Obituary: Opal Lee Dole

Opal was born in Newberry Gap, Tenn., on Nov. 28, 1914, to Blanche and Thomas Drinnen. She spent her first 13 years there in a house that straddled the Tennessee and Virginia state line with her nine siblings.

Her mother died when she was 13 and her father moved the family to Colorado Springs with all their belongings in an old Pierce Arrow. The baby girl that was born shortly before her mother died of consumption died along the way. Her father spent much of the next four years in the Woodmen’s TB Sanitarium before his death.
Opal met John Dole at a dance in Monument and married him when she was 19. They lived at Fountain Valley School until 1951. Both Tim and Marka were born in Colorado Springs. They moved to Marvine Ranch at that time to work for Robert and Bernice Barbour. Their son Thomas was born in Meeker.
Opal spent her lifetime doing things for everyone else. She loved children and animals and they dearly loved her back. Both she and John enjoyed cooking and no one ever turned down one of their meals. The summers were spent caring for the Barbours and their huge and many flower gardens and cooking for hired help.
Winters became more pleasant when snowmobiles became popular and Opal even won the Snow Bunny Race at Sleepy Cat the first year it was held. She was one of the founding members of the Rainbow Valley Club.
When they retired, they moved to Meeker to the newly opened Fairfield, but did not stay there long. They spent their winters in Hawaii and returned to work on the ranch for their son, Tim, in the summers.
Later, they bought a house with Tim near Vernal and spent the summers there, but finally sold that and moved permanently to Hawaii with shorter visits back in the summers.
Opal loved to swim in the ocean, enjoying the warm air, flowers and she was still cooking. They spent 25 years of retirement going back and forth to Hawaii and both always said they had the best of two worlds.
John died in 2004, one week shy of their 70th wedding anniversary and Opal moved back to be closer to Marka. She had lived in Brighton Gardens of Lakewood for almost four years and had the care and love of many young caretakers. An excellent seamstress, she also enjoyed needlepoint, crafts and watercolor painting during her last years at Brighton Gardens.
She leaves behind three chlidren: Tim (Lucy), Marka (Walter), and Thomas (Arlene); five grandchildren: Sandy, Tammy, Suzan, John and Steven; four great-grandchildren: Katie, Kaci, Wyatt and Tayliauna. A sweet and gentle woman, Opal left this world like a soft whisper at the age of 94.