Opal Dargus, fondly known as “Grandma Opal” and “Granny” by those who knew her, passed away on March 9, 2022 at the age of 99 years 7 months and 9 days. She was determined to live to be 100, so we are gathered here today to honor that wish and celebrate her life on what would have been that 100th birthday.
Opal Clarice Paulson was born on July 1, 1922, the second of seven children of Ben and Gena (Mickelson) Paulson. She grew up on a farm outside of Radium, MN and attended school through 8th grade in Radium. In order to go to high school in those days, she found a home with the Lundgren family in that “castle” on the Snake River in Warren where she did household chores and cared for their three girls in exchange for room & board. Her love of music found her following a local old time family dance band called “Sam’s Serenader’s” and caught the eye of an accordion player named Herman Dargus. They were married on November 28, 1939, and Opal went back to the farm. Between helping on the farm, raising two children and a huge garden, she also worked at the Hartz Grocery and Ben Franklin in Warren, was active in and became the secretary of the Local Farmers Union Chapter. She was also a “den mother” for Girl Scout Brownie troops, never missed a Sunday at church and always had baked goods & coffee on hand when somebody stopped by.
When the kids left home, they sold the farm and moved to Thief River Falls where Grandpa started a bicycle, lawn mower and motorcycle dealership and repair shop. In addition to helping in the shop, she took in kids and started a child care home which spanned many years.
They say “If you need to get something done, give it to the busiest person you know.” That was certainly true, because besides helping in the bike shop and caring for kids, she still found time to sing in the Trinity Choir, participate in Trinity Troops, act as an Election Judge, work with girl scouts, create beautiful wedding, birthday & graduation cakes handmade flowers for weddings, go to Stillwater to help care for her elderly parents and snoop at garage sales. She also found time to attend weddings, graduations and baby showers for grandkids and day care kids who grew up. All of this while maintaining a vegetable & flower garden and preserving everything she grew. She never missed camping at the Rollag Steam Thresher Show, even after Grandpa wasn’t there to go with her, and always took some kids along. In fact, she was seldom seen without kids in tow, like a mother hen and chicks.
When she closed her daycare, she went to work at Walmart. To hear her tell it, it seemed she was running “the store” and there may be a bit of truth in that as indicated by the Certificates of Achievement and Awards hanging on her dining room wall.
Christmas was always her favorite holiday and she always served a feast and had some tricks up her sleeve for gift opening after the dishes were done. Even though she had been in and out of the hospital as her health declined, she insisted on last Christmas at her house. When we all offered to do the cooking, there was no way she was going to let us do that! She was a spit-fire and an inspiration to us all.
Missing her is her son Ronnie (Corinne); their daughter Brittani (Adam) Lieberg, Evelyn & Olivia, and Corinne’s kids, Bradley (Tonya), Jackie (Russell) & Jenny (Wesley).also missing her is her daughter Marilyn (Ward) Brink, Marilyn’s children, Jeff (Connie) Nelson, Jenny, Sean, Tiffany & Scott; Greg Nelson, Jessica (Mike), Rex and Kyri, Karla Nelson Sparby’s children, Mandy (Adam), Gast, Maci & Kendall; Kassi Sparby; Bryan (Jodi) Nelson; Layne (Anna), Tice, & Jodi’s son, Zak Steve Nelson and son, Trevor. Ward’s kids Bruce (Sandy) Brink. Sandy’s kids, Alyssa (Spenser), Shawna, and Brett (Lauren); Debbie (Kerry) & Tammy (Tony). Sister, Maxine (Orland) Thoresen, Christie & Renee. Many great grandkids, many great great grandkids, relatives & friends. Special friends and errand runners, Diane Baune and Emily Heieren and neighbor Armando, who looked out for her and brought her meals.
Awaiting her in heaven are her husband Herman, grandson Sean Dargus, granddaughter Karla Sparby, her parents, siblings Gordon, Audrey, Bentley, Junice and Frank. Herman’s siblings Eda, Freda, Sam, Fred, Lawrence and Helen; step-great grandson, Xavier & step-great granddaughter, Kelly; and many relatives and friends.
A very special & heartfelt thank you to #1 grandson Jeff & his son Scottie for dropping whatever they were doing and rushing to Grandma’s side when she called & for keeping her driveway and sidewalks shoveled and her lawn mowed.
Thank you to Johnson Funeral Service for their compassionate care and to Grandma’s beloved Trinity Choir for surrounding her with special music as she made her journey to her heavenly home.
Although Grandma had a love of flowers, please consider memorials to Trinity Lutheran Choir or Trinity Church Kitchen Fund.
Funeral service is at 10:30 AM Friday morning, July 1, 2022 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls with lunch to follow. Visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. Grandma will be laid to rest at Greenwood Cemetery in Warren, MN beside her husband Herman. May their reunion be blessed.