Orpha Iseminger, 82, died on June 14, 2012, while surrounded by her family reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
Orpha was born on November 22, 1929, in Erskine, Minnesota. She was the eighth child of fifteen born to Anton and Nora Hushagen. Orpha graduated from Gonvick High School in 1947. After high school, she attended and graduated from the Lutheran Bible Institute, Minneapolis, MN, in 1950 where she met her husband, Leroy. She graduated from Augsburg College in 1954 majoring in English and Physical Education.
Her fifty-eight year marriage to “the love of her life” began on August 21, 1954. Orpha was a teacher, substitute teacher, and instructional assistant for many years. Her six children produced eleven grandchildren who were the joy of her life. She was often quoted as saying, “If I knew grandkids were so great, I would have had them first.”
Orpha is remembered for her life of service to others. She and her husband, Pastor Leroy “Ike” Iseminger, served together in many Lutheran congregations. Over the past few years, Orpha was known as “the heart and soul” of the mission work at St.Mark's Lutheran Church. Orpha was the living, walking Matthew 25: “Welcoming strangers, visiting prisoners, and feeding the hungry.” She had a great heart for mission ministry and told stories about churches' misplaced priorities and the need for reaching out to the needy. She received the exceptional honor of the Lutheran Social Services Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Award in 2010. When not volunteering at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Orpha was attending water aerobics, visiting her family, playing Scrabble, or traveling with her sisters throughout the world. Orpha was an avid reader who, not only read the daily newspaper from beginning to end, but often had three or four books going at one time. She was known for her chocolate chip cookies, her homemade chicken dumpling soup, and her kringla.
Orpha is survived by her six children: Camilla Joy, St. Paul, MN; Les (Monica) Lyons, SD; Mark (Joyce) Farmington, MN; Daniel, Sioux Falls, SD; Kristin, Vacaville, CA; and Stephen (Kari), Savage, MN and her four brothers, Lester (Karleen), Berton (Trudie), Arlow (Isabelle), and Norris (Cheryl) and her seven sisters, Norma Linstroth, Verna Ellsworth, Marlice (John) Gilmore, Inez Hushagen, Naomi Moe, Iola Person, and JoAnne (Orlin) Lachelt; several cousins; eleven grandchildren, Jaimie (John) Odde, Tracy, Caira, Katie, Megan, Andrew, Kelsey, Natalye, Clay, Benjamin, and Veronica, and forty-five nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Raymond, Orville, and Arvid, and her “ever lovin’ husband,” Leroy.
Orpha formed strong friendships with whomever she met. She treasured getting together with “The Gang” for dinner or to play cards. She enjoyed cheering on Augustana and Tri-Valley sports teams. She spent time quilting or helping refugees make Sioux Falls their new home. She was also an active member of the Red Hat Society and Sons of Norway.
The Celebration of Life Service will be held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD, on Saturday, July 28th 2012, at 2:00 pm preceded by a private burial service at the Fairview, SD, cemetery.
A very special thank you to the compassionate staff at Avera Heart Hospital for making her final days on earth so comfortable. Memorials may be directed to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church or sent to the Iseminger family at Box 34, Lyons, SD 57041.