Orphea R. (Potter) Mattsfield, age 110, of Litchfield, MN died on Sunday, November 21, 2021 at her home in Emmaus Place of Litchfield. Memorial services will be held at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 3, 2021, at Johnson-Hagglund Funeral Home on Armstrong Avenue in Litchfield with Pastor Greg Tobison officiating. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 10:00 to 12:00 before the service. Interment will be in the Ellsworth Cemetery across from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ellsworth Township.
Orphea Reca Josephine Potter, the daughter of John and Reca (Vogelpohl) Potter was born on November 5, 1911, on her family farm near Lake Stella in Ellsworth Township, MN. She was baptized into the Christian faith on December 3, 1911, at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ellsworth Township. Orphea was a life-long member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, serving with the church women’s groups and other church committees, always welcoming and encouraging others as she lived out her life of faith and service to her Lord.
Orphea grew up and attended school in the Ellsworth community. She later attended business training in Hutchinson, MN, graduating in 1928. On August 31, 1932, she was united in marriage to Henry Mattsfield. They made their home on the Mattsfield family farm, where they worked together raising livestock and various crops until they retired in 1978. During those years, they opened their home to many family members and friends, building treasured memories of life on the farm for their guests, especially for their nieces and nephews. Orphea worked in the local US Department of Agriculture office for twelve of those years, where she made many friends and assisted in administrating numerous programs serving the county farm community. She was also involved in the local extension club, the hospital auxiliary, served as a volunteer 4-H leader and an Aid Association for Lutherans local branch officer.
After retiring from farming, Orphea and Henry sold the farm and moved into a second home on the farm site. While sharing the common farm site, Alan and Gayle West and their children, Megan and Abel, became family to the couple. They spent several of their winters during retirement in Apache Junction, Arizona, where they enjoyed the company of many friends and visitors, becoming very involved in their second church and community.
In 1997, Orphea and Henry moved to Emmaus Place Senior Housing in Litchfield, where, as one of the first residents of the newly constructed homes, they initiated involvement in the senior community. Orphea helped develop several garden projects to beautify the new homes and she enjoyed many years quilting with the community ladies, always encouraging and welcoming new residents to join the activities. She became a 4-H Grandparent, organizing activities and demonstrating crafting skills to 4-H members who met in the housing complex. In later years, she enjoyed playing Scrabble, cards, and Bingo with friends and family and participating in book clubs with the other community residents. Orphea and Henry totally enjoyed their retirement years, both those years traveling to Arizona and the subsequent years at Emmaus Place. Henry died in 2006, two months before celebrating their 74th wedding anniversary.
Orphea had a fantastic memory and even in her later years with diminished hearing and eyesight, she welcomed the company of friends and family of all ages, making each one feel special by remembering the things that were important to them. Her visitors delighted in the stories she would tell of her growing up years, her years farming with Henry, their years in square dancing clubs and their adventures traveling to places like New Zealand and Hawaii.
Orphea is survived by her family, Alan and Gayle West of Ellsworth Township, Megan and Jason Yates, and their children Levi and Stella of McLeod County, and Abel and Kara West and their son, Avry, of Ellsworth Township as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins and their families, and her special friend, neighbor and Scrabble partner, Evelyn Obar. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Henry, four brothers, Victor, Kenneth, Calvin and Aaron, and one sister Gilda, sisters-in-law Bess Potter (Victor), Luverna Potter (Kenneth), Marian Potter (Calvin), and Alyce (Potter) Stankey (Aaron), and brother-in-law Vernon Harmann (Gilda).