Interview by Tessie Collins

Opal Lofdahl

Everybody has a story to tell and I am grateful that I got the opportunity to get to learn the story about one woman who goes by the name of Mrs. Opal Lofdahl. She is a true inspiration and expert for any teacher in the state of Nebraska.

Opal Lofdahl started teaching ever since she was 16 years old. Many older teachers that I know couldn’t compare to this young age. Twelve weeks later, she passed a series of college courses to get a teaching degree and slip that told her she could teach for three years in any town. What I learned is that her favorite place through her teaching years would probably be when she taught at country schools. She had grown up learning in country schools and now she found herself coming right back. Opal is proud of becoming a teacher and she told me that she wouldn’t change it for the world. She even considers her career being one of her greatest accomplishments in life.

This could also include the wonderful family and husband that was part of her life. It turned out that teaching was very common in her family. She had many family members including her mother, sisters, aunts, and uncles who took up the career of education. Opal figured, why not add another teacher in the family?

Another great person who was a part of her life was her husband Willard. The two meet a long time ago when he asked her to dance with him. Then after that, they started creating a life together.

They lived on a farm when she was busy teaching at country schools. In her free time, she would come and help her husband in the fields. The two stayed together for “almost 49 years,” a true goal for any married couple.

Now these days, Opal enjoys reading to children at my very own school, Lyons-Decatur Northeast. She has been teaching for quite a long time. She was a teacher for the 6th grade for 11 years until she moved on to being our elementary librarian. I never got the opportunity when I was younger to have Opal Lofdahl as my librarian. But I know the kids she had enjoyed every minute with her. She is a loving and caring person that has, over time, created great relationships with each and every one of her students. During our discussion, Opal told me about the children she taught long ago who would come visit her on many occasions. They would always make sure that they would stop to “have a cup of coffee” with Opal whenever they were in town.

Opal’s story is one of many great lives that have been lived. I hope that someday I can look back on my life when I am Opal’s age and ask myself if I lived or not. I am glad that I got to take thirty minutes of my day to visit with this amazing lady. Her story is a true inspiration to life.

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