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Local morning radio co-host grieving loss of 'Big Momma'

BIG 98.7 radio co-host Amanda Lea, right, pictured with her mother, Barb Wohlwend. Ria Czichotzki of Rialee Photography

FARGO — Bye bye, Big Momma.

Amanda Lea Serrano of "Jesse and Amanda with Pike in the Morning" on Big 98.7 FM is mourning the death of her mother, Barbara Wohlwend, affectionately known as "Big Momma." She lost her battle to terminal ovarian cancer Wednesday morning, Nov. 2.

"She died in my arms," Serrano said Wednesday in a brief phone interview. "Honestly, I have no words at this point."

But instead of saying her mother lost the cancer fight, Serrano said 54-year-old Wohlwend won by continuing to live her life full of love, hope, strength and bravery despite the cancer diagnosis.

"Today my mother gained her angel wings," Serrano wrote on her Facebook page.

Serrano expressed her grief with friends, family and fans in several online posts paying tribute to her mother. Thousands of comments poured in from people sending prayers and condolences to the radio co-host, many sharing stories of losing their mother.

"Cancer, although I hate you with all of my heart, you have brought out the woman in me that my mother always hoped I would be," Serrano shared. "I will never forgive you for taking away the best person I'll ever know and I will never let you take away what made her that woman. You may have taken her life but you will never, ever take away the way she lived it and the love she shared. And that is why you did not win."

Wohlwend, of Henning, Minn., was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in March 2012 and given just a year to live. She continued working and traveling, most notably to New York with Serrano and her radio team in February 2015.

While in New York, Wohlwend and Serrano visited the set of "The View" to meet former TV show host Rosie O'Donnell, who invited the crew to her show. Wohlwend recalled the experience as "a trip of a lifetime" in a Forum interview prior to the Big Apple adventure.

Wohlwend called herself "a survivor" who ditched chemotherapy treatments and decided to "live my life to the fullest, until God takes me home."

Wohlwend's obituary states that she passed away in the comfort of her home.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4, at United Methodist Church in Ottertail, Minn. Visitation will continue from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by the funeral at 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5, at the church. Arrangements by BelmontKarvonen Funeral Home.