Claryce Helen Sargent
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1932 - 2014
Claryce Helen Hopka was born October 8, 1932 to Paul and Chleo Hopka in a farm house in Pine Bluffs, WY. She was the 3rd of 5 living children and they nicknamed her "Sis" at an early age. She loved helping her dad on the farm and preferred that to working inside the house, but being the oldest girl, she couldn't always forsake her household chores to be outside, much to her dismay.
After graduating second in her class from Pine Bluffs High School in 1950, she promptly moved into the Cheyenne YWCA and got a job. That year she met the love of her life, Merrill Graham Sargent, aka "Sarge", a city boy from Iowa who was stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base. They fell in love and married on July 1, 1951. Shortly after being discharged from the Air Force, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
The family moved periodically whenever the Navy called; Oakland CA, Millington TN, Jacksonville FL, Knott's Island NC, Narragansett RI and other locations. They stayed for 3 months in some places, 5 years in others, but Claryce never complained. During this time, she was a homemaker, but would work during the holidays to earn money to make sure the kids had a good Christmas. When Sarge retired after 20 years of active duty, he moved his family to Pine Bluffs, WY. He felt Claryce had moved all over the country for him and he wanted her to be able to live near her kinfolk.
Claryce loved life and cherished every moment. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were her source of pride and joy. She took delight in every day and never took a day for granted. Never at a loss for words (talking too much was always a reason for reprimand for her in school), she made instant friends wherever she was, even if only in a grocery store checkout line.
She had an infectious laugh and a good sense of humor. She loved antique stores, flea markets, farmers' markets, playing Skip-bo and cribbage and never missed Price Is Right, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. She loved the water, whether it be sitting by a lake or river, but her favorite source of water was the ocean. She was a Denver Bronco fan to the end, but all her Idaho and Washington family members were Seattle Seahawks fans. She was very upset with the results of the 2014 Super Bowl, but just before her death, she was so happy the Broncos beat the Seahawks, even if it was just a preseason game!
When Claryce's already tenuous health started to deteriorate, she and Sarge made the hard decision to leave the little town she loved in order to be closer to her children and their families in Idaho, Washington and California. She had a big, generous heart, but after living in their new home in Idaho for 3 years, her heart had grown weary and needed to rest. She went home to the Lord Jesus whom she trusted for her salvation on Saturday, August 9, 2014.
She was preceeded in death by her parents, Paul and Chleo Hopka, her sister, Joan Hammelman and her brothers Malvin, Edwin, Malford and Orville Hopka. She leaves behind her beloved husband, Sarge, her daughters Debbie Saunders (Tim) of Middleton ID and Dee Dee Sargent of University Place WA, and her sons Kevin Sargent (Charlene) and Terry Sargent both from Bakersfield CA. She also leaves behind 8 grandchildren; Tiffany Cee (Don), Natalie Cortes (Jorge), Sam Sargent (Jenny), Tim Sargent (Mei), Lindsey Baldwin, Emily Duval (Marc), Paul Sargent and Kacey Sargent as well as 6 great grandchildren; Donovan, Jackson, Alexander, Keynan, Koa, and Tori.
Grace English Lutheran Church began in Pine Bluffs in 1950 when her father, Paul Hopka, purchased a lot on the corner of 7th and Miller St. With the help of his family, he built a basement chapel on the lot and it was dedicated in October 1950. Another lot was donated a year or so later and the present church building was constructed and dedicated in 1958 on the property. No matter where she lived, that little basement chapel and the later constructed church were Claryce's church family in her heart and soul. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her name to Grace Lutheran Church in Pine Bluffs WY.
A memorial service will be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Caldwell ID, her new church family, on Thursday, August 21st at 10 a.m. with graveside services in Pine Bluffs at a later date to be determined. I am sure we have missed a key group despite our best efforts, but we wish to thank the Middleton Fire Department, the emergency room staff of St Luke's Nampa, Pastor Brooks and the ladies of Grace Lutheran Church and Doug Reinke and his staff of Dakan Funeral Home as well as all her many doctors locally.
We will all miss her so much, but her memory lives on in all of us forever.
Dakan Funeral Chapel
504 South Kimball Avenue Caldwell, ID 83605
Published in Idaho Statesman on Aug. 19, 2014