Viola Tuntland dies in Washington
Viola Rose Rott Tuntland, 95, passed away peacefully Dec. 4, 2013, in Gig Harbor, Wash.
Viola was born Aug. 27, 1918, to Fred and Lydia Hochstetter Rott in Selfridge, N.D. She attended Selfridge High School where she played basketball, was a cheerleader and graduated valedictorian. As a child, her mother would take her and her sister on the ferry to Mobridge for shopping. She was always very proud of the fact that while on one of those trips, she learned to walk on the steps of the Brown Palace Hotel.
In 1937 she and Walter Tuntland eloped to Mandan, N.D. On the way to the church, he began to worry about whether or not he was able to financially care for a wife. As he contemplated this scenario, he said to her, “For instance, how much did your dress cost?” When she replied that it had cost $12.95, he slammed on the brakes. At that point she promised him that she would never need to buy a dress at that price again. Therefore, he proceeded to the church where they were married with the minister’s wife and the cleaning lady as witnesses.
Their first home was in Ft. Yates, N.D., where they began a variety store. When World War II broke out, Walt joined the Army and Viola was determined to follow him wherever he was stationed. She held a number of secretarial and bookkeeping jobs in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Pueblo, Colo. They always referred to these times as, “When we were in the Army.”
In 1947, Viola and her husband settled in Mobridge, where they began Tuntland Stores Co. It later became the Ben Franklin Store which was located where Leonard Studio is today.
In retirement, Viola and her husband became snowbirds, living in Homeland, Calif., during the winter months where they played golf every day of the week except Saturday and Sunday. The weekends were reserved for Walt to watch football and for her to shop. In 1986 they made California their permanent residence.
Viola was active in the United Church of Christ (United Congregational) where she taught Sunday school and Wednesday afterschool religious classes. She also volunteered in the office for many years for Rev. Roger D. Grow.
Viola was an avid bridge player. She belonged to many bridge clubs, and was an original member of Delta Deck.
Vi moved to Washington State in 2005 to be near her daughter Jane.
She leaves her daughter, Jane (Wayne) Bridenstine; two grandsons, John (Julie) and Jim (Michelle); and six great grandchildren, Brandy, Benjamin, Beau, Walker, Sarah and Grant.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Walt; sister, Elsie Whalley; brothers, Arthur, Herbert and George; and great-grandson, Isaiah S. Bridenstine.
Her interment will be in the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, Calif.
In honor of her great-grandson, Isaiah, and in lieu of flowers, any memorials can be made to the Trisomy 18 Foundation, 173 Keith St., Warrenton, Va., 20186