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Opal Gardner ’49

July 15, 2018, in Portland.

Opal was born in Winner, South Dakota, and moved with her family to Hermiston, Oregon, where her father worked at the Umatilla Army Depot. The family lived on a small farm and Opal attended Hermiston High School. At the age of 16, she went to work in the Portland shipyards as a welder, where she met her husband, James Gardner. A year later, when she was 17, she married him;  they were married for 67 years. She attended Reed for three semesters shortly after the Second World War, but dropped out to raise a family. When her children were older, she returned to college and completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Portland State College. She taught third grade for 30 years, and, in addition to regular classes, taught her students to crochet and made a class project of raising parakeets.

Opal was involved in educational politics and served on the board of the Oregon Education Association’s People for the Improvement of Education. She was an accomplished tennis player, loved to play bridge, and was active in the Hillsboro Methodist Church and many social organizations. She is survived by her three sons, Mark, Craig, and Rick.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2018

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