OBITUARY: Opal Ripley

Harvey County Now

Opal Ripley was born near Beemer, Neb., to Albert and Katie Nitzsche. She passed away at the age of 97 on June 8, 2022, at the Schowalter Villa, Hesston.

She moved to North Dakota with her parents and two siblings in 1929, where their newly rented house and all of their possessions burned to the ground the first night while they stayed with neighbors. They stayed, rebuilt and made North Dakota their home. Opal was baptized there around 1938.

Opal attended Hesston Academy and College from 1940 to 1944 and taught there until 1947. She then continued her studies at Goshen College. She worked in the medical records field at several hospitals during the years.

She was a gentle soul, with a quiet sense of humor. Always reading, she kept up with world affairs and current works of fiction. She was compassionate to those on the fringes of society. She was an excellent cook and enjoyed exploring new cuisines. As an example to all her nephews and nieces, she flew each one to Philadelphia the year of their high school graduation to stay and explore with her the City of Brotherly Love. For some, it was their first airplane ride; for some, it was their first visit to a big city. She enjoyed living in Philadelphia.

She married Vernon Ripley in 1984 in Philadelphia, after her retirement. He died in 1996. Opal, in 2004, moved to Schowalter Villa in Hesston. She joined Hesston Mennonite Church soon after.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon; her parents, Albert and Katie; and her younger brothers and sisters, Dale Nitzsche, Lois Selzer, Willard Nitzsche and Mae Mumaw.

She is survived by 15 nephews and nieces and numerous great- and great-great nephews and nieces.

She will be missed but not forgotten.

Contributions can be made to the Good Samaritan Fund at Schowalter Villa in care of Miller-Ott Funeral Home, P.O. Box 32, Hesston, KS, 67062.

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