Opal Walden was proud to be born and raised in Old Towne Orange, where she resided her entire life. Her mother’s (Schlueter) family was among the early settlers of the area, founders of St. Johns Lutheran Church and included in the Santa Ana Historical collections. Opal graduated from Orange Union High School in 1942 where she was a song leader in her senior year and active in school affairs. Following graduation, she worked at First National Bank on the Plaza Square. She soon met Woody Walden at Hagen’s Mobil Service station. They married in 1945 and celebrated nearly 60 years together. Her daughter, Judy Tallman, and son, Frederick Walden, are thankful for the wonderful family life and home she made for them in the house that Grandpa Zech built in Orange.
During the housing boom of the 1950s Opal returned to work at the Orange City Hall/Water Dept. After helping to modernize the billing system, Opal left the Water Dept. to work for John Rohm, CPA. She retired many times, but returned to work during tax season for years.
Opal and Woody had an active social life with a group of friends from St. John’s. They golfed at Pebble Beach and Palm Springs, and enjoyed travel to Alaska, Canada, Tahiti, the Panama Canal, the Caribbean, Hawaii and many other of the lower 48 states in their RV. She was always happy to come home to Orange.
She enjoyed her golfing girls and the Orange High “girls” lunch groups. Walking miles in Old Towne with her neighbor every day into her early 90s kept her strong. Her garden brought her a sense of accomplishment and peace.
Opal is predeceased by W. W. “Woody” Walden, Fred and Sophia Zech (parents), and brother W. L. “Sonny” Zech. She is survived by her children Judy Tallman and “Fritz” (Susan) Walden; granddaughters Lauren (Kevin) Saunders and Erin Brown; and four great-grandkids Jacob (Kristine), Alexis (Alex), Graham and Sage. She is also survived by sister-in-law Patti Zech Hoffard and extended Zech, Schlueter, and Walden families. We are thankful to celebrate her 98 years of a wonderful life.
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