Opal Marie Webb, formerly of Mount Ayr, Iowa, passed away on June 8, 2011 in Loveland, Colorado. Opal was born to Joshua and Merzetta (Fender) Hillebran in Sharpsburg, Iowa on February 23, 1923. She grew up in the Beaconsfield/Tingley, Iowa vicinity and graduated from Tingley high school in 1940. After high school she took a position with the U.S. Postal Service until World War II broke out, at which time she went to work for the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply.
On May 17, 1946 she was united in marriage to Harold Richard Webb and raised their children, Diana and Phillip, in Mount Ayr. She worked for over 25 years as the secretary to the superintendent of schools for the Mount Ayr Community school system. She was a loyal member of the Mount Ayr United Methodist Church and served her church in several capacities over the years until her move to Colorado.
Preceding her in death were her parents; an infant brother, Ivan; her husband of 42 years, Harold, and her son-in-law, Joseph Clem. Those who remain to cherish her memory are her daughter, Diana Clem of Loveland, Colorado; her son, Phillip Webb and wife, Tamela, of Omaha, Nebraska; her sisters, Marjorie Werner of Tingley, Iowa and Pauline Murphy of Mount Ayr, Iowa; four grandchildren; three stepgrandchildren; three great-grandchildren; five stepgreat-grandchildren, and a host of relatives and friends.
She lived her life much as her parents before her — in service to her God and in a faithful adherence to the teachings of her church. In the years they were privileged to be with her, none of them can recall a word spoken in anger or a phrase uttered that wouldn’t meet the strictest standards for decency. Modest in demeanor, unselfish and soft spoken, she was most comfortable in her role of nurturer, companion and friend. Throughout her life she never uttered a complaint — even when the ravages of Parkinson’s disease robbed her of her mobility and toward the end, of her ability to communicate. Despite her later struggles she maintained a genuine interest in the well-being of others. Those traits made her one of the most beloved people to those who knew her.
She enjoyed the gift of music — early in her life with her parents and sisters in a family band and later with her sisters and others in what she referred to as her kitchen band. Stories abound of the performances on radio and appearances before various audiences. She was a loyal fan of the Chicago Cubs and spent many hours watching games. It was not uncommon to hear the play-by-play in the background when calling her to check in and chat.
When her ability to live independently was compromised, she was blessed to be watched over by her loving sister, Marjorie. During the years she looked after her, Marjorie chauffeured her to everything from doctor appointments to the congregate meal site in Tingley. In a fashion typical of the way they were raised, Marjorie put her sister’s well-being before hers in a display of love and generosity that few can imagine. Her sister, Pauline, later moved to Mount Ayr to be near and to take part in her care.
That same unselfish trait was carried on by her daughter, Diana, when Opal was moved to Loveland, Colorado to be near her as her needs for care became more acute. During the four years she lived at Sterling House, she was attended not only by her ever-present daughter but also by a staff of compassionate caregivers who came to love her as others have who were blessed to have known her. Her final days were skillfully watched over by Pathways Hospice of Northern Colorado. Her daughter, son and granddaughter, Jennifer Mell, were present at her passing. Memorials in her name can be made in care of the United Methodist Church, 303 W. Madison Street, Mount Ayr, Iowa 50854. Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr was in charge of the arrangements.
Services were conducted at the United Methodist Church in Mount Ayr Monday, June 13, 2011, with Rev. Skip Rushing officiating. Musicians were Deb Cannon and Dr. Collus Lawhead.
Casket bearers were Jerod Raisch, James Clem, Bill Mell, Joseph Clem, Tedde Blunk and Jim Werner.
Opal was laid at rest in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr.