Opal Hester Goodrich age 98 of West Union, Iowa and formerly of Prairie City, passed away on Saturday, January 27, 2018, at Good Samaritan Center in West Union. Funeral services will be held on Friday, February 2, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Prairie City Church of the Brethren. Burial will take place at Clark Cemetery near Luther, Iowa. The family will greet friends following the service with a luncheon at the church. Memorials may be directed to the Prairie City Church of the Brethren or Athletes In Action at the University of Iowa. Condolences may be left for the family at www.coburnfuneralhomes.com
The daughter of Earl and Mary Susan (Buckingham) Brubaker, Opal was born on January 14, 1920, in Prairie City. Opal attended Prairie City schools graduating from high school in 1938. She worked as a telephone operator for a year to make money for college. She attended McPherson College to earn her teaching certificate in 1940 and her first job was teaching all grades at a country school near Prairie City. In 1946, Opal took a teaching job in Luther, Iowa. During that year she met Army 1st Lieutenant, Paul Lester Goodrich who had recently returned from WWII. They were married March 8, 1947, and settled on the Goodrich family farm near Luther. Female teachers weren't allowed to be married back then so she worked with her husband on the farm raising crops, milk cows and chickens and growing beautiful vegetable gardens. A daughter Susan Kay and son James Earl were born. By 1960, they were both in school so Opal began teaching kindergarten at Woodward Elementary. She attended night school at Drake University and graduated with a four year degree in elementary education in 1962. She enjoyed being involved as a member of the Luther United Methodist Church and was always proud of her children's achievements at piano recitals and basketball games. In 1972, Opal took a job at United Community Elementary School where her children attended. During that time, her husband Paul passed away on August 7, 1974 after a nearly 5 year battle with cancer. Opal remained on the farm until she completed 30 years of teaching kindergarten, first and second grades. She retired in 1984. The next year, Opal moved back to her home town of Prairie City where her brothers and cousins lived. She enjoyed being once again active in her family's community and church - Prairie City Church of the Brethren and she enjoyed many years living next door to her double cousin, Ida Mae. Opal's faith in Jesus Christ's saving grace and extending that love to others was very important to her. Those who knew her would say she definitely had a gift of service, jumping in to help anyone in need. She took great joy in being a grandmother to five grandchildren and continued to garden and sew quilts. Opal's last few years were spent under the loving care of her daughter Susan in West Union, Iowa.
Opal is survived by her daughter, Susan Goodrich of West Union, Iowa and son Jim (Laurie) Goodrich of Coralville, Iowa; grandchildren, Sara (Brett) Runde, Dubuque, Iowa, Reina Maley (Friend Ryan), Audubon, Iowa, RaeAnn (Adam) Bird, Houston, Texas, Aaron (Jessica) Goodrich, Grand Forks AFB, ND, and Paul Ramsey (Andrea) Goodrich, Dahuk, Iraq; 13 great grandchildren, Alexis, Caitlin, Scott, Jr., Breeanna, Devin, Collin, Bethany, Elizabeth, Caleb, Lenora, Lydia, Silas and Micha; sisters-in-law, Vivian Brubaker and Jane Brubaker and many nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, brother and their wives, Carl (Helen & Vivian) Brubaker, Price (Berniece) Brubaker, Leo (Norma) Brubaker, Merlin Brubaker, Doyle (Maxine) Brubaker, Marvin (Jean) Brubaker, and sister, Anna and brothers, Everett and Laverne who died in early childhood.
A special thank you to the staff at West Union Good Samaritan Center and Gunderson Palmer Hospice West Union for their dedicated care of Opal in her last days.
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Susan, Jim and the rest of Opal's family,
We are very sorry to hear of her passing and you have our sincere sympathy. Opal was a wonderful neighbor when I was growing up on a farm near Luther. She was may oldest daughter's kindergarten teacher at Woodward. It was great to see her several times at the Iowa Sate Fair which we both enjoyed so much. What a neat lady! You are in our thoughts and prayers. Sandra and Bob Malone and family
Sue, Jim, and Laurie and Families,
I am so sorry for your loss of your Mother, Grandmother, and Great-grandmother. Of course I've known her all my life because she was "Mom's double cousin", but I treasure the time I spent in Iowa living next door to her and really got to know her as the wonderful person she was. I have many memories of Mom, Opal, and their friends-- sitting in the back row at church, going to lunch with "The Lunch Bunch", followed by playing Mexican Train at one of their homes afterwards. One of my favorite memories is the surprise 85th birthday party that Opal and I cooked up for Mom. I stayed all night with her the night before the party to finish the quilt I was making. I couldn't do it next door in case Mom got up and saw it! Another special memory is when Opal was working in Florida as a child disaster care worker after Hurricane Andrew. We had lunch together, and it was terribly hot. Opal told me many years later that I made her a pair of shorts. I didn't remember that part, but she did! May all your special memories of Opal bring you comfort and peace. We can rejoice that she is reunited with all her loved ones that she out lived and is singing with the Angels with Ida Mae now.
With much love,
Opal sounded like an amazing, strong, full-of-life-lady. Sorry for her passing, but rejoicing with you that she is eternally with Jesus now!
Unfortunately I won't be able to join you all as you celebrate the wonderful long and full life of Aunt Opal. I am flooded by many memories of her after learning of her passing Saturday morning. I remember a trip to her classroom at United Communities in Boone. She was so proud of her school and I knew the kindergarten kids HAD to love her! I then remember a trip to the farm and a needed visit to the "outhouse". That was a first for this Des Moines girl. Ha! With all the difficulties in my dad's life, she continued to be "big sister" and she was always, always there for him and us. She was a wonderful woman and will be an inspiration and source of strength to me for the rest of my life! May God Bless Susan and Jim and Laurie and their families as they say goodbye to Aunt Opal. I will so miss being with you and the family on Friday. Sending lots of love and hugs XO Betsy Pokorny
Opal was a wonderful person! We have such great memories of her, especially from the many years she and Mom lived next door to each other. What a blessing Opal was to our family! May God be with her now and may He give you peace during this difficult time! We love you all! Kaye & Doug Roskam
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