Cover photo for Thea Otterson's Obituary
1918 Thea 2016

Thea Otterson

January 2, 1918 — December 19, 2016

A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday, 3 Jan 2017, at 11:30am at First Presbyterian Church, 400 West 3rd Street in downtown Roswell, to honor the life of Thea. Thea passed away Monday, 19 Dec 2016, at home in Roswell. Services will be conducted by Pastor Larry Sydow. Following those services, a reception for family and friends will be held to share memories of Thea spanning her 98 years. Viewing for Thea will be Monday, 2 Jan 2017 from 11am till 7pm at Ballard Funeral Home Roswell, NM.

Prior to the memorial service there will be a private graveside service in the family plot in South Park Cemetery. Flowers are welcome but you may consider a donation to one of the charities she strongly supported: The Assurance Home Foundation, The Boys and Girls Club of Roswell, INC., First Tee of the Pecos Valley and the Salvation Army.

Thea was born 2 Jan 1918 in Nelson County on the Kjorvestad farm near Aneta North Dakota. Her parents, Daniel and Turid Opstad, from Valle, Setestal, Norway, were sponsored by Bjorn Rike, a farmer living near Edinburgh, North Dakota. Her parents left Norway in May 1907 with their daughter, Borgy. They traveled by horse, boat and train from their home to the coast of Norway where they boarded an ocean going vessel to America. They landed in Boston, Massachusetts, on 5 Jun 1907. From there they traveled by train via Chicago to Edinburgh and were met by their sponsor. Over the next few years the family grew: Signe, Bjorgo, Bessie, Drang, then Thea, followed by Carl.

In the spring of 1918, the family bought the "home place" south of Minot, North Dakota, near Douglas. Hence the "kids" grew up in a healthy, caring, religious farm life. They attended school nearby, usually 3 or 4 kids at a time riding horse back. After Thea graduated from Douglas High School, she attended Minot Business College. During this time she attended Bethany Lutheran Church which sponsored a youth group - Luther League. At that time, she met Ness Otterson, their friendship grew and led to marriage in February 1941.

Settling into married life, Thea worked as a secretary for Minot Auto Supply while Ness worked as a livestock buyer. About a year later Pearl Harbor was attacked and shortly thereafter Ness joined the Army Air Corps. Upon discharge from the Army Ness was advised by the doctors to move to a milder climate for his service connected disability. So in 1946, they loaded all their possessions in a one-horse trailer and moved to Roswell.

There Thea was on the staff of Magnolia Petroleum while Ness became involved in land development that evolved into home and commercial construction. Thea meanwhile became a charter member of the Desk and Derrick Club. She served as officer on the Board of Directors. As the construction company grew, Thea became a book keeper, and the two were "teammates" for N. T, Otterson - Builder. Thea expanded her activities to include being a "candy striper" at Eastern New Mexico Medical Center and was a member of the ENMMC Auxiliary even serving as president. Golf and bridge were wonderful past times they enjoyed both in Roswell and for many years during winters in Arizona.

Leading into retirement they built the Roadrunner Mobile Home Park which opened in 1972 for active senior adults. The park continues to thrive and has a great reputation. The park is actively managed by family members who live on site.

While Thea and Ness did not have any children, they were wonderful role models for their nieces and nephews.

Thea's parents and all of her brothers and sisters and several nieces /nephews preceded her passing. The nieces/nephews who have passed are: both Don and Lorraine, Byron, Sandy and David. Ness passed away 5 Feb 2005. Survivors include Ness' nephew Win Alme (Marilyn) of Casa Grande, AZ, plus two sons and their families living in Colorado. Thea's nieces from her sister Signe are Jerry McLachian, husband of Sandra (passed), Teresa (Rod) McLachian and Cheryl (Larry) Gergets all of Bismarck, ND. From her brother Bjorgo are Melford (Arlene) Opstad of Big Lake MN., Patricia Opstad wife of Byron (passed) of Bloomington, MN, Gordon "Red" Opstad of Minot, and Sharon (Mick) Hanson of Missoula, MT. From her sister Bessie are Gary (Kay) Auld of Roswell and Dennis (Lynn Hampton) Auld of Alexandria, VA. From her brother Carl are Dean and (Meredith) Opstad of Topeka, KS.

Pallbearer's will be Chris Auld, Dennis Auld, Gary Auld, Ryan Gallegos, Jerry McLachlan, and Rod McLachlan.


Ballard Funeral Home
910 S. Main St.
Roswell, NM  88203
Monday, January 2, 2017
11 am to 7 pm


First Presbyterian Church
400 West Third Street
Roswell, NM  88201
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
11:30 am


South Park Cemetery
3101 S. Main St.
Roswell, NM  88203
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thea Otterson, please visit our flower store.


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