Funeral services for Opal Marquiss will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan.26, 2013, at Gillette Memorial Chapel with Kenna Rose as celebrant.
Burial will follow in Mount Pisgah Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.
Opal Elaine “Toots” Marquiss, 90, formerly of Gillette, passed away at her home in Worland, Wyo., on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, of natural causes.
Toots was born to Fred Soren and Mary (Jacobsen) Wagensen on Nov. 6, 1922, in a homesteader’s shack 35 miles south of Gillette near the banks of the Belle Fourche River.
She was raised on her family’s ranch, and she and her older brother, Donald, rode their pony “Merry Legs” back and forth to country school. Despite Donald’s constant teasing, Toots grew to be a nice young lady. She graduated from Campbell County High School in 1940. She went on to get her teaching certificate from Black Hills State Teachers College in Spearfish, S.D., and then returned to Campbell County. She taught country school for a few years before giving her hand in marriage to a handsome young rancher, Quentin Spencer Marquiss, on May 17, 1944, in Gillette.
Quentin was a flight instructor for the Naval Air Force during World War II, and the couple was stationed at both Chicago, Ill., and Pensacola, Fla. During their Navy years, their first son, Gary, was born.
Following Quentin’s discharge from the Navy, the family returned home to live on the Marquiss’ Little Buffalo Ranch, and Toots was then back home on the banks of the Belle Fourche River. The couple completed their family with another son Trigg and a daughter Glo.
They built their home on the ranch with a spectacular view of the Pumpkin Buttes from their picture window.Toots spent her days cooking for the men on the ranch and mothering her children. She found time to sew most all of their clothes, and of course everything had to be ironed. She was a hostess second to none, was always dressed “to the nines,” and kept an immaculate home. She loved to entertain.
When the kids were high school age, the couple invested in the Sands Restaurant and Motel in Gillette, where Toots worked as a hostess for several years. In 1964, tragedy struck the Marquiss family when Quentin was killed in an airplane crash. Despite the adversity of being a young widow, Toots managed to keep the ranch going and raised her family.
She was a member of Wyoming Woolgrowers, Campbell County Cowbelles, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, and served as a director of the National Buffalo Association. She had battled rheumatoid arthritis for nearly 50 years but never let it quench her feisty spirit. In her golden years, Toots enjoyed some international travel, loved to dance, sewed beautiful clothing, and of course, shopping! She had a winter home in Carefree, Ariz., where she escaped the wind and cold of Wyoming winters that she loathed so much.
She cared for her parents Fred and May in their late years. She delighted in her grandchildren and more recently her great-grandchildren. There always was a place for friends around the chopping block in her kitchen with a warm cup of coffee and a jar full of chocolate-covered raisins for kids (big and small).
Toots is survived by her son: Gary (Millie) Marquiss of Gillette, Wyo., and Trigg (JoAnn) Marquiss of Story, Wyo.; her daughter, Glo (Kerry) Clark of Worland, Wyo.; her grandchildren, Christopher “Twister” Marquiss of San Marcos, Texas, Merritt (Trish) Marquiss of Searcy, Ark., Stephanie Marquiss of Laramie, Wyo., Stacy Marquiss of Weatherford, Texas, Tait (Jenn) Marquiss of Gillette, Wyo., Kenzie (Erick) Mares of Douglas, Wyo., Quinn Clark of Casper, Wyo., Laurie (Mark) Jarina of Milton, Fla., Charles (Kaoko) Rials of Mosomoto, Japan, and George (Carla) Rials of Pace, Fla.; and five precious greay-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband Quentin, her parents Fred and Mary Wagensen, and her only brother Donald Wagensen.
Memorials may be made to the Close To Home Hospice House of Campbell County in Toot’s name. Memorials and condolences may be sent in care of Gillette Memorial Chapel, 210 W. 5th Street, Gillette, Wyoming 82716 or condolences via the internet at www.gillettememorialchapel.com.