LaVaun (Bonnie) Madora (Opperud) Swanson, 94 of West Fargo, ND went home to be with her Lord in heaven on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at Eventide in Fargo, ND, surrounded by loved ones, Eventide staff and under the care of “Hospice of the Red River Valley.” Shortly after her passing that evening, Pastor Jahnke from St. Andrew Lutheran Church in West Fargo provide a bedside peaceful service for those that were present. There was also a Christian Victory of Faith Celebration held on November 18, 2019 at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in West Fargo, ND.
LaVaun was born to Olaf and Estella (Patenaude) Opperud on May 28, 1925 in Fargo, ND. She graduated from Central High School in Crookston, MN. She married Edwin Gustaf Swanson on January 6, 1947. LaVaun and Edwin lived in several different places; Pontiac MI, Jacobson MN, Grand Rapids MN, Grand Forks ND, and LaVaun made her last home in West Fargo, ND.
LaVaun worked at General Motors Corporation, where she worked on the piston line. She retired in 1972. She often liked to talk about how she hurt her toe when a piston fell off the counter. Whenever she shared that story, she had to show everyone her toe. She had been a long-time member of the Ladies Auxiliary post 1902 in Crookston, MN.
LaVaun was baptized and confirmed at United Methodist Church in Crookston, MN. She was a member of the Lutheran Church and was very active in each church she attended with the lady’s circle, newsletters, and quilting. She was a member of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in West Fargo, ND at the time of her death. She loved to crochet and make quilts. She also did small crafts such as needle point, plastic canvas crochet, and hobby sculpture painting. LaVaun enjoyed the outdoors, listening to the loons on the lake, fishing, catching fish, and then putting them back in the water. She would be the first to admit she didn’t like to eat fish and never ate fish, but she loved to fish. She and Edwin built a cabin on Blackface Lake near Jacobson, MN and they lost their home during a major tornado in 1969. They later rebuilt on the same property and lived at the lake for several more years. They loved to entertain at the lake and gave pontoon rides to all their nieces and nephews when they would come out to visit them at the lake. She enjoyed playing BINGO and took advantage of every opportunity to go. She also enjoyed going to the casino a couple times a year, to celebrate birthdays and just to have fun. She would also be quite the jokester and enjoyed playing practical jokes on everyone and loved to teach the kids the Tommy Tommy hand game. She always got a kick out of making sure they knew how to do it.
LaVaun and Edwin had no children, they adopted everyone else’s children and tried to spoil them as much as they could, especially their nieces and nephews. During the Christmas season she and Edwin would dress up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoyed bringing joy to all the young kids during the years. During her last few years she loved to sit and visit, and reminisce about everything from days gone by. One of her favorite television shows to watch was Family Feud. She was always trying to answer the questions before the players.
She had a good memory until her Alzheimer’s started to take over. She enjoyed car rides just to look at the countryside and the new construction that was going on in the area. She especially loved looking at the fall colors and all the Christmas lights. She thought they were all
different and unique in every way and there were no two homes that were decorated the same.
LaVaun is survived by her sister Eleanor (Opperud) Ness of Meza, AZ, sister-in-law Gladys (Meine) Opperud of Crookston, MN and brother-in-law Arnie Hoffe of Dakota, MN. Three godchildren, Rose (Opperud) Borslien of West Fargo, ND, JoAnn Meyer of Aurora, MN, Brian Johnson of Grand Forks, ND and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, great grandnieces, and great grandnephews.
She is preceded in death by her husband Edwin; her parents, Olaf and Estella (Patenaude) Opperud; brothers, Lloyd Opperud and Raymond Opperud; sisters, Mary Lou Hoffe, Alice Johnson, Gloria Kansanback/Oihus; and brother-in-laws, Lyle Kansanback, Earl Johnson, Gordy Oihus, and Luther Ness; sister-in-law Isabelle Opperud; nephews Robert Opperud, Paul Ness, Bruce Horton, and Bruce Johnson; niece Diane (Opperud) Domier; grandnephews Ronnie Opperud and Michael Johnson and great grandnieces Katie Burris and Kassandra Hedlund.
Celebration of Life will be held at Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home Friday, June 26 at 10:30 a.m. with visitation at 10:00a.m. Interment will be held at Oakdale Cemetery in Crookston, MN following the Celebration of Life service. The family asks that all memorials be made out to Hospice of the Red River Valley.