September 6, 1930 - July 20, 2015


Orpha Joyce (Solwold) Prather (84) passed away July 20 at Trinity Health Center in Minot, N.D. Funeral services were July 24 at First Lutheran Church in Tioga, N.D. Graveside services will be 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 8, at St. Boniface Parish Cemetery in Cold Spring.

She was born Sept. 6, 1930, in Casper, Wyo., to Olaf Jr. and Julia (Vatsaas) Solwold and had one sibling, her sister Julia, who was born 10 months later. Orpha graduated from Natrona County High School in Casper, Wyo., in 1949. She began teaching grade school in 1951 in Midwest, Wyo., with a two-year certification and received a bachelor’s degree in education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., in 1954.

Orpha married Edward H. Prather June 14, 1954, in Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Casper, Wyo., and moved to Tioga, N.D., where he was employed in a family business, which later became R.A. Prather and Sons Oil Well Servicing. The couple raised their family of four children — Carol, Ed, Steve and Jim — in Tioga.

She started working in the Tioga School District in 1959, first teaching English at Tioga High School but soon settling in at Central Grade School, where she taught fourth grade for more than 30 years, retiring in 1995. She also instructed adult students through Williston (N.D.) State College for 35 years. She remained active in retirement with substitute teaching, prison ministry and as a lay preacher for the Western North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Orpha is survived by her children, Carol Jessen-Klixbull of Cold Spring, Edward R. of Crystal, Minn., Stephen (Christine) of Bloomington, Minn., James (Donna) of Montgomery, Ill.; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; sister, Julia Gray of Casper, Wyo., and 10 nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by

her husband, Edward H., and son-in-law, Ole Jessen-Klixbull.

Arrangements have been made by Wenner Funeral Home in Cold Spring.