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Opal Etta Sunderlin
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 • Posted November 15, 2013

Opal Etta Sunderlin, 98, of Fredericksburg passed away on November 4, 2013. She was born September 30, 1915, in Olustee, Oklahoma, to Byron Alexander and Cyntha Triplett Alexander.

Opal was preceded in death by her parents and her husband of 50 years, Russell Sunderlin, as well as seven siblings, four brothers and three sisters. She is survived by two sons, Guy Sunderlin of Blanco, Texas and wife Judith, and Walter Sunderlin and wife Marilyn of Orlando, Florida. Opal is also survived by three grandchildren, Rebecca Riggins, Celine Gasco, and Russell Sunderlin, as well as her great-granddaughter Sarah Riggins and numerous nephews and nieces, and great-nephews and nieces.

Opal spent most of her formative years in Southern California in the Los Angeles area. She met her husband Russell at Compton Junior College in Compton, California and they went on to attend the University of California at Berkeley, where Opal received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chemistry in 1937. She subsequently worked in the Shell Laboratories in Southern California during World War II. Very few women entered the physical sciences field during this period.

Opal traveled widely with her husband and was an outdoor person. She backpacked and fished for trout throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, sailed the Pacific, Caribbean, and even the Greek Isles with her husband on small vessels without a professional crew, and toured Europe. She also learned to play golf late in life. Opal came to Blanco with her husband to retire in 1977 after living ten years on St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. For a number of years she drove alone from Blanco up into the mountains of Northeastern New Mexico every summer to spend time in the cabin that she and Russell bought shortly before his death in 1987.

Services were held to celebrate Opal’s life, at 10:00 AM on Friday, November 8, 2013 at Crofts – Crow Funeral Home in Blanco.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hill Country Memorial Hospice, 808 Reuben St. Fredericksburg, Texas 78624.

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