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Opal Charlene Frey Droptini
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Birth: Jul. 13, 1913
Henryetta
Okmulgee County
Oklahoma, USA
Death: Dec. 13, 1995
Beaumont
Jefferson County
Texas, USA

Source Info provided by Helen Fry Goza, Annette Harwell Parker, and Carolyn Jones Modica


Bio of Opal Frey

Opal was the youngest of six daughters born to Charles Edwin Frey and Lula Bell Holloway. Charley had owned a small grocery store when Opal's mother was diagnosed with a lung disease. The doctor advised them to go to Colorado for her health as he had heard the mountain air could make her well.

The family packed up everything and headed to higher ground. When they started their trip they took a wagon rather than the train because they wanted to take their personal belongings, especially Lula Bell's piano, with them. She was a musician and a music teacher before they left Arkansas. She played various instruments, including the piano. She could not leave her beloved piano behind so they loaded it into the covered wagon and headed out, not knowing for sure how long it would take to get there.

Before the start of their journey, Opal's oldest sister, Le'Mon, had been kicked in the head by a horse. She died after several weeks of delirium.

Lula Bell's younger brother, Jesse Holloway, was living with them when they decided to leave their home in Arkansas. His father had died young of smallpox epidemic in Louisiana, and two years later, his mother had died. He was 13 years old when he was orphaned and went to live with his sister and brother-in- law. He was known as Uncle Jesse to Opal and her sisters. He was always very special to his nieces and stayed in contact with them until he died just short of 100 years old. Opal had not been born yet.

Opal's father would stop as they traveled from town to town, all the while living in a tent while he worked to make money in order to continue their trip. It was in Henrietta, Olkmugee Co, OK when Opal was born along the way. Charley found work in the oil fields until Lula Bell and the baby were strong enough to continue. They traveled by horse and wagon, camping on the banks of the Cimarron River for several weeks, fishing and hunting for food.

On the way, they encountered many adventures with the Indians and other people traveling for whatever reasons. Each time they arrived at a new community, Charley would set up the tent for them to sleep and Lula Bell to rest during the day. While in Oklahoma, Annie Lafayette and Wilma died of lung disease. After burying both girls in Manion, Ok, they continued on making their way to Ford, Kansas, where Opal's mother died from the horrible lung disease, leaving Charley with 3 young girls.

These girls, age eleven, eight, and two, had just lost their mother. TB was highly contagious and people feared not only its victims but also the family that was left because they too, might be carrying the dreaded germ in their clothes or their breath. So the officials of the city heard through the doctor that a family traveling through town in a covered wagon had experienced a death in the family by TB, known then as Galloping Consumption.

As was the normal procedure, the officials went to the site of their wagon and tent and explained that because Lula Bell had died of TB, it would be necessary, according to the law, to burn all their possessions. They probably didn't have many possessions, but of the normal things such as dishes, linens, clothes, toys, quilts, etc., and of course, the all important piano.

The town’s people pitched in when they heard of their plight. Charley located an older couple that had a one-room apartment to rent where he had 11-year-old Leila Maude and 9-year-old Gladys stay during the week. Because they valued education, he had seen to it that the older girls attended school where ever they happened to camp; so with a promise from the old couple to see that the girls were awakened every day to go to school and that they would be tucked in at night, the two men, Charley and Uncle Jess, took 2 year old Opal with them when the went to a wheat farm to work. The farmer's wife agreed to look after Opal during the week. Leila Maude and Gladys were their own cooks and I'm sure they had learned quiet a lot from their mother's instructions when they had to take over before she died.

After Lula Bell died, Charley and Jess took the girls back to Arkansas on a train where a family member in a horse met them and wagon who transported them home.

Opal was about 6 years old when Charley remarried to a young lady named Stella Winnie Housley and together, they had 14 children, all of whom but three, grew up to be productive adults. The children of Charles and Stella were:

Helen Irene Fry 1920–2016
Hazel Louise Fry 1922–2005
Charles Roy Fry Sr 1924–2000
Stella Royal Fry 1924–1984
Evelyn Christine Fry 1926–1998
Virginia Lee Frey 1927–1927
Charles Edwin Fry Jr 1931–2007
Jo Ellen Fry 1934–
Shirley Jean Fry 1936–
Fry Twin 2 1938–1938
Fry Twin 1 1938–1938
Nelda Ruth Fry 1940–
Bettye Juanita Fry 1942–
Donald Ray Fry 1947–

When Charley and Stella first married, they moved into a little shanty, according to the stories told by Opal. It was the first house that Opal had lived in that had lights and electricity. The floor had a big hole in it and they had to be very careful not to step in it. One day when Opal reached up to pull the chain on the light, she stepped in the hole where a snake bit her. She nearly died that night. Her father soaked her foot in Kerosene all night and she amazingly, pulled through.

