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Opal Mertens

Opal Marie Mertens, 86, of Staples, passed away at the St. Cloud Hospital on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010.

Opal was born on April 29, 1923, the daughter of Roy and Clara (Olson) Stave. She grew up on the farm and walked 2 miles to country school until the eighth grade. At 11 years old, she worked during the summer, taking care of four kids and the house for 50 cents a week so she could buy school clothes. After her schooling she continued to do housework and baby sitting until 1940. In May 1940, Opal went to work in Staples for Worlies, Drakes, and Kilbury's. In June 1941, she went to Sleepy Eye, Minn., to work at the corn cannery. On Nov. 26, 1941, she was united in marriage to Clarence Mertens at Sacred Heart Catholic Church by the Rev. Donnay. Following their wedding they built a house on a truck and went to work in the mines at Coleraine until Clarence was called into the Army. They lived in California while he took his training and then was sent overseas. Her sister, Ruby, came to California and helped her get back to Minnesota. Clarence returned from the service in August 1945. They settled in Staples where she was a helpmate, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. From 1964 until 1980 both Opal and Clarence were licensed auctioneers. Opal was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the Foresters and Church Circle. Among the things she enjoyed doing were knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, fishing, traveling and raising flowers.

A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Staples. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the Brenny Funeral Home. Burial will be at the Evergreen Hill Cemetery in Staples. Arrangements are entrusted to the Brenny Funeral Chapel of Staples. To leave a message of comfort and support for the family visit

Survivors include her husband of 68 years, Clarence; children, Gary (Dorothy) Mertens, Dale (Evelyn) Mertens, Linda (Frank) Haisman, Anita (Darrell) Hove, Clyde (Debra) Mertens, Jerry (Janet) Mertens, and daughter-in-law, Marilyn Mertens; 20 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; siblings, Pearl (Matt) Hoemberg, DeLona (Edward) Hoemberg, Kessell (Barbara) Stave, Ronald (Sharon) Stave, Royce (Beverly) Stave, Darrell (Connie) Stave, Shirley (Martin) Duis; in-laws, Delores Stave, Dale Canfield, and Marvin May; also many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Roger; great-grandson, Tyler; siblings, Russell, Carol, Gerald, and Ruby; and sister-in-law, Lorraine Stave.