Darrell G. Triplett



Darrell Guy Triplett, 96, died at home in Bismarck on December 1, 2019. He died as he had lived, with a gentle, quiet dignity.

Darrell was born July 6, 1923, in Renville County, ND, to Guy and Hazle (Elliott) Triplett on land homesteaded by his Elliott grandparents and adjacent to land homesteaded by his Tarr great-grandparents. He was the fourth of eight siblings.

After graduating from Tolley High School in 1941 as the valedictorian of his class and brief training as a welder, Darrell relocated to the State of Washington with Carl “Junior” Raap, high school classmate and best friend. They both worked in the U.S. Navy shipyard adjacent to Bremerton, Washington, repairing and modernizing battle ships for the war effort. During the early part of WWII, that employment earned Darrell a draft deferral. The deferral ended abruptly after he missed three days of work while hospitalized with an injury.

He served the remainder of the war in the South Pacific with the United States Army Air Corps (5th Army Air Force/43rd Bombardment Group/65th Squadron – known then and now as the “Lucky Dicers”). He was a top turret gunner in a B-24 ‘Liberator’ bomber. With his crew, he flew 47 island-hopping missions toward Japan.

Darrell considered his military service the singular great adventure of his life. He was proud of his service and always amazed at his good fortune in returning unscathed. He was a member of the Irgens-Weber American Legion Post #249 of Tolley, ND.

Following military service, Darrell returned home to farm with his father. Later, he farmed in partnership with his younger brother Bobby, until Bobby’s untimely death in 1971, after which he farmed with sons Michael and Craig.

Darrell married LaVerne Marie Irgens in October 1952. They had five children together, all born between 1954 and 1961. Darrell valued education greatly. He served twelve years on the school board for Tolley Public School during the 1960s and ‘70s, where he was instrumental in introducing foreign language study and implementing Title IX (sports equity for girls), among other innovations. Darrell and LaVerne retired to Bismarck in 2008.

Taking care of family was always his priority. At various times in his life, depending on age and health, his favorite activities included the thrill of dare-devil horseback riding, the strategy of baseball (he was the pitcher on a team that included his father and brothers), the camaraderie and competition of shooting league pool with good friends, dancing with his wife (and all the other women in the room), playing card games and fixing jigsaw puzzles with his family.

The constants in his life included a special affection for babies and toddlers, a voracious appetite for reading, and pleasure in the close observation of his surroundings while he worked the land. He loved farming; he also loved a good thunderstorm, the sun setting over the prairie, and the dark night sky (long before that became ‘a thing’). He knew the habits of wildlife and respected their need for habitat. His trademark whistle could fool the birds he was imitating.

Darrell was a man of integrity, generosity, and equanimity. He could be stubborn; he was always stoic. He was a man of few words, but the twinkle in his eyes conveyed pure love as well as any poem ever written. At the end, he was very ready to “go home” to the comforting arms of his grandmother Nettie Tarr Elliot (1874 – 1952), the single most important influence of his youth.

Darrell is survived by LaVerne, his wife of 67 years; one sister, (Margery) Pearl “Sis” Satterlund, and two sisters-in-law, Frances “Francie” Yale Hedberg Triplett and Shirley Zeltinger Triplett Nore; brother-in-law, Martin Irgens and wife Evelyn (Olson) Irgens; children, Michael (Pamela Lee/Jennifer Yale), Constance (Gerald Groenewold), Timothy (Jeanette Jore/Kari Larson), Craig (Clifton “Buzz” Hudgins), and Kelly (Kim Sjoquist);

15 grandchildren: Michael and Pam’s children: Shannon (Candace Hampton/Darcy Fitzgerald), Valerie (James Armstrong/Austin Adams), and Eric; Michael and Jen’s children: Devin and Carson; Connie and Gerry’s children: Gerd (Stacey Wilber), Nikolaus (Sabrina Guillemette/Samantha Grimm), and Justin (Allison Ho); Tim and Jeanette’s children: Jenna (Ryan Strand), Elizabeth, and Connor; Tim and Kari’s children: Jessi (Jon Paulson) and Jaimi; Kelly and Kim’s children: Zachary (Jasmine Towner) and Erin (Ryan Bennett); two very special nieces, who by virtue of circumstances were always treated as grandchildren: Vicki (Allen) Coddington and DeAnn (Allen) McCann; and

20 great-grandchildren: Emily, Brady, and Ashlyn Triplett; Jessica, Alex, and Tristan Armstrong; Javen and Kendra Adams; Kay and Gerald Groenewold; Lila, Arianna, and Jocelynn Groenewold; Helen Groenewold; Keagen, Dashen, and Brooks Paulson; Jackson Triplett and Lucas Strand; and Elliot Triplett; as well as many nieces and nephews. Special thanks to oldest nephew Robert Lynn Triplett and his wife Eileen for many visits and telephone calls during Darrell’s declining years.

Darrell was preceded in death by both parents; brothers Lynn and wife Martha, Voyle and first wife Bertha, Delbert and wife Delores, (Richard Elwood) Kenneth “Kenny” and wife Doris, and Bobby; sister Marilyn and husband Thomas Quinn; brother-in-law Marvin Satterlund; sister-in-law Laura (Irgens) Allen and husband Calman “Jake” Allen; one still-born grandchild and one granddaughter, Samantha Vogel.

The family attributes Darrell’s longevity to timely medical advances in the field of cardiac bypass surgery in the 1970s, to Darrell’s positive attitude through multiple medical crises, and especially to LaVerne’s amazing care-giving over many decades, substantially aided by Craig in recent years. Recognition and appreciation are offered especially to the late Drs. Kaljot and Epstein, both cardiologists of Minot, ND, and pioneering cardiac surgeon Dr. Richard C. Lillehei of the University of Minnesota.

Memorials preferred to the American Red Cross. Visitation at Bismarck Funeral Home Tuesday, December 3, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Services at Tolley Evangelical Lutheran Church, Tolley, ND, Thursday, December 5, at 11:00 a.m. with interment following at McKinney Cemetery in the Souris River valley west of Mohall along Highway 5.

[Note for anyone using this information for genealogy research:  some of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren listed above are step-grandchildren and  step-great-grandchildren. The distinction is not made in the obituary, because Darrell and LaVerne never made such distinctions. How one became part of the family mattered not. All were and are accepted and treasured.]

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