Opal D. Jones


Opal D. Jones departed this world from her home in Mayfield on Aug. 8, 2022, at the age of 89, to go to her eternal heavenly home with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Lawrence and Gladys Clark; her beloved husband, Wayne Gregory Jones; and two grandchildren, Shannon Danae Bracken and Jacob Wayne Jones. Opie is survived by her four siblings and five children: sister Lorene (Byron) Moore of Springfield, Mo., brother Larry Clark of Wellington, sister Roxy Callison of Winfield, and brother Dan (Barbara) Clark of Mayfield; daughter Linda Parslow of Belle Plaine, son Greg (Linda) Jones of Mayfield, daughter Jill (George) Bracken of Garland, Texas, son Glen (Rhonda) Jones of Wichita, and daughter Julie Drake of Mayfield. Opie also is survived by 25 grandchildren and spouses, 23 great-grandchildren and spouses, and four great-great grandchildren.
Opal D. was the second of five children born to Lawrence LaClede Clark and Gladys M. (Spengler) Clark. She was born Feb. 27, 1933, in Wichita during the Great Depression. Her family lived on farms near Derby and Belle Plaine. In order to have the opportunity to go to kindergarten one semester, Opal D. stayed in Wichita with her maternal grandparents and aunt. She missed the farm back home, and on her walk home from kindergarten she often stopped to talk to an old man who had a cow. She attended the Church of the Brethren in Wichita with her parents and grandparents, and it was there at the young age of 5 that she heard the story of Jesus and asked Him to be her Savior.
Opal D. was a daddy’s girl and, starting at a very young age, she followed him around outside on the farm. When she was young, her dad farmed with a team of horses near Belle Plaine. Opal D. started school a year early and walked to Kirby School (a little one-room country school southeast of Belle Plaine) with her older sister, Lorene. In 1940, Opal D.’s family moved to a farm near Mayfield, where she and her sister walked to Longbranch School, another one-room country school. She enjoyed riding horses with her best friend Wanda Miller.
“Opie” was “Dad’s boy on the farm.” When “our boys” were gone to World War II, it was hard to hire help on the farm, so Opie’s dad taught her to drive a pickup load of wheat to the elevator when she was only 12 years old. After a few days of driving lessons when he knew she could do it alone, she was scared but he gave her confidence saying, “You can do it! Just keep it between the ditches!” She also plowed with a tractor, cared for livestock, milked a cow, and sometimes helped pluck chickens for dinner. All her life, she still loved the farm.
She was active in Redwing 4-H Club and learned to make the best bread you ever ate. Opal D. and her friend Ann Jackson were the last eighth grade class to graduate from Longbranch. Opie and her older sister Lorene boarded in homes in Wellington in order to go to high school because they had no car, and roads were not good paved roads like they are now. Opal D. graduated from Wellington High School in 1950 at the age of 17.
Opal D. attended Mayfield Federated Church with her family. She met her future husband, Wayne Jones, at church. Wayne was from Arkansas but had come to Kansas to work on a farm near Mayfield. Later, Wayne did some farm work for Opie’s dad. One day while working on the tractor, the Lord told Wayne he should marry that girl. Opal D. told of a similar experience, feeling that the Lord told her to marry Wayne. They were engaged in early 1950 and they eloped later the same year and were married 58 years before Wayne’s death. You never knew a couple that loved each other more than Wayne and Opie.
They had five children in their first seven years. They lived in Wellington the first few years and later moved to a house in the country, then they moved southwest of Mayfield in 1955, and later they bought a little farm east of Mayfield where they moved in 1965.
After their kids were all in school, Opal D. went back to finish college at Southwestern in Winfield. She graduated in 1968 at the age of 35 and began teaching in elementary schools at Argonia and Conway Springs. Later, she went to WSU to get a Master of Education, Educational Psychology degree in 1976. She was hired by Sedgwick County to teach special ed at Conway Springs and Clearwater schools, including high school, but mostly younger kids. When she retired, the Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative recognized her in appreciation for 16 years of excellence and dedication to the education of the students of the cooperative.
She had a special love for kids. Most of her special ed students were above-average intelligence but had a learning disability, so Mrs. Jones devoted a lot of her time making different lesson plans for each child to help them overcome their particular learning disability. She would pray about the lesson plans she made for each individual kid. Later she told her daughter, “The Lord helped me be the teacher that I was.”
After retiring in 1991, Mrs. Jones started Discovery Program for children in Mayfield at her church. She was the director and song leader as well as teacher for one of the classes. She also spent many hours adapting materials for each grade level.
After her husband Wayne passed away, Opal D. enjoyed going to spend the night with her oldest daughter in Belle Plaine so they could have lots of time to talk. Even after she was no longer able to drive, her youngest brother and his wife took her to Linda’s house for weekly visits. Opal D. still enjoyed singing old hymns and praying with Linda, and those are precious memories. The night she went to be with the Lord, her son Glen sat by his mother’s bedside and read lots of Scripture to her. Reading her Bible was so important to her.
Opal D. loved the 23rd Psalm. It was the first Scripture she memorized when she was 5 years old, and it remained meaningful to her to the end of her life. She wanted to encourage everyone to “read your Bible and believe what it says.”
Visitation will be at Frank Funeral Home, 417 N. Washington in Wellington, on Friday, Aug. 26, from 1 to 7 p.m., with the family present 5-6 p.m.
The funeral will be at Mayfield Federated Church on Garfield Ave. in Mayfield on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 10 a.m., followed by burial at Osborn Cemetery at Mayfield.
Memorial contributions may be given to Mayfield Federated Church for children’s ministries.