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Orpha Amundson

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July 24, 1918-Jan. 29, 2013

R. Orpha Amundson, 94, passed away Tuesday, January 29, 2013, at Oak Crossing in Detroit Lakes.

Ruth Orpha Burud was born to Oscar and Rachel (Wenner) Burud on July 24, 1918, in Black Eagle, Mont. Diagnosed with a serious heart condition as an infant, doctors gave her less than a year to live.

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With her parents and two sisters, Orpha lived on a homestead in Rudyard, Mont., until shortly before her first birthday, when the family traveled by touring car to Ulen. They lived in town until 1922, when they moved to the original John Burud homestead southeast of Ulen.

Orpha attended school at Becker County District 34, where her sister, Carla, was the teacher. She was confirmed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ulen. When her father died in 1933, Orpha and her mother moved into Ulen, where she graduated from Ulen Public School in 1937.

She majored in Elementary Education at Moorhead State Teachers' College, and student taught in both Averill and the MSTC campus school. After completing 2½ years at MSTC, she taught 12 students in Dale, Minn., for $80 a month, then moved to Morris, where she taught all eight grades.

Orpha accepted a job as elementary principal in Austin, Minn., but resigned because her mother wanted her closer to home. She taught fifth grade in Ada for three years before going to Great Falls, Mont., where her mother had family.

While in Ada, Orpha met Henry Allan Austinson, whom she married on June 8, 1946 at her mother's home. The couple moved to St. Paul in 1950, and adopted a daughter, Rachel Ann, in 1951. When Henry became ill, the family returned to Ulen in 1953 and lived on the Burud farm with Carla and Kenneth Sundre.

Soon after Henry's death in September, 1956, Orpha and Ricci moved into Ulen, where Orpha began teaching fifth grade at mid-year 1957.

On July 24, 1958, Orpha married Norman Amundson of Callaway, and moved with Ricci to Callaway to join Norm's children, Dale and Sharon. Orpha finished her teaching degree at Moorhead State College, and taught in Ogema from 1965-1978.

Orpha and Norm lived in Callaway until they built a new home on Floyd Lake, following Norm's retirement from farming in 1978 and Orpha's retirement from teaching. They enjoyed fishing, camping, dancing, traveling around the country to visit relatives and friends, and spending winters in Mercedes and Westlaco, Texas, closer to Las Vegas, Nev., where Ricci lived.

On July 24, 2008, Orpha celebrated her 90th birthday, and she and Norm celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The next summer, they sold their home on Floyd Lake and moved to Lincoln Park Assisted Living in Detroit Lakes, where Norm still lives.

Shortly before her 89th birthday, Orpha wrote her "memoir," so "everyone would know how it really was." In her own words, "My Name is Orpha" tells of a life well lived; one touched by tragedy but always triumphant through faith.

Orpha was a fun-loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend, as well as a playful and compassionate life-long teacher. She delighted in playing the card games she'd known as a child on her pink laptop computer, and even taught herself to play bridge at age 92!

She loved people, especially children, and everyone was always welcome in her home, her classroom, and her life.

Surviving Orpha are Norman, her husband of 54½ years; son Dale (Ramona) Amundson; son-in-law Dr. James Collinge; four grandchildren, Michael (Karen) Amundson, Susan Amundson, Greg (Sherri) Shepard and Brian (Sara) Shepard; nine great grandchildren; goddaughters, Ruth Dahlquist and Sharon Sundre; several nieces and nephews; and many, many friends.

Preceding Orpha in death were her parents; daughters Rachel Schweitzer and Sharon Amundson Collinge; sisters Carla Sundre and Gladys Pratt; and first husband, Henry Austinson.

Memorial services are set for 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 4 at First Lutheran Church, Detroit Lakes, with Pastor Wade Dutton officiating.

Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, with a 4 p.m. prayer service, at West-Kjos Funeral Home.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the West-Kjos Funeral Home of Detroit Lakes. Those wanting to share memories and condolences online may use the guestbook section at www.westkjos.com.

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