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Opal Katheryn (Waller) Bagwell

October 1, 1914 ~ June 8, 2018 (age 103)

Celebration of Life for Opal Katheryn (Waller) Bagwell of Hartselle, will be Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 2:00 p.m., at Shelton Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Dallas Culver officiating.  Dinner for family and friends will follow at Austinville United Methodist Church.  At a later date, her family will host a reunion, along with Celebration of Life, Love, and Community, with interment next to her husband, and among her parents, siblings, and other relatives in Clear Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Oxford, MS.  

Mrs. Bagwell made the spiritual transition to her heavenly home on June 8, 2018, at NHC Healthcare, Moulton (Lawrence County), AL, age 103 and 8 months, from complications of a stroke and dementia.  She was born October 1, 1914, at her family home in Panola County (near Oxford, MS) to Charles Iverson Waller and Lillian Raspberry (McEwen) Waller.  She was one of nine children (seven sisters and one brother).

She is survived by her only child, her daughter, Janis Catheryn (Bagwell) Appling, son-in-law, Thomas Richard Appling, and grandson, David Neal Appling, all of Hartselle; granddaughter, Racheal Yvonne Appling, and great-grandson, Aeddan A. Appling, of Longmont, CO; one surviving sister, Hazel Merle (Waller) Zirkle of Grinnell, IA; 13 nephews and nieces; and a large extended family.

After graduation from high school near Oxford, MS, Mrs. Bagwell attended the University of MS (Ole Miss) studying for a degree in education.  Her college days were interrupted by the sudden death of her father, requiring her to return home to help raise younger siblings, though she later obtained an elementary teaching certificate and taught school in Mississippi. 

Mrs. Bagwell married James Chester Bagwell (deceased March 11, 1977) on April 7, 1941, in Memphis, TN.  Her husband was a WWII Navy veteran with 22 years of active service, retiring in 1958, with the rank of Chief Petty Officer, 1st Class.  While stationed in San Diego, CA, their only child, Janis, was born in 1949, in Chula Vista, CA.  The family moved from California to Tuscaloosa, AL in order for Mrs. Bagwell's husband to complete his college degrees in Law, Business, and Secondary Education, residing there for 12 years.

Later, in 1969, they moved to North Alabama, where they resided in Russellville, Littleville, and Decatur, AL while Mrs. Bagwell's husband taught high school.  Ultimately, they purchased their last home together in Lawrence County (Trinity, AL), where they farmed, raised small livestock, and retired there for 34 years.

Mrs. Bagwell was widowed in March, 1977, but remained at the Trinity, AL residence until 2003, age 89.  Whereupon, she moved to the home of her daughter and son-in-law in Hartselle, AL.  She lived with them for 12 years, ages 89 - 101.

Though active for many years, Mrs. Bagwell's declining health required long-term nursing care at NHC Moulton, and she resided there for 2.5 years until her passing.

Mrs. Bagwell worked in retail sales, was a dedicated wife and mother, a member of several social and spiritual groups, an avid gardener, a member of Austinville United Methodist Church, and generous with her time and talents to family, friends, church, and community.

The Lord God Almighty gifted her with a long, happy, and interesting life with accomplishments too numerous to list here.  Suffice it to say, she was witness to many historical events at home and abroad: 18 U. S. Presidents (Wilson - Trump); WWI and WWII; horse-drawn carriage to self-driven cars; bi-planes to interstellar space travel; hand-cranked phones to iphones; the Great Depression; women's right to vote; civil rights movement; and numerous medical and technological advances.

Hers was a life well-lived, and through God's grace and mercy, her passing was truly a victory.  Thank you, Mom, for your love and life.

Floral tributes in her memory will be welcome, or in lieu thereof, memorial donations may be made to Alzheimer Society, Autism Society of AL, Hospice of the Valley, or Humane Society of America.

 

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