Colleen Baron Popelka, 67, Mandan, passed away Aug. 17, 2021, at home surrounded by her three children. A Celebration of Life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27 at Eagles Park Multipurpose Building, 100 14th St NE, Mandan.
Colleen Baron Popelka was born March 8, 1954, to Margaret “Peggy” (Taghon) and Matt Baron in Mandan. She attended grade school at Christ the King and Mandan High School. She earned an Associate Degree in Commercial Art from Bismarck State College in 1974, and in 1990 earned a Master’s in Business Management from the University of Mary. Colleen married Galen Popelka on August 18, 1973, and they had three children Angela, Matthew and Nicholas.
Colleen was a loving mother, sister, daughter and friend. She was a mother in every sense of the word, being there for her sons and daughter, always supportive in their every endeavor. She loved watching them participate in any sport or activity and hardly missed any games or events until the day God took her home.
Colleen was an original employee for the first Mandan newspaper, The Finder, for many years. After that, she owned and operated The Art Shop in Mandan with her mom. She really enjoyed her career in politics, working at the North Dakota Legislature for many years, as a data analyst for Senator Kent Conrad and Senator Byron Dorgan while they were in office, and as the longtime treasurer for North Dakota Democratic-NPL. Colleen always enjoyed gardening and was a Master Gardener through the NDSU Extension Master Gardener program and started some of the first community gardens in Mandan. In retirement, Colleen enjoyed working from home doing embroidery, card making, beading, and making memories with her children doing various arts and crafts projects until the very end.
Colleen kept her house open to anyone that needed a hand, and her backyard as her kids were growing up was often the gathering place for neighborhood kids as well. This open invitation often extended to family outings like camping and outdoor concerts where there was always room to tag along.
Colleen always felt her children were her greatest accomplishment and joy in life, so her foremost concern was for their wellbeing even through illness that took her away all too soon.
All Colleen’s family and friends will dearly miss her. She is survived by her daughter, Angela Popelka, Springfield, VA; sons, Matthew and Nick (Natalie) Popelka, Mandan; mother, Peggy Baron; sisters, Laurie (Bob) and Beth; brothers, Rick and Mike Baron; and many cousins.
Colleen was preceded in death by her husband, Galen Popelka; and her father, Matt Baron.
It was Colleen’s wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of charitable donations to Miles of Love Dog Rescue or Central Dakota Humane Society.