Opal Vander Woude

February 26, 1931 ~ December 29, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old

Opal Vander Woude Obituary

Opal Maurine Swenson was born on February 26, 1931, in Benton Township, Minnehaha County, South Dakota to Otto and Marie (Holmberg) Swenson.  Opal was the oldest of five children, after two sets of twins joined their family in the next 2 years and 5 months.  She was baptized on June 21, 1931, at Benton Lutheran Church, Crooks, SD. 

Some of her fondest childhood memories were swimming and fishing in the Big Sioux River and how good it felt walking barefoot and feeling the mud between her toes. 

Opal graduated from Lyons High School in 1949.  She then met Melvin De Groot while roller skating in Sioux Falls and they were married on August 19, 1951, at Renner, SD.  They were blessed with five children.  Opal became a young widow at the age of 29 when Mel died suddenly of a heart attack.  She was left to be a single parent of children from the ages of seven years to seventeen days. 

Her youngest daughter, Pamela, died in 1964 due to complications following appendix surgery.  Opal described these years as “the worst thing a person can go through. But God was with me.  I could just feel him take ahold of my hand. It was such a wonderful feeling.” Her faith was very important to her, and it carried her through many tragedies in her life. 

Six years after the loss of Mel, Opal met and married Harry Vander Woude on December 27, 1966, at Edgerton, MN.  The combined family now totaled 10 children and they added one more when Paul was born in 1969.  Harry and Opal farmed in Fountain Prairie Township, and they relied on their faith when they lost two adult children and a daughter-in- law and son-in-law. During their years together they enjoyed traveling, playing cards, gardening, entertaining company, and visiting with their ever-growing family.

Harry preceded her in death on August 11, 2012.  Opal continued to live on the farm until she entered the Edgebrook Care Center in the fall of 2020 where she died on December 29, 2023, at the age of 92 years. 

She is survived by 9 children:  Marilyn (Duane) Tinklenberg, Carol (Clay) Teske, Nancy (Dave) Visser, Faith (Dale) Van Arendonk, Larrie (Mary Ann) De Groot, Cynthia (Leon) Spronk, Dianne (Dale) Weinkauf, Wayne De Groot and Paul (Rochelle) Vander Woude; 27 grandchildren, 59 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great-grandchildren; and 2 siblings, Roger (Joan) Swenson and Florence Holm.

She was preceded in death by her parents, both husbands, children, Pamela De Groot, Joanne DeVlieger and Frank Vander Woude, son-in-law, Wally Maas and daughter-in-Law, Karen De Groot and two sisters, Doris Campbell and Deloris Pirlet.

Blessed be her memory.

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January 12, 2024

9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
First Christian Reformed Church
150 W. Center St.
Edgerton, Minnesota 56128

Funeral Service
January 12, 2024

11:00 AM
First Christian Reformed Church
150 W. Center St.
Edgerton, Minnesota 56128


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