Odelta A. Tusler Thomsen was born Feb. 24, 1936 in Terry, the second of three children born to Sheldon (Shot) and Delpha (Dife) McAtee Tusler. She was a special birthday present for her 5-year-old brother, Jerry. She left us on Dec. 3. Odelta or Del as she was known, grew up on the family farm and attended Terry Schools. She was valedictorian of her graduating class at THS in 1954. She entered the Navy shortly after graduation wanting to represent the family since Jerry was not able to. She completed WAVE Training and reported to active duty in Florida in the fall of 1954. Del served 2.5 years of active duty during the Korean War Era and was in the reserves for three additional years.
She married Bruce A. Jordan in 1956 and to the union three children (Vicky, Andy and Terry) were born. They later divorced. Del and children relocated to Terry where they lived until her marriage to Harold Thomsen in 1967. At that time the family relocated to Billings where she has resided since.
While in Billings Del worked for the Billings Gazette, retiring many years as the Gazette’s librarian. Upon retirement she joined brother Jerry in their hay broker business on Minnesota Avenue in Billings - a business venture they shared until Jerry’s death in 2011.
Always patriotic, Del joined American Legion Yellowstone Post 4 in 1987 after being denied membership in 1962 because she was a woman and not a male veteran. Del served as historian and publicity spokeswoman for the post and was given an honorary lifetime membership in 1991. Del was also active in the American Legion at the state level and national level. She served as committee chair for Community Service and Publicity and was department (state) historian from 1992-2000. She represented Montana on the committee to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the American Legion. Del promoted growth in the American Legion always and received the gold brigade award for recruitment of over 50 members in one year. She was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and Forty and Eight.
Del was proceeded in death by her parents; brother; husband Harold Thomsen; and son Andy. She is survived by sister Nina (Helmut) Hintz; daughter Vicky (John); son Terry and daughter-in-law Moni; as well as seven grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Graveside services will held at the Prairie County Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. A gathering at American Legion 32 in Terry will follow.