Opal Keith

10/15/1922 –

 09/18/2021

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  • Funeral Service
Date: 09/25/2021
Time: 11:00 am
 – 12:00 pm
Second Baptist Church

6109 Chicago Ave, Lubbock, TX 79424

6109 Chicago Ave, Lubbock, TX 79424

Obituary

Opal truly lived life to its fullest. The second child of Dewey and Flora Seay, Opal was born in Tulia, Texas, and with her two sisters, Anita (Bass) and Betty (Price), she grew up as an active member of the family’s farming and ranching lifestyle, gaining values and skills she used the rest of her life. She saw the first barnstormers bring airplanes through West Texas and used produce from the family’s garden to help those passing through during the Great Depression. Willing to jump in a truck and drive to town well before she was of legal age to do so, Opal was known to be adventurous and to make her own rules. While it was a surprise to her father, Opal had the family’s support as she joined the US Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services (WAVES) during World War II, becoming one of the first women in US history to serve in the military. Between 1943 and 1946, she was stationed primarily in Cleveland, Ohio, overseeing the personnel files of all sailors missing in action. She was deeply impacted by her time in Cleveland and the repatriation of sailors from POW camps after the war. She returned to Texas and spent most of the rest of her life living in Lubbock. Always one to blaze her own trail, Opal went to work for Furr’s Supermarkets in the corporate office, where she rose to become a senior buyer for the chain’s many stores throughout the Southwest. Initially the only woman in such a role, Opal was well acquainted with “Cowboy Words” but always found colorful language of her own to express her sentiments. Statements such as, “Like a fish in a pickle dish,” for something that wasn’t right have stuck with many who came to know her. Over the last five decades, she produced thousands of stained-glass art pieces in traditional patterns as well as designs all her own. The light that will continue to shine through these windows serves as a physical reminder of her vibrant personality. In 1993 she married Bill Keith, whom she loved deeply and with whom she shared a wonderful but brief few years until his passing in 1998. Opal was a charter member of Second Baptist Church in Lubbock, having attended the very first Sunday service in 1958. Her wisdom has been imparted to generations, and her guidance as the family’s matriarch will be sorely missed.

Opal is survived by her daughter, Carol Levenson; and son-in-law, Norman Shulman; grandson, Greg (Arellana) Levenson; great-grandchildren, Abby and Sam Levenson; stepchildren, Mike (Pam) Keith and Becky Keith Richards; nephews, Byrnie (Sharon) Bass, David (Margery) Bass, Mark (Betsy) Bass, Byron (Jeannie) Price, Troy (Connie) Price, and more than a dozen grand and great-nephews and nieces in whose lives she took an active role.

Services will be held at Second Baptist Church on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at 11 AM, with Opal’s grand-nephew Ryon Price co-officiating. Those attending are asked to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. We invite you to view the live-streamed service on this page, sign her virtual guestbook, and download her memorial keepsake folder to your device for printing. The services will also be live-streamed at www.secondb.org.

Memorials

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Second Baptist Church (6109 Chicago, Lubbock, TX 79424), the American Cancer Society, or LEPAA/The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences (1500 Broadway Suite 902, Lubbock, TX 79401, melissa@lepaa.org).

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