Santa Paula Times

Opal Felkins Hester, Class of 1941

October 28, 2005
Santa Paula High School
By B. J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni Association Born in Santa Paula to Dewey and Sally Murley Felkins, Opal was an only child. She attended McKevett and Isbell Grammar Schools, and was raised on a citrus ranch east of Santa Paula.While at SPUHS Opal took a college prep course, but preferred her commercial courses, fondly remembering teachers Gladys Gilbert and Randall Bryden, James Tomblin and Agnes Cook. She was a member of the Order of Gregg Artists, and served her school as the copy editor on El Solano. She was also a member of Tri-Y.Opal’s special friends at SPUHS were Rosemary Kersey (‘40), Faith Mary Pearson (‘43), Helen Spain (‘43) and Catherine Richardson (‘41). Opal kept in touch with these girls over the years until they died. Catherine is the only one of her close high school friends still living. However, Opal and her husband Roy are seen at all the alumni banquets, visiting with their many old friends.Following graduation, Opal went to Ventura Junior College for a year, and then went to work at Rancho Sespe in the office. She later worked for C. W. Wright, an accountant, and also at the Ventura County Tax Collector’s Office.In 1945, Opal met Roy Hester, who had come home on leave from the Air Force. They fell in love, and Opal joined Roy at the Air Force Base in Frederic, Oklahoma, where they were married in the chapel, a marriage that has lasted over 60 years. When Roy was discharged, the couple returned to Santa Paula where Roy worked as a wholesale dairy salesman and Opal raised their two daughters, Nancy and Linda.Opal and Roy love to hike, and took many hiking trips around the western states. Opal prides herself on climbing Mt. Whitney in a day and a half (and doing it in “flip flops”). They hiked all the trails in Yosemite except Half Dome, and also hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
After Roy retired, Opal and Roy took jobs “motel sitting.” They managed Motel 6s, Vagabonds and others in Texas and in the California cities of Glendale, Carpinteria, Whittier and Hacienda Heights for over 12 years. They also traveled several times to Alaska and Hawaii. In 1993, Opal traveled to Israel with her daughter Nancy.Opal’s hobby is photography, and she is quite a good amateur photographer. She is most generous with her pictures, and is always sending people photos she has taken of them.Opal’s and Roy’s daughters, Linda now gone, have presented them with seven grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. The doting grandparents enjoy them, especially the new twin great-greats.