Richard H. Opie


Richard Hugh Opie passed away March 23, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. Dick was born August 5, 1930 in Keokuk, Iowa to Sifferd and Marion Opie. The son of a banker and elementary school teacher, Dick and his sister Irene grew up with an appreciation for education, public service and always having a good book on the nightstand. Dick earned his undergraduate degree from Carthage College in Carthage, Illinois and his masters from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Following graduation, Dick began work as director of the YMCA following his service in the Army.
In 1951 he married his high school sweetheart, Ellen Radel. The couple had three children; Beverly, David and Douglas all born in three different states. After relocating to Fairfield, Iowa where he was Dean of Admissions at Parsons College, Dick and his family then moved to Knoxville where he owned several small businesses before becoming Vice President and Dean at AIB College in Des Moines.
Dick commuted from Knoxville to Des Moines for many years before he and Ellen moved to Des Moines. He served at AIB for 21 years and retired in 1994. AIB honored him by naming a dorm Opie Hall on its urban campus. Following his retirement, Dick was asked to serve as Chairman of the Iowa Communications Network by Governor Terry E. Branstad.
A proud member of the Republican party, a devoted Hawkeye fan, a 33rd degree Mason and member of the Shriners, Dick was a loyal public servant and never shied away from a good debate. His pride and joy was his family, grandchildren, great grandchildren and their accomplishments. Dick's legacy lives on in those left to cherish his memory - wife Ellen Opie; sister Irene Hubbard (Duane); children Beverly Opie Ortland (Henry), David Opie (LeeAnne), and Douglas Opie (Sara); grandchildren Alexis Opie Johnson; Nick, Elizabeth and Jimmie Opie; Amanda Campbell Ortland (Bertram Beissel von Gymnich) and Christian Ortland; and Ross Opie; great grandchildren Lucas and Eliot Beissel von Gymnich and Wrenley Johnson. Preceding him in death were his parents Sifferd and Marion Opie and infant son Richard Opie.
Services to remember Dick will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at St. Mark Lutheran Church in West Des Moines with a burial at Resthaven Cemetery. A visitation will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at McLaren's Funeral Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Opie family.
Published on March 25, 2019
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3 posts

Chyrl Spoon
Apr 02, 2019
Sorry for your loss. Dick lived a long, productive life. Glad I got to know him thru GSLC.
judy bailey
Mar 26, 2019
Glad Dick had vision & energy to help establish the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Knoxville. MUCH LOVE sent your way.
John and Jo Wetherell
Mar 25, 2019
Dear Ellen and family, Learning that Dick died was a shock for us and, without doubt, you. What we'll remember most about Dick is that he always had a smile on his face. We are glad we had the opportunity to know him for a few years. We can't be at the visitation or memorial service due to unchangeable commitments. But you will be our thoughts. We hold you in our hearts and prayers. Sincerely, the Wetherells