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Dr. Lawrence Opsahl

Dr. Lawrence Opsahl

April 12, 1921 - Feb. 5, 2009

WILLMAR -- Dr. Lawrence J. Opsahl, 87, of Willmar, died Thursday at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

The service will be at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Military honors will be provided by the American Legion Post 167 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1639.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar and for one hour prior to the service Tuesday at the church.

He was born April 12, 1921, in Minneapolis to Alfred S. and Pauline E. (Trunk) Opsahl. He grew up in Minneapolis, graduated from Minneapolis West High School in 1938 and attended St. Olaf College. He enlisted in the Navy and served in the South Pacific during World War II as a hospital corpsman. Following his discharge, he enrolled in the University of Minnesota Medical School and graduated in 1949.

He married Margaret J. Kinter on June 26, 1948. They moved to Willmar in 1951, and he purchased a general medical practice from Dr. R.E. Anderson. He retired in 1983.

He founded the Willmar Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962 and directed the orchestra until 1969. He was one of the founders of the Barn Theatre in 1964 and served as an active board member until 1976. He served as the Kandiyohi County medical coroner from 1968 to 1983. He was active with the Kandiyohi County Historical Society and served as its treasurer from 1968 to 1979. He was a member of Bethel Lutheran Church and a past member of Vinje Lutheran Church where he was active in the church choir and as an adult Sunday School teacher.

He is survived by three sons: David Opsahl (and Deb Willis) of Willmar, John (and Diane) Opsahl of Edina and Mark (and Linda) Opsahl of Elk River; three daughters: Paula (and Gary) Crowther of Asheville, N.C., Ruth Aungst (and Mark Schwankl) of Sartell and Annie Dowdell of Asheville, N.C.; one daughter-in-law: Sheila Opsahl of Raymond; 14 grandchildren; one great-grandson; one brother: Paul Opsahl of Naperville, Ill.; and two sisters: Irma (and Vern) Gager of Minnetonka and Elsie Hawes of Denver, Colo.

He was preceded in death by his wife in 2002; one son: Jim in 1999; two sons-in-law: Matthew Aungst and Steven Dowdell; and two brothers.