Russell Leroy Opsahl, age 83, of Annandale, died Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008, at home, surrounded by family.
He was born Feb. 15, 1925, in French Lake Township, the son of Rangvald and Esther Sandlund Opsahl. Russell was baptized and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church, and attended the French Lake and Kane schools.
Russell married Levina Johnson, the daughter of John and Amy Lilga Johnson, at Grace Lutheran Church Feb. 23, 1946. Their marriage was blessed with three children.
Russell worked for Johnson Produce Company, and in January 1948, was selected to manage the newly acquired Johnson Produce Hatchery in Cokato. The company sent him to University Farm School for training in animal husbandry, where he gained the knowledge to serve local farmers related to the breeding, testing, and raising of healthy, productive chicken flocks.
Active in the Cokato community, Russell participated on the planning committee for the first Cokato Corn Carnival, and served as captain of the city’s volunteer fire department, of which he was a member until 1959, when he moved his family to Minneapolis.
While residing in the Twin Cities, Russell’s family was a member of Messiah Lutheran Church in South Minneapolis. He was employed with Continental Baking Company, and rose to the position of plant superintendent. He had a 30-year career with the company, retiring April 1, 1987.
Russell and Levina always planned to return to their roots. Prior to Russell’s retirement, they built a new home in the French Lake area, where they both were raised. Rejoining Grace Lutheran Church, Russell became an active council member, and held the position of financial secretary. He served with the Wright County Gideons for 11 years.
In retirement, Russell was able to pursue his love of gardening and fishing. He enjoyed spending time at the family lake cabin.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Opal; a brother, Donald; and a grandson, Andrew.
Russell is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Levina; children, Linda (Gary) Mis, Leslie Opsahl, and Julie (Michael) Cates; grandchildren Carey Nystrom, Lori (Joe) Radunz, Chad (Shay) Cates, Sunita Shaw, and Tony Persaud; great-grandchildren Sara and Aiden Galvin, Natasha Ervasti, Serenity Smith, Ashton, Cody, and Logan Cates; Paige and Mackenzie Meier, and Ronnie Gall; siblings Ardis Andrews, Romel Lembke, Alfred (Connie) Opsahl, Grace Grover, and Margie (Dick) Brummond; and sister-in-law Elaine Opsahl.
The funeral service took place Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. at the North Crow River Lutheran Church, rural Cokato, with the Rev. Michael Nelson officiating. Music was provided by Harvey Peterson, and interment was at Grace Lutheran Cemetery.
Visitation was Monday, Dec. 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. at North Crow River Lutheran Church, with a prayer service at 7 p.m.
Casket bearers were Chad Cates, Joe Radunz, Tim Wolff, Todd Wolff, Barry Hanson, and Keith Hanson.
Arrangements were with the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato.