Verna Ann Anfinson
Verna Ann Anfinson
  • April 15, 1929 - January 20, 2018
  • Arizona

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Verna Ann Anfinson transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2018 in Scottsdale, AZ surrounded by her family. Verna Ann Johnston was born April 15, 1929 on the family farm in Grand River Township, Perkins County, South Dakota, the first of four children, to Annie Mathilda (Mueller) and LuVerne Eugene Johnston. Later the family relocated to Hettinger, North Dakota. Verna graduated with honors from Hettinger High School in 1947. When Verna met Arvel "Bud" Anfinson at a high school dance, it was love at first sight. They married in Baker, Montana July 30, 1946. Three children were born to this union: Arlyce Ann Mitzel, 1949; Jon Scott Anfinson, 1954; and Stacie Annette Anfinson, 1960.
During high school and the early years of marriage, Verna worked outside the home as the Hettinger High School secretary and bookkeeper, while also working on the family farm with her parents and grandparents. She worked as an accountant with her mother, and assisted at Anfinson Auto & Implement. Later, when Bud expanded into retail sales and franchises, Verna put to good use her acquired accounting skills and practical knowledge to set up the foundation for Anfinson Fleet Wholesale stores where she became the primary buyer and manager. Verna said her most rewarding joys were raising her children, seeing her grandchildren grow, and working hand-in-hand with her husband. Together, with their children, Bud and Verna grew the family business into 6 retail stores (Hettinger, Bowman, Baker, Glendive, Beach, and Dickinson).
Verna, Bud, and other local business people recognized a need for another competitive financial institution to serve the community. This common goal gave rise to a state-chartered bank, known as West River State Bank, later sold to Dakota Western.
Putting aside all the success of the Anfinson stores, Verna always felt blessed getting to work the family business with her mother, husband, and children.
As time passed, the Anfinson Wholesale stores were sold, allowing Verna, Bud and Jon more time to travel and spend winters in Arizona. For 53 blessed years, Verna had one steadfast, lasting romance. Bud's death in 1999 was irreparably life-changing, and Verna and Jon began dividing their time between ND and AZ so they could spend more time with daughters and grandchildren. Always concerned and interested in family, Verna was instrumental in providing for her grandchildren's academic studies, health and welfare.
Verna was a life-long member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Hettinger, ND. Verna supported her parish as a Catholic Daughter and, in later years, a carillon contributor. Always the civic-minded philanthropist, Verna supported local communities through all avenues of her children and husband's interests including 4-H, the local Republican Party, For the Beauty of Hettinger, the Hettinger Cemetery Fund, the Jamestown Crippled Children's Home, the state Arthritis Foundation, Concordia College Scholarship program, Mayo Clinic, and most importantly, Hettinger Hospital's West River Health Foundation.
Verna was preceded in death by her husband, Bud; her parents, LuVerne Johnston and Annie (Mueller) Johnston; two brothers, Donald Johnston and Gerald Johnston; her in-laws Albert Anfinson and Enid (Cartwright) Anfinson; two sisters-in-law Beth (Anfinson) Markegard and Marie (Anfinson) Norby; a brother-in-law Gene Fisher; and a son-in-law, Peter Martin. Verna is survived by two daughters, Arlyce Ann (Anfinson) Mitzel and Stacie Annette Anfinson; a son, Jon Scott Anfinson; a sister, Sheila Kay (Johnston) Fisher; three sisters-in-law, Donna Mae (Scheeler) Johnston, Lorene (Anfinson) Hall, and Merry (Adams) Johnston; six grandchildren, Dr. Derek James Mitzel and wife Stephanie, Heidi Ann Blechner and husband Ari, Dr. Heather Marie Levy and husband Eric, Holly Lynn Mitzel; Haley Lynn Anfinson Martin; and Ariana Annette Anfinson Martin; five great grandchildren, Ty, Reed, and Harper Mitzel, and Hadley and Grace Levy.
Visitation will be from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm with the Rosary and Reflections starting at 7:00 pm and a light reception following the Rosary. Burial will be at the Hettinger Cemetery in Hettinger, North Dakota. The family will honor Verna with a Memorial Service at the Hettinger Holy Trinity Catholic Church during Verna's favorite month of the year: July (Hettinger's 4th of July being Bud & Verna's favorite event of the year and their anniversary month).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that the Hettinger Hospital be remembered, and donations can be made to West River Health Foundation. Condolences can be sent to: Verna A. Anfinson Family, P.O. Box 1129, Hettinger, ND, 58639.