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Opal Berthabell McKay
October 10, 1919 – April 19, 2023
Opal Berthabell McKay
Opal Berthabell McKay (1919-2023)

Opal McKay

October 10, 1919 – April 19, 2023

Opal Berthabell McKay died April 19, 2023 at her home in Ceres, living to the wonderfully seasoned age of 103.

She was born October 10, 1919, in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, daughter of Charles “Charley” Edgar Moss, and Nora Evelyn (Lowery) Moss, both of Arkansas. She was sister to five siblings, and half-sister to an additional five siblings.

Opal married James McKay on September 4, 1936, and together they reared five wonderful children. Opal and James moved from Longmont, Colo., to Redondo Beach where James worked in the shipyards building ships for the war. After the war, employment opportunities dwindled, and they moved to Modesto where they lived in a tent while they worked picking peaches. Eventually they moved to Ceres in 1947, where Opal lived for the next 76 years.

Opal was a strong woman of faith and was an active member in her church. She and James were among the founding members of the Church of Nazarene when it was at its original location on the corner of Moffet and Whitmore (years before the first stoplight came to Ceres at that very corner!) She was a Sunday school teacher, senior adult ministry leader, member of the missionary society, facilitated bible study groups, and hosted visiting missionaries and guest speakers at her home.

While being a dedicated mother to her five children, Opal was also a Licensed Vocational Nurse until she retired in 1975. Even after her children had grown and had families of their own, she continued to keep everyone together with many family meals and gatherings at her home. Opal was an amazing cook, and her fried chicken and home-made soups were always a favorite! She would often have grandchildren over for a special treat of a “sleepover.”

Life was not all work, though. Opal and husband James loved to travel, camp and fish. Two of their highlight trips were to Alaska and Hawaii. It’s the only time Opal broke the law – she brought back a vial of black sand from Black Sand Beach in Hawaii! They would often camp and fish with family and friends, visiting both lakes and desert spots. After Opal’s beloved husband James passed in January of 1994, she re-met and later married Pete Cummings, and Opal and Pete often traveled to Washington to fish and visit with his daughter.

Opal was an avid reader, and after the bible, her favorite books were Amish romances. She also loved to play games with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. During the last four or fove years, one of her favorite games was dominoes (you had to watch her to make sure she didn’t play out-of-turn! When you caught her, she would say, “ohhhhh, I did?”)

She is survived by her five children, Richard McKay and his wife, Isabell, daughters Arlene and Darlene, son Jim and his wife Mary, and son Don and his wife, Charrel; 20 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren, 54 great-great grandchildren, and one great-great-great grandchild.

Opal was predeceased by her husbands, James and Pete, her parents, five siblings and five half-siblings, two sons-in-law, and one daughter-in-law.

Opal’s services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 4 at the Ceres Valley View Church of the Nazarene, 3901 E. Whitmore Avenue, Ceres. Following the service, all are invited to join us at the Ceres Memorial Cemetery for burial, followed immediately by luncheon back at the Nazarene Church.