Cover photo for Opal Shipman's Obituary
Opal Shipman Profile Photo

Opal Shipman

d. September 3, 2014

Opal Shipman, 99, formerly of Dakota City, passed away September 3, 2014 at the Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, Iowa. Chapel services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, September 20, 2014 in the chapel at North Lawn Cemetery in Fort Dodge. The Mason-Lindhart Funeral Home of Humboldt is handling arrangements.

Opal Jeanette Townswick was born July 29, 1915 on a farm near Rake, Iowa, the daughter of Samuel and Dania (Espe) Townswick. She was baptized at Lincoln Menighet, a Norwegian Lutheran church near Elmore, Minnesota, and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hardy, Iowa. Opal attended the first 10 grades of school in Hardy, Iowa and completed high school in Winnebago, Minnesota, graduating in 1933. During her high school years, Opal was known as an excellent declamation student and performer who participated in local contests. Her teachers recognized her as a bright student, and they encouraged her to go on for more education. This was not possible at the time, but Opal felt honored and valued education throughout her life.

For a few years after graduation, Opal worked as a domestic helper in several private homes. It was this experience that continued to hone her skills as a seamstress, cook, and homemaker.

Opal married William “Bill” Cathcart on March 6, 1936, and moved to California where Bill worked on a dairy farm near Bakersfield until 1938 when they returned to Iowa. They farmed near Bode, Iowa, until Bill died in 1955.
After Bill died, Opal decided to pursue an education. She completed a bookkeeping and office management course at Tobin Business College in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She went on to become a valued bookkeeper at Kallin-Johnson from 1958 until 1961.

On June 17, 1961, Opal married Dennis Shipman. Once again she moved to California, this time to Los Angeles, where she and Dennis lived until he retired from Union Pacific Railroad in 1976. After Dennis retired, they returned to Iowa to live in Dakota City. Dennis died in June of 1980. Opal continued to live in Dakota City until she moved to Decorah to live in the Arlin Falck assisted living facility and finally at the Barthell OES Home where she resided at the time of her death. Many times during her residency at Barthell OES Home, she expressed gratitude for the wonderful caregiving, nursing, and administrative staff at the home.

In her younger years, Opal enjoyed dancing, bowling, gardening, reading, sewing, and craft projects. For those who knew her in her later years, Opal will be remembered for her unusually sharp memory and clarity of thought, up to and including the day of her death, and for this blessing her family members are most grateful. Her nieces and nephews are especially thankful to have had the opportunity to gather around Opal and listen to her stories of growing up during the Great Depression and other historical events. Opal paid great attention to detail and had a wonderful storytelling style, perhaps dating back to her declamation days.

Opal was preceded in death by her two husbands; her parents; two sisters, and two brothers (one in infancy). She is survived by her step daughter, Sandra Knox of Fallbrook, Calif.; a brother, Stanley C. Townswick of Decorah; nieces, Carolyn (Vernon “Bud”) Goodwin of Sioux City, Jane Townswick of Decorah, Ann Townswick of Minneapolis, MN, and Mary Townswick of Brasilia, Brazil; and nephews, Gary Townswick of Omaha, NE, Joel (Shelly) Shipman of Greentop, MO, Sam (Mette Hammer) Townswick of Decorah, and Andrew Townswick of Decorah. She is also survived by several grandnieces and grandnephews. Other survivors include two special cousins, Shirley (Les) Carson of Sioux Falls, SD, and Margaret Ann Peter of Story City, Iowa.
And now, Opal rests with her Lord and Savior, Jesus.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Opal Shipman, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 6

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree