The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

CLARICE YVONNE KEGEL

 

April 24, 2019

Clarice Yvonne (Habedank) Kegel was born at Bowdoin, MT, on August 30, 1924 to Otto Fredrick and Bertha (Thompson) Habedank. She was the youngest of five children.

Clarice attended elementary school at Bowdoin Grade School. Her family later moved to Malta, MT, and she graduated salutatorian of her 1941 Malta High School class. Upon graduation, she attended Northern Montana College in Havre, MT, earning an Associate of Arts degree. There she met Ken Kegel, and they were married on August 6, 1944. They enjoyed 61 years of happiness together.

As a young woman, Clarice worked at the Milk River Production Credit Association in Chinook before her marriage. She then trained and worked as a night clerk and telegrapher for the Great Northern Railroad in Savoy, Sweet Grass and Conrad, MT, after which she moved to Turner, MT. Clarice and Ken made their home at the Kegel family farm on the Big Flat. They started their life together in a small one-room shanty with no electricity or running water. Together they built a high quality, well respected farm and ranch operation. Clarice participated in the farming activities until Ken's death in 2005.

Clarice's faith in God strengthened and sustained her. She raised her children Danny, Nancy and Kerry in the love of her Lord Jesus, believing in the power of prayer and a never-ending commitment to her church and community. Ken and Clarice opened their home to exchange students from Australia and Colombia, South America as well as to several Native American foster children.

Clarice served her community with involvement in Modern Mrs. Home Extension Club of Turner, Women's Aglow and the Turner Park Board. She was an active member of the Turner American Lutheran Church serving as church pianist, Sunday School teacher and superintendent at the local and conference levels in Lutheran Women's Organizations.

She was also a selfless volunteer who drove people to medical appointments, offered a helping hand to people in need and delivered meals to shut-ins.

Clarice's specialty was baking honey-raisin-nut bread made with 100% whole wheat, home-ground flour. She regularly shared her love gifts all over the region and became well known as the "Bread Lady."

In 2007, she moved to Fargo to be closer to her daughter, Nancy. She forged a new life in the Riverview Place retirement community sharing her gift of music by playing the piano for church, accompanying the men's choir and playing background music during the dinner hour. Clarice could often be found picking weeds in the flower beds and collecting fallen apples from the trees in the courtyard.

She suffered a debilitating stroke in January, 2017. That November she moved to Eventide Fargo and was comforted and loved by the wonderful staff there and by Hospice of the Red River Valley. She was also lovingly cared for by devoted "Angels" from Home Instead Senior Care. Through this challenging time, her daughter, Nancy, was at her side as her best friend, cheerleader and constant companion.

Clarice Habedank Kegel passed peacefully into the arms of her loving Jesus on December 19, 2018, with Nancy and Ed Schafer by her side, singing her favorite hymns.

Survivors include her children Danny Kegel on the family farm, Nancy Kegel (Jones) Schafer (Ed), Fargo, ND, and Kerry Kegel (Susy), Ontario, OR; 8 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Ethel Cowell and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Ken, her parents and siblings, son-in-law Maurice Jones Jr., grandson Scott Leo and daughter-law Karen (Leo) Kegel.

Clarice leaves behind a hole in our hearts as deep as the love she gave. She is an inspiration for selflessness, gratitude, loyalty and service. Her strength and determination are legendary, and her prayerfulness helped many through challenges, tragedy and accomplishment. She was a champion of all that is right and good. Clarice is a child of God and now lives in the light of the Lord and the love of Jesus.

A celebration of Clarice's life will be held at her beloved Turner American Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 11, at 11:00 a.m.

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