Opal Marie Underbakke

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 3:06 pm

Opal Marie Underbakke passed away quietly in her sleep Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. She was deeply loved and will be missed. A Celebration of Life Service is at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21, at the United Methodist Church in Burr Oak.

Opal Marie Underbakke was born Feb. 26, 1925, on a farm near Burr Oak, to Louie and Violet (Wilbur-Ward) Underbakke. She was baptized and confirmed at the Burr Oak United Methodist Church. Opal attended grade school at Pierce-Underbakke School No. 6 and graduated from Canton High School in 1942. After high school, she attended Upper Iowa University in Fayette, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English/speech education. She went on to pursue her master’s degree at Luther College in Decorah. Opal married Harold (Bud) E. Smith in 1954, and they raised five children. Opal had a passion for learning and shared her knowledge in the educational field for more than 65 years. She taught in both private and public schools and also tutored many individuals. She developed and implemented a large number of drama and speech programs and was always available to help her students. She was a motivational teacher and inspiration for many of her students who demonstrated success in the fields of education, broadcasting, business and politics. Opal had a love for reading, traveling and gardening. In early travels, she explored the United Sates and later travels included Mexico, Europe and the Bahamas. She also won awards for her horticultural design and execution. She was very community-minded and frequently helped with youth and community projects. Opal had a strong religious faith and enjoyed sharing with others. She was very connected to her church communities and had a deep love for them, including Elizabeth Ann Seaton Catholic Church (Palm Coast, Fla.), United Methodist Church (Burr Oak), Cresco Community Chapel (Cresco), Chicago Lakes Baptist Church (Chicago City, Minn.), and Fourth Baptist Church (Minneapolis, Minn.). She was actively involved in church outreach and charitable programs.

Opal is survived by her children: Donny (Marcia) Smith of Blooming Prairie, Minn., Brenda (Bill) Copp of Belton, Mo., Roberta Underbakke of Minneapolis, Minn.; Klee (Bich Ha) Smith of Owatonna, Minn.; and Jennie (Lou) Espada of Palm Coast, Fla.; 12 grandchildren: Jennifer Gilman, Brittany Smith, Meagen (Brooks) Peek, Kristopher (Jerika) Copp, Steffanie (Brian) Kellogg, Mikeal Copp, Mariesa Magnuson (Tony Bock), Cassius Smith, Damien Smith, Quentin Smith, Chase Smith and Shania Espada; eight great-grand-children: Felisha and Grace Gillman, Brooklynn, Reagen, Addisen, and Teghan Peek, Brecken Kellogg and Jett Copp; brother, Dale (Eleanor) Underbakke, sister: Shyrlee (Craig) Hill, brother-in-law, Frank Sever, sister-in-law, Donna Underbakke; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Opal was preceded in death by her parents, Louie and Violet Underbakke; brothers, Maynard and Robert Underbakke; sister, Roberta Sever; brother and sister-in-law, Mary and Kenneth Rose; and former husband, Harold (Bud) Smith.

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