Opal Florence Schneider (nee Dorlaque) died September 28 after a long battle with COPD, emphysema, and pulmonary fibrosis.
Opal was born May 7, 1946, the youngest of the six children Antwine and Neoma Irene Dorlaque had together. Opal was preceded in death by both Antwine and Neoma Irene. She was also preceded in death by her brothers Albert, Jack, and William, and her sister, Alice. She is survived by her sister, Hazel, and too many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews to count.
As a teenager, Opal was, to use the words of the day, a “looker.” At sixteen, she caught the eye of David Hanslick and married him. Opal and David had two children, Kimberly (Grasser) and Jeffrey. We don’t know from where they conjured Kimberly, but Opal chose Jeffrey because she was smitten with actor Jeffrey Hunter.
Opal and David were without a doubt too young to be married. They divorced, but remained friendly, especially as they aged and became grandparents and great-grandparents.
In 1969, Opal married James L. Schneider (“Jim” or “Jimmy”). Four years later, they had Melissa Antoinette. Melissa came from the song “Sweet Melissa,” released by the Allman Brothers in 1972. Antoinette came from Opal’s father, Antwine.
Melissa (1973-1989) preceded Opal in death (car accident).
James (1941-1994) also preceded Opal in death (cardiomyopathy).
Even after James died, Opal remained a Schneider through and through. On that side, Opal was preceded in death by her step-son (Eugene), her in-laws (Marguerite and Ralph Leslie), and four brothers-in-law (Danny, Dick, Gene, and Billy). She is survived by three brothers-in-law (Steven, Tim, and Tom), two sisters-in-law (Geralyn and Mary), and too many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews to count.
Presiding over a family of nicknames, Opal was known variously as Bope, Ope, Opie, Opie-Flo, Flo-baby, Flossie, Flossmoor, Mom, Mother, the Opester, Yoplait, and — in the cheekiest times — Alpo, obviously an anagram for Opal.
Opal loved arguing, battling, beards, being hard on servers, bikinis, cigarettes, convertibles, dancing, drama, Dr. Zhivago, fine dining, gritting her teeth, Lara’s Theme, Martyrdom, profanity, reading, ranting and raving, rolling her eyes, short shorts, sobriety (42+ years), soda, stubbornness, the sun, turmoil, and traveling, especially with Mary Jo (“Thelma and Louise,” only without crime and the lam).
Opal hated being told what to do, being underwater, having things decided for her, heights, milk, phonies, posers, small spaces, and, as she aged and maintained her sobriety, arguing, battling, drama, gritting her teeth, Martyrdom, profanity, ranting and raving, rolling her eyes, and turmoil.
Unlike almost all of us, she dramatically changed who she was, creating in her second chapter a woman that was unrecognizable from her first. The chrysalis became a butterfly.
In sobriety, Opal became a devout Christian. In a January, 1995 note found tucked in one of her many Bibles, she penciled the following: “God, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed. I believe in Jesus Christ. I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Make me worthy of You.”
At the end of her earthly days, Opal loved her God, being a mother to her children (Kimberly and Jeffrey), being a mother-in-law to her children’s spouses (Shane to Kimberly and Douglas to Jeffrey), being a grandmother to her grandsons (Joshua, Cody, Travis, and Tyler Grasser, all from Kimberly and her husband, Shane), and being “Grandma Gigi” to her great-grandchildren (Barrett (from Joshua and Megan) and Evelyn and Eleanor (from Cody and Kathleen)).
Opal died peacefully in her home, her children shepherding her, hundreds of family photographs surrounding her, her Bible and rosary by her head, and prayers to her God filling her heart and her walls.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions in Opal's name to the American Heart Association or Mid America Transplant.