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Ramona Eleanor Roper (Punky Zempel) has fallen asleep on this earth the day of November 29th, 2020, to be made alive in Christ for eternity! She was residing at Miller Pointe in Mandan, ND since 2017 where many staff members and other residents had become extended family.
Ramona was born in Mandan on November 23, 1936 to parents Judy (Olson) and Fred Zempel, and is of German and Norwegian decent. She and her older sister and younger brothers had very colorful parents. Ramona’s parents and grandparents were major influencers and well known in the rodeo scene. Her mother was a Roman Rider and did Trick Riding as well.
Ramona accomplished so much in this life and was such a faithful and loving servant of Christ. Even in these last years that became such a struggle, she didn’t forget who is in control and always knew to place everything in “His” hands. What a gift for her family and all who loved her. As Christ’s servant, she humbly placed the welfare of others before her own. Always.
After graduating high school in Almont, ND, she attended college in Dickinson. She then was a teacher for approximately a year, east of Almont in Morton County. After marrying, her husband entered the United States Air Force and she became a military wife. The birth of a son and two daughters ensued, along with several transfers and moves. Often this meant that Ramona would need to pack up the household and drive their children cross country on her own. She was a strong lady, because she needed to be. Places of residence while in the military include Ft. Worth, TX, where their son and first daughter were born. Albany, GA, their youngest daughter’s place of birth, Seville, Spain, Ramstein AFB, Germany, Amarillo & Abilene, TX, Enid, OK, Tucson, AZ (where she obtained her cosmetology licensure and was a model for a renowned stylist), and Salina, KS.
Salina, KS is a place where Ramona and her family experienced major life changes. While in Salina, she did factory work, worked in the hospital restorative nursing department, and did private duty as a CNA for people within their homes. Ramona was highly regarded for her work ethic and demeanor. Salina is also where she later met and married her husband, Jeff Roper. They have shared thirty cherished years and adventures together. They shared children and grandchildren, and shared in building their home together (literally with their own hands) in rural Salina. As kids were grown and on their own, Ramona and Jeff began discussing a move back to her birth state of North Dakota. The decision made, off they went to begin yet another chapter of their lives together. They moved back to North Dakota in 2002, eventually becoming members and very involved in the Christian Motorcycle Association, sharing God’s promises and the love of Christ which was her favorite thing to do. Ramona and Jeff took many rides on their Harley including long journeys cross country to visit family.
Ramona is preceded in death by her parents, Judy and Fred Zempel, Sister Ardys Schafer, daughter Lori Harper Bilski, stepson Shawn Hynes, and many other loved ones and family members. She is survived by her beloved husband Jeff Roper, ND, son Marty Harper, ND, daughter Anita Harper Johnson (David) TN, stepdaughter Katie Roper-Schneider (Jason) KS, Brothers Buck Zempel, ND, and Aaron Zempel (Sharon), ND, Grandchildren: James Harper (Loni), Amanda Harper, Angie Harper Koppang (Cory) Marty Harper Jr, all of ND, and Talia Harper, OR, Melissa Bilski Bewley, TX, Marinda Bilski, TX, Jessami Jacobson, TN, 13 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Please watch for Ramona’s Celebration of Life announcement in late spring. We will be happy to see you there!
Until then, the family asks that you leave memories, prayers, or comments for the family here on the guestbook page.
Ramona was so very important to her family. Though she will be sorely missed, she is where she belongs, with our Father in heaven, and we will be together again. Until then, like her grandchildren would always tell her, “Sure do love ya Nanny! Sure do love ya!”
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