My Great Aunt Sophie Ommedal passed away earlier this week at the impressive age of 100. Sophie had just celebrated her birthday a week and a half earlier. Sophie was impressive, to say the least. She graduated valedictorian, one of many in her extended family. She served as an organist and church musician, also one of many in her extended family. She lived the longest of all of her siblings. Though she spent most of her life living in North Dakota near the family homestead, she also spent some time in the great state of Washington.
Sophie was the closest in age to my Grandpa (Peter). Grandpa passed away ten years ago this fall, which is hard to believe. Because of their closeness, I did get to know Sophie some on our many visits to North Dakota while growing up, and when she would visit Washington. She was always up for a fun game, or the game of the day that Grandma (Melba) would often choose. We played Rook and Dominoes most often, if I remember correctly.
What I loved most about Sophie- her spunk, vitality, laugh, and her smile which often led you to believe she might have something funny to say or share. Sophie lived on her farm until just the last couple of years, and even drove around the farm well into her nineties (shh… please don’t tell my Grandma that).
When Grandpa died on Thanksgiving Eve in 2007, Sophie came to Washington and was there for Grandpa’s funeral. We had quite the gathering of family that week, and to have a mini-reunion together was a great gift. I hope that is what happens this weekend too as my parents will be in Maxbass today for Sophie’s funeral, as will my Uncle Jeff who will be preaching.
Sophie, you lived a long and full life. As one of your many grand-nephews, know that I think of you often as an example of what abundant life might look like. Thank you for your humor, your love, your life, and your faith.
To all of my cousins, and Sophie’s family, know that I am with you here in Nebraska holding you in my prayers this week, and celebrating the life and legacy of your mom, Grandma, Great Grandma, and aunt. Thanks be to God for Sophie!
Sophie’s Obituary as posted on the Brose Funeral Home Facebook Page:
May 28, 1917 – June 5, 2017
MAXBASS – Sophie Ommedal, 100, Maxbass, died Monday, June 5, 2017, at a Mohall nursing home. She was born May 28, 1917, in Brander Township, Bottineau County, to Jorgen and Sophie (Lerfald) Tengesdal. She attended grade school and high school at Brander Consolidated School. She graduated as valedictorian of Brander Consolidated School Class of 1934. She worked for relatives during her teen years. Sophie attended Bemis College of Commerce, Minot. She won a six-month scholarship to attend the college through a contest by making words out of the letters in the name of the college. She was employed as a secretary for the North Dakota Legislature in Bismarck. She worked five years for the Bottineau County Treasurer’s Office. From 1942 to 1945, she worked for J.C. Penney in Spokane, Wash. Following this, she returned to the farm to help her mother. Sophie married Ole Ommedal, a Norwegian immigrant, on Nov. 23, 1952, at Betania Lutheran Church, rural Maxbass. They lived in Seattle, Wash., their first winter together. The following spring, they returned to North Dakota to join Tollef Tengesdal in farming the Pauline Brackelsberg land near Loraine. They farmed there for over four years. In 1957, Ole and Sophie purchased the Fred Piquette farm in Brander Township where they farmed and raised their five children. Sophie was famous for her homemade buns. Ole passed away in March of 1994 and Sophie remained on the farm.
Sophie was a member of Betania Lutheran Church, rural Maxbass, and served as organist for many years at both Betania and Holden Lutheran Churches. When Betania Lutheran Church closed, she joined English Lutheran Church, Maxbass. Family: daughters, Nancy (Barry) Land, Fargo, Diane (Tom) Nyberg, Grand Forks, Julie (Darcy) Johnson, Watford City; sons, Duane (Laila Fick) Ommedal, Maxbass, Dwight (Peggy Thorenson) Ommedal, Maxbass; grandchildren, Benjamin Land, Sarah (Tyler) VanDeVelde, Miranda (Booker) Roy, Alyssa Nyberg, Rebecca (Jake) Peterson, Joran Johnson, Reese Johnson; great-grandchildren, Axel and Finn Roy, and Grace VanDeVelde; sisters-in-law, Pearl Tengesdal, Maxbass, Melba Tengesdal, Appleton, Wisc.; dear friend, Lou Heil, Hazen; and numerous nieces and nephews. Sophie was preceded in death by her parents; husband; infant sister, Sadie; siblings, Jens, Sadie, Nels, Amanda, Roy and Peter. Funeral: 10:30 a.m., Friday, June 9, 2017, at English Lutheran Church, Maxbass. Burial: Betania Lutheran Cemetery, rural Maxbass. Family Service: 7 p.m., Thursday, June 8, 2017, at the funeral home. Visitation: 2 to 7 p.m., Thursday, at Brose Funeral Home, Mohall. Memorials: Memorials preferred to English Lutheran Church, Maxbass, the Salvation Army, the Good Samaritan Society, Mohall, or the donor’s choice.