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Post Retirement

After retirement in 1982, Opal became involved in community projects that permitted her to continue the “missionary spirit” that guides her life.  She was active in the Adelphi Christian Church in Maryland, serving on many committees, and providing leadership as a deacon and later as an elder, before moving to Florida. 

When she moved to The Villages and started looking for a church, she met Bill and Jeannie Twadell. They were planning to build a church in the community, so Opal joined the effort.  The initial team involved a team of 26 founding members.  A planning committee was also formed to plan, finance, and build Fairway Christian Church.  Opal once again found herself as the only woman on this committee.  Since this was nothing new to her, and she and her new team moved forward. 

One of Opals later contributions to the church utilized her expertise in working with the local media.  She wanted to make sure the people of the community knew about the church and its outreach.  She developed good relationships with newspaper and media outlets, making friends with reporters and managers.  She was a reliable and good writer, so each week there was a newsworthy story for each paper to print.  She also trained other church members to write articles and work with the media.  She was so successful that other local churches came to her to discover her secret.  She told them it was really quite simple, honor partners, become friends with the reporters and editors by getting to know them well, listening to what they need to sell papers or stories, then being accountable and reliable hitting deadlines with interesting stories and photographs.  This is just one of numerous examples of Opal’s drive, commitment, respect for all concerned, and real life proactive of democratic collaboration to serve the public good.