Opal Wilkinson

Opal Marie (Carter) Wilkinson, age 92, died on April 20, 2022. She was a graduate of McFarland High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from La Verne College. Opal found the love of her life, Paul Wilkinson, at La Verne College, and they were married in 1953. Together they had three children and lived nearly all their 68 years of married life in La Verne. Opal was both a homemaker and a classroom teacher, specializing in lower elementary grades at schools in Shafter, San Dimas, La Verne, and Pomona.

In addition to teaching and raising her family, Opal enjoyed gardening, flower arranging, sewing, knitting, singing with the Choral Belles, camping, and traveling. After retirement, she became an avid quilter and made many blankets and wall-hangings, winning several prizes at the Los Angeles County Fair for her handiwork. Opal loved serving others. Always drawn to children, she led Brownie and Girl Scout troops, read stories to Head Start preschoolers, served as the nurse at Camp La Verne, and helped with disaster relief childcare. Together with Paul, she enjoyed welcoming new residents at Hillcrest Retirement Community, coordinating neighborhood social events, and visiting residents at Woods Health Services. A member of the La Verne Church of the Brethren for more than 65 years, Opal sang and traveled with the choir, mentored youth who were planning to join the church, and beautified the building with her floral arrangements. She had an impressive collection of nativity scenes from around the world that exceeded 500 sets—a tangible expression of her faith. Her warm, friendly manner was evident in the way she befriended and cared for people both locally and internationally. She will be missed by many.

Opal is survived her daughters Jill Wilhelm and Janay Packard, both of Bakersfield, CA, and her son Jay Wilkinson of Pittsburgh, PA, along with seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren, in addition to nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends. Opal was preceded in death by her husband Paul, her parents H. Frank and Catherine Carter, and her brothers Wayne and Warren Carter. A celebration of Opal’s life will be held at the La Verne Church of the Brethren on Sat., June 11 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in Opal’s memory to Camp La Verne, the La Verne Church of the Brethren, or the University of La Verne.

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