A Life Lived: Opal Barnett’s Bible was a testimony of the life she lived

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, December 20, 2017

One of the sweetest memories Beverly Barnett has of her mother, Opal, is reading her Bible. “It was worn and tattered with her personal notations. Some of the pages were curled up on the edges. Inside she had underlined and highlighted verses. My mother read her Bible daily. She used it for instruction, guidance, and comfort. The knowledge of what was written on those pages were forever engraved upon her heart,” said Beverly.

Opal Barnett died December 13 at the age of 83. She and her late husband, Willie, raised nine children in a small house located behind the Valley Forge Christian Church. Both were raised on Tiger Creek.

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“My mother had a hard childhood. She was raised by her grandparents. She was determined to make life better for her children. That she did by hard work and her faith in God. She made growing up fun for us. She was the perfect example of a mother,” said Beverly.

“My mother represented our family with respect and dignity. My parents never sought to make a name for themselves. They did not have a lot of material possessions. Neither was educated. But they were wealthy in many other ways,” said Beverly as she described her parents as “salt of the earth people.”

“My dad worked at the box factory and my mother worked at Texas Instruments. They raised everything we ate, including the pigs and the chickens. When we went to the store, they would buy a 25-pound bag each of flour and meal, a jug of milk, and sometimes a big can of Crisco. They grew a garden and she canned the vegetables. They were very humble, hardworking, and very giving, especially my mother. If there were five people and only four pieces of pie, you can bet she would be the one not eating,” said Beverly.

Although Opal and her husband did not have any formal education, they encouraged their children to get as much education as they could. “They wanted us to have good jobs and have a better life than they did,” said Beverly, a retired commercial pilot, who worked for the FFA before her retirement.

“My parents took us to church. They encouraged us to be involved with other children. We went to Bible camp and were involved in 4-H, and she encouraged us to take home economics in high school,” said Beverly. “She even scratched up enough money for some of us to take piano lessons and even guitar lessons.”
Beverly said her mother was a good cook, and she especially remembers some of the desserts her mother made — gingerbread, pineapple-upside-down cake, and strawberry shortcake — and she rarely used a cookbook.

In addition to being a good cook, Opal made most of her children’s clothes when they were growing up. “She sewed them on an old treadle machine,” recalls Beverly.

“My mother was always a faithful churchgoer. She not only took us to church, but she gathered up her nieces, nephews, and neighbors, whoever she could, to go. She never had time to have any hobbies, but she did like to watch Christian television programs and listen to Christian music,” said Beverly, who noted her mother had a large collection of angels.

In addition to her nine children, two of which preceded her in death, Opal had 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

“Sunday, when we received friends for her, there were so many people who came through the line, who shared of visiting in our home, going to church with my mother. In some small way she had touched their life, but it had a great impact. That was very comforting and special to me and my sisters,” Beverly said.

Beverly and her sisters have sweet memories of their mother. Although her body was worn out, Opal had a good, sweet heart, that is now without spot, wrinkle, or blemish.

“She certainly was an example of a Godly mother. If I could just be half the woman she was,” Beverly sighed.