Tobea J. Kuiper

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Tobea J. "Toby" (Walter) Kuiper, 83, of Great Falls, a retired clerk for Buttrey Foods, died of natural causes Tuesday, June 19, at Peace Hospice.

Funeral service is 2:30 p.m. Friday at Hillcrest Lawn Mausoleum, with burial to follow in Highland Cemetery. O'Connor Funeral Home handled arrangements.

Toby was born Feb. 28, 1929, northwest of Freeman, S.D., on the family farm, to Jacob and Sarah Walter. She rode by horse and buggy to Gross District School No. 54, located two miles east of the family farm. Her parents spoke German and would read Bible stories in German to their 11 children on Saturday nights in preparation for their Sunday school classes at the Salem Mennonite Brethren Church.

Since only German was spoken in the home, the older children taught the younger children to speak English, which was spoken at school. Eventually the church, too, changed to English, making the lessons easier. The newspaper and a 32-volt operated radio kept them up-to-date and entertained the family until 110-volt electricity came around in 1949.

Toby was united in marriage to Marvin "Hap" Kuiper in Jan. 10, 1954, in Sioux Falls, S.D. They remained happily married until Hap passed away May 14, 1987.

She worked as a clerk for Buttrey Foods for more than 20 years. She enjoyed watching game shows and cooking. She was a member of the Great Falls Eagles Lodge #14. Above everything else, Toby loved spending time with her family and taking care of them. She always spoke of her grandchildren being the "light of her life!"

Toby is survived by her sons, Randy Kuiper and Dennis (Shelley) Kuiper of Great Falls; sisters Emma Gross of Freeman, Lydia Curwen of Highland, Calif., and Phoebe Wagner of Menno, S.D.; grandchildren Heidi (Ifeanyi)Kuiper-Chinwuba of Portland, Ore., Michael Kuiper, Erin Kuiper and Ben Kuiper of Great Falls and great-grandchildren Kenadee Kuiper and Osinachi Chinwuba.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Marvin "Hap" Kuiper; parents Jacob and Sarah Walter; five brothers and two sisters.

Condolences may be posted online at www.oconnorfuneralhome.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 21, 2012
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