Virginia (Sorlie) Roen: 1932-2015
Virginia (Sorlie) Roen
Virginia Corine Sorlie was born October 19, 1932, in Church’s Ferry, North Dakota. Virginia “Gin” attended schools in the local area and then graduated with honors from Churchs Ferry High School in 1950. She attended college in Moorhead, Minnesota, then transferred to Minot State Teachers College where she received her degree and teaching certificate. She then returned home and lived with family, accepting her first teaching position at a little country school south of Churchs Ferry, North Dakota. When a teaching position opened up in Bowman, North Dakota, Virginia was anxious for the opportunity, little did she know she would meet the love of her life there, rancher Robert “Bob” Roen. On August 25, 1954, they were married and to this union, three children were born, Jonathan, Bobby and Julie. Gin could be proud of her roles as an excellent mother, wife, teacher, aunt, and godmother.
She also was considered a great horsewoman and helped alongside her husband Bob on the family ranch. Bob and Gin were an integral part of the Roen Ranch in Bowman, North Dakota, and the legacy the Roen boys built developing Hereford cattle and raising top notch herd bulls. Virginia could be found horseback on the ranch quite often and valued good Quarter horses and smart dogs.
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Virginia’s loves in this life were her family, her many friends plus, the love she had for all animals, especially her Australian Shepherd dogs and her beautiful Quarter Horses. She instilled her love of horses in her children. Gin taught Bobby and Julie how to ride and some of their fondest memories were traveling to 4-H horse events and rodeos, as well as cattle shows.
In the 80’s, Bob and Gin pursued other opportunities to keep their children active in rodeo and horses. They decided to purchase a saddlery near Bozeman, Montana. Bob, Gin and Julie ran the saddlery together until Julie’s passing from complications of her diabetes. Bob and Gin then sold the saddlery and moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota with their horses. Their beautiful home tucked in the hills gave Virginia some gorgeous areas to ride in. After Bob’s retirement, the couple moved to Arizona for awhile, then back to Montana to be near family, before finally deciding to return the Black Hills and settling in Spearfish. Bob and Gin were married over 50 years at the time of his passing in 2013. Virginia remained in assisted care in Spearfish until the time of her passing.
Virginia was preceded in death by her parents Harold and Berneice Sorlie, her husband Bob and their three children Jonathan, Bobby and Julie, as well as brothers-in-law Chriss, Glen and Leland Roen, Melvin Holmquist and Bernard Johnson, sisters-in-law Alice and Pearl. Virginia is survived by two brothers Harold “Hal” (Ann) Sorlie of San Diego, California, brother Roger “Pete” (Rosemary) Sorlie of Lavista, Nebraska, and sister, Carol (Bob) Reeves of Jackson, Tennessee, sister-in-laws Ethel Johnson of Reeder, North Dakota, and Ann Roen Deisz of Billings, Montana, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and great-neices and nephews. She is also survived by Julie Roen’s husband, Russ Olsen, his wife Lauri and their daughters Emily, Hailee and Lynsie Olsen of Gallatin Gateway, Montana.
A memorial service was held in Belle Fourche, S.D., on May 7 at St. James Lutheran Church with interment in Bowman, N.D., on May 8, 2015.
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