of the class of 1947 from Grant Township Consolidated School and went on to study for a teaching degree at Waldorf College in Forest City, IA. While singing in the college choir, she met a handsome farm boy who was attending on the G.I. Bill. After graduating from Waldorf, she took a teaching job in Clarion, IA and that farm boy kept showing up for visits. She married that farm boy, Bertrum Duane Opdahl , in 1950 when they decided the visits were not enough. They lived on his farm in Freedom County in southern Minnesota during their early years of marriage. She took on the teaching job at the local one-room school for the first year of their marriage. They welcomed their first son in 1952 and three daughters and another son followed.

In 1969, the family moved from the farm to Forest City, IA and after many trips West, in 1976 pulled up roots and relocated to Pierce where their oldest son and wife had already moved. While her husband drove truck for several logging operation, she worked at THE bank for several years before becoming secretary at Timberline High School. For a time the couple also co-owned Triple 'O' Outfitters with Harlan and Barb Opdahl. They were also very active in Faith Lutheran Church.

In 2006, her husband passed away and in 2007, she moved to Lewiston where she created new relationships and joined in the activities of Grace Lutheran Church. Her new 'condo' became a gathering place for family and friends. Gonzaga men's basketball was her favorite sports team.

She was a survivor that had double bypass surgery at 82 and recovered. Several years later she had surgery for colon cancer and despite opting out of any follow-up treatments, survived and went back to life as usual. She also survived a plane crash in 1986 with her husband at the controls. Though she was pretty banged up and had to have orthopedic surgery and months of healing, she even went flying with him again.

Her priorities were faith, family, friendships and living a life of service. She faithfully sent birthday cards with a personal note. She loved to quilt and made many for her family and then 'Quilts of Valor' for those who had been in military service. She also helped the ladies at church with many more quilts.

She died Jan. 20, 2022.

Photos: Violet June Opdahl

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