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Obituary for Bernice E. Opland

Bernice Estella (Bryhn) Opland, of Mindoro Wis., passed away on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at BridgePath Assisted Living at Morrow Home Community in Sparta, after battling many health issues.

She was born July 31, 1936, to Milton and Estella (Krohn) Bryhn of rural Mindoro. She was a surprise to all as she arrived 32 hours and 20 minutes after her twin sister, Beverly, who was born on July 30th. Bernice grew up in Wet Coulee and first attended school at the one-room Rhyme schoolhouse. When that school closed, she attended school in Mindoro, graduating in 1954. Bernice was baptized, confirmed and married at the Bells Coulee Church, which played an important part in her and her ancestor’s lives.

On June 9, 1956, Bernice married a neighbor boy, Randolph “Rusty” Opland at Bells Coulee Church. Together they farmed on the Opland farm; which in 2024, will be in the Opland family for 132 years. Bernice was a hard working farm wife - driving tractor, raking and baling hay, feeding calves, raising chickens, unloading corn, mowing the lawn and tending her flowers, or whatever else needed to be done. Rusty and Bernice were a good team. While there was always farm work to do, Bernice and Rusty and their family enjoyed trips throughout the U.S. with trips to Montana, Washington and California to visit relatives and friends. Sunday afternoons or evenings after milking, usually meant a drive around the area for a break before another week of farm work started up.

Bernice had a deep love for her Norwegian ancestry and enjoyed a visit to Norway to the birthplace of her grandfather before he immigrated to America. She kept many scrapbooks on the many branches of the family tree and on the history of the Mindoro area. Bernice also enjoyed baking, with her favorites being dozens of Norwegian Christmas treats of sandbakkels, rosettes and krumkake, which she gave to family and friends to enjoy.

Bernice enjoyed family antiques and photos, flowers, gardening, mowing the lawn, coffee and treats with friends and being with her family. She canned many dill pickles through the years, which her grandchildren loved, probably more than cookies.

After high school, Bernice worked as a domestic for the Charles Gelatte family in La Crosse, cooked at Maple Grove Country Club, and worked at Micro Card factory. In later years, she worked at Tim & Sal’s in Mindoro and Black Oak Inn. She formed many lifelong friendships while working at these places. Bernice was a very caring and giving person who willingly helped others or showed her love in the form of chicken dumpling soup or cookies.

Bernice was a faithful member of the Mindoro Lutheran Church, WELCA and worked for many funerals at the church over the years. She also belonged to the Browns Valley Busy Bees and Homemakers.

Bernice was honored to be named the Parade Marshall in 2009, for the Mindoro Lions Spanferkel Parade. Through the years, this event was important to her and she looked forward to volunteering to make pork sandwiches and visiting with the other workers.

Bernice was a loving, caring and supportive mom to their children, Karen and Aaron. She loved being a grandmother and supporting the grandkids at sporting events, school programs, attending the fair and watching them show their animals or just being there before or after school for their dill pickle fix.

Bernice is survived by her loving husband of 67 years, Rusty; their children, Karen (Michael) Hauser and Aaron (Nancy) Opland, all of Mindoro; she was blessed by their grandchildren, Trevor (Stephanie) Hauser, Krista (Jesse) Kook, Matthew (Abbey) Opland, Tyler Opland, Kaitlyn Opland (fiancé, Sam Mayer) and Kyle Opland (friend, Ashlee Garbers); great-grandchildren, Kian and Kambri Hauser, Ellie and Jack Kook and Rhett and Kinsley Opland; her twin sister, Beverly Mades; Rusty’s sister and brother-in-law, Zeviah and Walter Zube; and nephews and a niece, who lovingly called her “Aunt Bino.” She also had a special place in her heart for their foreign exchange daughter, Rossy, from Guadalajara, Mexico.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Milton and Estella Bryhn; in-laws, Dean Mades, Mildred and Larry Timm, Bronson and Aldene Opland; nephew, David Opland; and foster brother, John Schneider.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m., on Monday, March 4, 2024, at Bells Coulee Lutheran Church, N7289 County Rd. E., rural Bangor. Pastor Emma Grinde will officiate. Burial will follow in Farmington Cemetery.

Family and friends may call from 1 pm until 3 pm on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, 121 N. Youlon St., West Salem. A visitation will also be held from 10 am until the time of service on Monday at Bells Coulee Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the donor’s choice. We’d like to request that you make the time to enjoy a cup of coffee, a sweet treat and have a good visit with your friends and family.

Bernice said she had a good life. Thank you for your part in her life’s journey.

Online condolences and expressions of sympathy may be offered at this site.