Opal McKee Shaw Wendt
October 28, 1912 - January 11, 2007
Birthplace: Elliott, Iowa
Resided In: Blair, NE formerly Red Oak

Visitation 1/15/2007
Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel
Service 1/16/2007
Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel
Burial 1/16/2007
Emerson Cemetery

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Opal E. (McKee) Shaw Wendt passed away this last Thursday, January 11th, at the age of 94. Opal was well known in the Emerson and Red Oak communities, having sold Des Moines Register subscriptions to farm families in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, and later selling life insurance for Equitable of Iowa.

Opal was the daughter of Samuel (S.S.) and Julia McKee. She was born in 1912 near Elliott, Iowa. At Coburg High School, Opal played basketball and graduated. She married Dwight Shaw, after meeting at an Emerson ice cream social. She was a 22 year old bride. Opal and Dwight farmed southwest of Emerson. Five children helped on the farm: Dan, Mary Ellen, Stanley, Arlyne, and Grant. Opal and Dwight moved to Red Oak after the children were grown.

Opal married Bill Wendt, of Wisconsin, in the mid 70’s. There, she became quite expert at refinishing antique furniture for her family. Opal was very independent. Well into her 70’s, she was making 500 mile drives back to Omaha.

Bill died in 1990, and Opal moved back to the Red Oak area. Brothers Jim, Joe and “Pat” McKee had already passed, but sister Mildred Parker and brother’s Sam “Junior” and Vernon McKee and his wife Lola, now all passed, still resided in the area. Other family members still surviving are sister Lola Adkins of Des Moines, and from the Red Oak area, sisters-in-law Mildred McKee, Audrey Vance (McKee) and Grace McKee, and brother-in-law “Bud” Parker. Special cousin Warren Braden, and his wife Mary, are also important members of this family, as is Audrey’s husband Claire Vance. It was a tight-knit group, that met often for birthdays and holidays.

Although Opal enjoyed cooking and horticulture, she didn’t have the usual hobbies. She once told her son, “I like to see things getting accomplished.” She liked to be involved in projects the kids had going on. Opal also enjoyed meeting new people, making friendships easily.

In 1996, Opal made the tough decision to move to Omaha, to be closer to her children and their families. There are 11 grandchildren, 2 step-grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 1 step-grandson. Over the past four years she has resided at the Crowell Memorial Home in Blair, Nebraska. Opal is survived by all of her 5 children: Dan and Carolyn in New Hampton, Iowa; Mary Ellen and Ron in Mobile, Alabama; Stanley and Laura in Blair, Nebraska; Arlyne in Omaha; Grant and Kim in Omaha.

Funeral services will be held 11 AM Tuesday, January 16th at the Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel. Burial will be in the Emerson, Iowa Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be held from 6-7:30 PM Monday, January 15th at the Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel. Memorials are suggested to the Crowell Memorial Home in Blair, Nebraska.

Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.


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Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel, Inc.
410 Sixth Street
Red Oak, Iowa 51566
Phone: (712) 623-2525 or
(800) 653-4881