Leona Dirk, 86, Fargo, ND, died at Hospice House at Sanford Hospital surrounded by her loving family on Sunday, April 26, in Fargo, ND.
Leona Loeb was born July 22, 1933, to Lorenz & Emma (Ternes) Loeb in Raleigh, ND. The youngest child in the family, Leona worked very hard helping her older sisters with household chores as the family farm was the center of life growing up. Leona also had a special place in her heart for her sister Marie, who passed away in 1973. It hurt Leona to lose her sister at such a young age. Leona spoke of Marie often and with great respect and admiration. Leona lived for cuddling babies and she often spoke of that, helping Marie with her 13 children growing up. Leona talked about all of her brothers and sisters often. She loved all of her nieces and nephews so much. She shared many stories of how she enjoyed canning and gardening with her mother after Leona’s dad passed away. Leona’s strong work ethic was instilled on the family farm and stayed with her throughout her life.
Leona met the love of her life, Mike Dirk, at a dance in St. Gertrude. Leona often said it was love at first sight, and she knew he would be the man she would marry. Their dancing prowess was legendary to those who knew them. Some of our favorite memories and videos over the years were the two of them in what seemed like perfect synchronous movement. Leona married Mike on September 18, 1950, at St. Gertrude, and they made their home in Flasher, ND. Mike and Leona left Flasher in 1953 and moved to Arthur, ND, where Mike worked as a laborer and farmed until 1967. By the time they left Arthur for Fargo, 7 of their 8 children had already been born. Raising her family was central to Leona’s early life. The children believe those early farm years were the foundation of who they would become. Hard work, self-reliance, and integrity were the cornerstone of their upbringing.
When Leona and Mike moved to Fargo, she worked part-time as a weekend cook at Cardinal Muench Seminary. Leona had a special relationship with Seminary Vicar Father Arth and also Father Vetter. Leona and Mike so appreciated their faith and support of the Catholic Church as they began to build their life in Fargo. Leona then moved on to the Dietary Department at St. Luke’s/Meritcare (now Sanford) hospital where she worked for 17 years before retiring in 1990, shortly after Mike in 1989.
This early period of retirement in the 1990s saw Mike and Leona at their most relaxed and content. They thrived living the summer lake life on Sybil Lake in Minnesota for 7 years, often sharing good times and fishing with neighbor and sister Pauline Deichert and her husband Ben. This also afforded them more time to see their son Rick and his wife, JoAnne, who were just down the road. When she was working and then in retirement, Leona was an incredible cook, baker, canner, you name it. Wonderful food and aroma were right around the corner in Leona’s kitchen. As we reminisced over the years, one subject that always came up were Sunday dinners of roast beef, potatoes and carrots and often, fresh baked bread. That was home.
Leona was so dedicated to her husband Mike and, likewise, Mike to Leona. In the past 8 months, as her health began to fail, family was always the conversation. Whether it was her life growing up, or the life built with her partner, it was always about family. Their home was everything to Leona and Mike. Whether it be beautiful flowers, bountiful gardens or delicious German food and traditional drink, family was central to their lives.
After Leona lost Mike in 2014, she still focused on family. Her many grandchildren meant everything to her. She had a special relationship with her grandson Alex these last 6 years as he spent many hours after school with Nana. They would reminisce, shed a tear, and look to the future. As her friends began to battle the years as well, Leona would reach out with a call or a visit to comfort. As the sun began to set, comfortable with her family and faith, Leona wanted nothing more than to be with Mike. In the end, Leona was prepared to dance with her only love again.
Leona is survived by her sons and daughters: Daniel (Coleen), Grant’s Pass, OR; Douglas (Lisa), West Fargo; Constance Brust (Kim); Fargo, ND; Michael (Doreen), Riverdale, ND; Patricia (Paul Swanson), Fargo; Andrew, Fargo; Robert (Jennifer), Fargo; daughter-in-law, JoAnne Dirk, Dent, MN; sister-in-law Emma Loeb; 11 grandchildren: Josh, Nathan, Adam, Rob, Erin, Mara, Jeremy, Tammy, Terri, Meghan, Alex; and 7 great grandchildren. Leona was preceded in death by her parents, husband Mike, son Rick, sisters Regina (Jake Blotsky), Florence (Bert Bachmeier), Eva (Tony Kopp), Marie (Tony Dirk), Brothers Ed (Emily) Loeb, Peter (Katie) Loeb, Pauline (Ben Deichert) and Lorenz (Emma) Loeb Jr.
Memorials preferred to 4 Luv of Dog Rescue, 3037 13th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103. http://www.4luvofdog.org/wp/ or Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Fargo, ND.
Leona’s Prayer Service can be viewed via Live Stream below starting at 6:30 P.M. tonight:
Her funeral can be viewed via live stream tomorrow, Friday, May 1, 2020 starting at 2:00 P.M. at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4YrPwQFYBVlsLp55v2vHsw/live