Sara Barstad

Sara G. Barstad, 103, of Ray, died at the Tioga Long Term Care Center Friday evening, Feb. 22, 2013. A Rosary service will be held Friday, March 1, at 5 p.m. and her remains will be in repose at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Ray beginning at 4 p.m. Her Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, March 2, at 11 a.m., in St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Ray, with Father Bennie officiating. Interment will be in Highland Cemetery at Ray in the spring. Friends may share memories and condolences with the family at (

Sara G. Barstad was born Jan. 22, 1910, to Joseph and Rose (Kiffmeyer) Daniel in Padua, Minn. Her family moved to Ray in 1912 and farmed northwest of Ray. Sara attended grade school at rural Lough School, her freshman year of high school at St. Agnes Academy in Kenmare, and then transferred to and graduated from Ray High School in May 1929. In the fall of 1929 she attended Dakota Business College in Fargo and graduated in May 1930 with a secretarial degree. While attending college in Fargo she was a member of a women’s intramural basketball team. She was proud of the fact that three of the four women on this team were from Ray and they were undefeated.

After graduating from college she moved to Williston and worked for the Williams County Extension agent for two years.

Sara married Almer Barstad on June 30, 1932, and moved to Hufflund, Township. Their daughter, Marlene (Barstad) Binde, was born there on May 26, 1933.

In 1934 they moved to Fort Peck, Mont., where Almer helped build the Fort Peck Dam. There were many men from Ray working on the dam. Sara was the only woman there, and so she cooked and washed clothes for all of them. Their son, Arvid Barstad, was born at McCone City, Mont., on June 5, 1935, and their daughter, Donna (Barstad) Schwartz, was born the following year on July 11, 1936.

In 1941 they moved to Bremerton, Wash., where Almer worked at the shipyards and Sara worked as a cook at the grade school. They moved back to Ray in 1944 and eventually moved to southern Mountrail County, where they owned and operated a farm and ranch. Sara opened a bakery during the oil boom in the late 1950s, and would work from 4 a.m. until 6 p.m. They retired from farming in 1968 and moved to Fargo. Almer died on July 16, 1977, and she moved back to Ray the following year.

Sara enjoyed dancing, especially square dancing. They belonged to several square dance clubs and traveled extensively to national and international conventions. She would often say that if she had to choose between food or dancing, she would choose dancing. Her last dance was in celebration of her 100th birthday in January 2010.

She loved to travel, and visited 49 states, with Alaska being the only state she had not seen. She was a professional cake decorator and loved making cakes for family and friends for special occasions, especially her grandchildren’s weddings. She also enjoyed gardening, caring for her prize roses, and crossword puzzles.

Sara loved spending time with family and friends. She was a wealth of information and loved telling her grandchildren and great grandchildren stories of the “good old days.” She was a hard worker and always willing to do any job to help make ends meet, from plowing behind six horses to milking cows, driving truck and tractor, fencing, making and hauling hay or straw bales, gardening, canning, sewing, baking, secretarial work, and homemaker. You name it, she did it!

She was a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church and Altar Society, Nativity Catholic Church and Altar Society, local and International Square Dance Clubs, and the Ray Study Club.

Sara is survived by: her daughter and son-in-law, Donna and George Schwartz, of Sarasota, Fla.; daughter-in-law, Ione Barstad, of Williston; and 12 grandchildren, Duane Binde, David Binde, Cherlyn (Binde) Biwer, Mark Barstad, Leann Binde, Tammy (Schwartz) Babitzke, Randy Schwartz, Michelle Barstad, Janice (Binde) Cushing, Terryl (Schwartz) Heinlein, Rhonda (Barstad) Larmer, and Michael Schwartz; a brother, Francis Daniel, of St. Paul, Minn.; 24 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

Sara was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Rose Daniel; husband, Almer Barstad; daughter and son-in-law, Marlene and Harley Binde; son, Arvid Barstad; grandson, Ronald Barstad; four brothers, Cecil Daniel, Art Daniel, Roman Daniel, and Edmund Daniel; and two sisters, Martha Daniel and Dorothy Mae Baker.

Friends may call at the Fulkerson Funeral Home in Williston on Thursday, Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Friday, March 1, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.