Obituary – Ethel Bernice Oquist

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Published Saturday, November 14, 2020

Ethel Bernice Oquist,

September 5, 1931 - November 12, 2020

Ethel Bernice Oquist, 89, a longtime La Junta resident and business owner, passed away at the Crowley County Nursing Care Center in Ordway November 12, 2020.

She was born September 5, 1931, to Alice (Stolz) and John Holter in Bethune. She was so small she spent the first month of her life sleeping in a shoebox. The family later settled in Eads, where they raised their growing family on a small farm. Growing up was not easy during the environmental disaster of the Dust Bowl and the financial ruin of the country during the Great Depression. However, farm families are tough and hopeful for better tomorrows. Ethel's parents instilled the importance of Christianity, hard work and the value of a strong family to their six children.

Ethel met the love of her life, Dean Oquist, shortly after he returned home to Eads from the service in the early 1950s. They soon married and welcomed their first son, Don. They moved to Lamar so Dean could work at a local plumbing shop while Ethel worked at Safeway. It was during this time that Rob was born. The family lived in Lamar until 1961 when they moved to La Junta and opened Valley Plumbing and Heating. Ethel was an integral part of the business, running the office and taking care of customers while Dean worked on jobs. The business grew and so did their family when third son, Mike, was born. Valley Plumbing was an essential part of Ethel's daily life and she was extremely pleased when her sons returned home to run the business. She continued to work in the shop until her early 80s.

Ethel loved her sons and enjoyed being involved in all their activities, especially sports. She spent many hours baking brownies and cookies that she shared with neighbors and numerous sports teams through the years. She loved to cook and enjoyed cooking large meals for her family. 

She was a member of the United Methodist Church and devoted to the Lord. She enjoyed traveling and visited many places abroad and in the United States. She especially enjoyed watching baseball and traveling to ball parks across the country to watch Mike during his professional baseball career.

The arrival of grandchildren gave her a new pastime - watching and enjoying their programs and sporting events. She could always be found at Potter Park along the right field line watching a ballgame from her car and tooting her horn.

Ethel is survived by brother, George Holter of Ft. Collins; sons, Don (Stacy) Oquist of Swink, Rob (Colleen) Oquist of La Junta, and Mike (Lindi) Oquist of La Junta; grandchildren, Sean (JaLynn) Oquist of Lamar, Seth (Melissa) Oquist of Canon City, Aimee (Luke) Babb of Colorado Springs, Zach (Marta) Oquist of La Junta, Connor Oquist of La Junta, Braxton (Kaela) Oquist and Dallas Oquist of Midland, Texas, Whitni Oquist of Colorado Springs, and Dyson and Chance Oquist of La Junta; great-grandchildren, Myla, Corryn and Thomas Oquist of Lamar, Brooke and Aiden Oquist of Colorado Springs, Ava and Wesley Oquist of Canon City, Alden Oquist of La Junta, and Beckett Oquist of Midland, Texas; along with numerous extended family member and friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Alice Holter; husband, Dean; brothers, Hank, Howard, John and Lee Holter; and sister Faye (Holter) Patterson.

A graveside service will be held Wednesday, November 18, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. at the Eads Cemetery with Mark Fisher officiating. Visitation will be Tuesday, November 17, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Peacock Memorial Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Arkansas Valley Hospice, P.O. Box 408, La Junta, CO 81050 or the United Methodist Church, 601 San Juan Ave., La Junta, CO 81050.

Arrangements are under the direction of Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home & Arkansas Valley Crematory. may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase products or services through links in an article. Prices, when displayed, are accurate at the time of publication but may change over time. Commissions do not influence editorial independence.

The Kiowa County Press is an independent newspaper published in Eads, Kiowa County, Colorado, and to the world at