- November 14, 1922 - April 16, 2008
- Missoula, Montana
of Francis' Passing
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MISSOULA - A burial service will honor Francis Oliver Oppegaard "Oppie" at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 19, at Sunset Memorial Gardens. A Life Celebration and potluck will follow at noon in the VFW at 245 W. Main St., Missoula.
Oppie was born at home on the family homestead near Savage on November. 14, 1922, to parents Henry Cornelius and Violet Mary Brooks Oppegaard.
He graduated from Hamilton High School in 1941. Oppie was manager of Howe's Creamery when he was inducted into the United States Army in March 1943, during World War II. Oppie started in the Tank Destroyer Battalion. While fighting in northern France near the German border, Oppie was hit with shrapnel. It went into the marrow of his thigh bone and split it 'like splitting a green willow in spring.' Along with the Purple Heart, Oppie also received the American Theatre Ribbon, EAME Theatre Ribbon, W/2 Bronze Star, Good Conduct medal and the Victory Medal World War II.
Oppie got back on his feet in Camp Atteberry, Ind., where they made him cook of the hospital.
He was 'first cook of the meat department,'
After military service in 1946, Oppie worked for the Forest Service at Sula Basin, where he met Berna Ardelle Hart. They were married October. 6, 1946.
The Oppegaard family moved to Missoula around 1951. Oppie was employed as a baker at the Bonton Bakery, then later at Eddy's Bakery, where he retired in the mid-'70s.
After 25 years, the marriage of Oppie and Berna had dissolved.
Oppie remarried Audrey 'Jeanne' Van Valkinberg (Moderie) October. 13, 1978, in Missoula.
During retirement, Oppie stayed active. He worked for Roy Kuntz, setting trailers well into his 70s.
He also hunted, camped and fished until his legs could no longer handle the rigors of hiking. Still not giving in to idleness, Oppie continued tilling and growing his garden every year until last summer.
Oppie was preceded in death by his wife of 30 years, Jeannie, on Feb. 1, 2008; also by both parents, Henry and Violet; stepmom Anna 'Jane' Hollingsworth-Oppegaard-Hossfeld; sisters Alva Reynolds and Verna Dashnea; and niece Virginia Langley; children Mary Traver (Dan) of Missoula and grandchildren Robert Stafford of Alaska; Tracy Traver and great-grandchildren Ashley, Paige and Hunter of Indiana; Randy Oppegaard (Linda) and grandchildren Michael Oppegaard; Bambi Schreckendgust (Mick) and great-grandchildren Jasmine and Tyler of Missoula; Bud Oppegaard (Melody) of Medford, Ore., and grandchildren Adam Oppegaard of South Korea; Amber Oppegaard and great-grandchildren Cameron and Brayden of Missoula and Eva Clark of Missoula and grandchild Misty Monson (Shawn) and great-grandchildren Persephone and Zoe of Missoula; nephew Michael Langley of Frenchtown; and nieces Gail White and Sharie Dietrich of Helena. He is also survived by stepdaughter Betty Jean Zimmerly (Rodger) of Hall; and grandchildren Angela Reisenauer (Ray) and great-granddaughter Kyla Rae of Bozeman; Lisa Hilmo and great-grandchildren Ryan, Rylee and Reese of Hall; and Michael Zimmerly of Hall.
Oppie's strong will and spirit lives on in his family and friends who knew him. He will be greatly missed.