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Opal Allen Schimmel

1923 ~ 2021 (age 98)

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Opal Allen Schimmel passed away peacefully on December 1, 2021 in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she had lived with her daughter Carolyn and son-in-law Ernest Renteria for ten years. 

A public visitation for Opal was held at 9 a.m., Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at First Baptist Church in Lordsburg, N.M. Funeral services started at 10 a.m. Interment was at Mountain View Cemetery immediately following the service.

Pallbearers will be Ernest Renteria, Bill Habeger, Bob Sokolnicki, John Renteria, Matthew Habeger, Richard Sokolnicki

Opal celebrated her 98th birthday two weeks prior to her passing. Opal was born to Clarence and Drucilla Downing on November 14, 1923 in Lordsburg, New Mexico. She attended all years of schooling in Lordsburg and worked part time at the Palace Theatre for Valeria Allen.  A great family relationship was established and she began dating Richard (Dick) Allen. They married in Lordsburg in 1944, and soon moved to Hatch, New Mexico to operate the local theatre. Upon returning to Lordsburg, they took over the operation of the Coronado Theatre and Drive-in Theatre for several years.

Dick and Opal had three daughters: Carolyn, Marjorie, and Alice.  Opal was actively involved and supportive of her daughter’s school events.  She made many majorette costumes for the girls over the years.  She also was an excellent seamstress, making dresses for Sunshine Girls, proms and school.  She learned to sew from her mother-in-law Valeria Allen.  Opal was a lifetime member of Beta Sigma Phi, always willing to host meetings and volunteer whenever needed.  She worked many hours at the Coronado Theatre and enjoyed seeing the movies as well as greeting and visiting with friends entering the theater.

Opal was heartbroken when her husband Dick Allen was diagnosed with cancer and died seven months later in 1980. She kept the Coronado operating for some time until an offer to purchase the theatre was agreed upon.

Opal carried herself with dignity and began volunteering at the Lordsburg Liberal office. Dick and Opal’s good friend, John Schimmel, worked at the Liberal and helped her learn the business.  She really enjoyed that job and made many new friends.   She and her entire family had been friends with John Schimmel for years.  Their mutual love for travel kept them busy visiting family and friends, and many sightseeing trips were enjoyed.  They married in 1983 in Ventura, California, and enjoyed 11 years together prior to John’s passing in 1994. She suffered another tragic loss when her middle daughter, Margie was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2015. 

Opal is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.  Daughters Carolyn Allen Renteria and son-in-law Ernest Renteria of Tijeras, NM; Alice Habeger and son-in-law Bill Habeger of San Diego; and son-in-law Bob Sokolnicki of Mandan, ND.  Grandchildren John Renteria and wife Crissy of San Antonio, TX; Matt Habeger and wife Alison of San Diego; Dr. Debbie Cave and husband Dr. Jefferey Cave of Bismarck, ND; and Richard Sokolnicki of Mandan, ND.  Greatgrandchildren Leticia, Cameron, Ellie, Eric and Jake Renteria of San Antonio, TX; Peter Habeger of San Diego, CA; Amanda, Zachary, Ellie Cave of Bismarck, ND; Caden Sokolnicki; niece, Valerie and husband Terry; cousin, Gloria and husband GW Leslie.

She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and mother-in-law. Her memory will remain in the hearts of her family and friends. May she rest in peace.

Entrusted to the care of Baca’s Funeral Chapels. Exclusive provider for “Veterans &Family Memorial Care”.  To sign the online guest book or to send a card, please visit our website at www.bacasfuneralchapels.com. Hwy 180 East on Delk Dr., Silver City, NM  88062 – 575-388-2334

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Opal Allen Schimmel, please visit our floral store.

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December 8, 2021

9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
First Baptist Church of Lordsburg
Corner of 3rd Animas
Lordsburg, NM 88045

Funeral Service
December 8, 2021

10:00 AM
First Baptist Church of Lordsburg
Corner of 3rd Animas
Lordsburg, NM 88045

Interment Following Funeral Service
December 8, 2021

Mountain View Cemetery, Deming

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