One story that Opal used to share with her family was that she once overheard her Aunt Betty say that all a women had to do in order to have a baby was to brush up against the pants legs of a man's britches. Opal was mortified of coming in contact with any man after that for fear of having a baby.

By the time Charley and Stella had a whole slew of kids, Opal and her oldest half sister, Helen, said that when their daddy would return from one of his work adventures, he would throw his britches over the bed post, and they knew another baby would soon arrive.

Opal grew up in Nashville, Arkansas where Charley was a share crop farmer and many times he had to leave the family to go and look for work. By the time she was 13 years old, Charley had decided to go to Texas to look for work in the oil fields, leaving Opal with her stepmother and 5 half siblings. Opal's two older sisters, Gladys and Leila Maude, had already married and moved out of the house. Charley was gone for nearly a year before he returned and gathered up his family and headed for Texas.


Charley would set up a box tent wherever they stopped so that he could find work in the cotton fields. On the day that Charles Jr. was born, Stella sent the kids with Charley to help pick cotton, but Helen stayed at home to help Stella. When Stella began labor with her child, Helen would stand over her and fan her. After a while, Stella sent Helen to the neighbors to get help and before the evening was over, Charles Jr. was born in a tent. After the birth of Charles Jr, Charley and Stella made their way to Tyler Co, Texas where they lived and raised all of their children.


Opal had already left home and found a job in Beaumont, Texas with a lady named Mrs. Fleet. She worked for her for her room and board and a small salary. Mrs. Fleet was very wealthy and Opal was fortunate to find her. Mrs. Fleet was so nice to Opal and many times, she would buy clothes and never wear them or even take the price tags off. She would give them to Opal as a friendly jester, knowing that Opal was very needy.


By the time Opal was 16 years old, she met and married Thomas Jefferson Jones. They eloped to Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana and married on 25 Sep 1929. In order to marry without her parent's permission, she had to lie on her marriage application. Tommy and Opal spent their honeymoon on Galveston Island at the Flagship Hotel, a very ritzy hotel during that time period.


To their union, they had 7 children:

(1) Betty Joyce
(2) Geneva Ann
(3) Thomas James
(4) Wesley Ernest
(5) Leslie Carlton
(6) Bobbie Gerald
(7) Carolyn Jane

Even though times were hard during "The Great Depression" years, on April 1, 1931, Opal and Tommy moved into their first newly built home in the newest part of Beaumont. They lived at 3560 Scranton St. and they attended Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church together.

In 1950, Opal went to work as a nursing assistant in a doctor's office and soon after, she applied for a nursing license. The doctor that signed her license said that anyone that had given birth to 7 children certainly had enough experience to be a nurse. She acquired an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) by proxy in 1952. Within two years, all of her 4 boys had left home to join the service, each in a different branch. The two older girls had also moved out of the house and married. The only child left at home was her baby, Carolyn.

Tommy died in 1964 and Opal remarried to Andrew Droptini in 1968, gaining 3 sons to this union, Jerry Wayne, Andrew Jr, and John. This new family fit in well with Opal's children and all became a very close, well blended, and caring family. Opal and Andrew had a wonderful and happy marriage of 26 years until Andrew died in 1994. Every Friday or Saturday nights, her adult children and their families visited her and Andrew. They were surrounded with lots of love and family gatherings.

As a nurse, Opal worked at St. Theresa Hospital in Beaumont until the hospital closed and consolidated with the new St. Elizabeth Hospital where she retired. After retirement, she went to work for Dr. Pierre Roberts Sr. and Dr. Pierre Robert Jr. for several years, and then finally retired from the nursing career.

Opal's physical health began to fail when she was 75 years old; however, she lived to be 82. Her mind never failed her and she was as sharp as when she was a young lady. She worked the crossword puzzles that were published in the local newspaper every day and was able to solve every word most of the time.

She was a member of many charitable and hereditary organizations, to name a few, the Easter Star OES 914, the Daughters of the American Revolution Colonel George Moffett Chapter, Ladies Auxiliary Veterans of Foreign War, the Pythian Sisters where she held all the offices up to the Regent's position, the Nomads and Dokeys of Avradacca (the fun order of the Pythian Sisters), and the Texas State Nursing Association. She was a judge for many years at the South Texas State Fair in the Arts and Crafts department. She was Christian and accepted Christ as her personal savior at a very young age. She was an active member of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Beaumont at the time of her death.

Opal had 13 grandchildren, Keith Alton Ellis, John Oliver Rexses III, Byron Kelton Rexses, Monty Gerald Jones, Lynlie Charlene Jones, Mollie Eudene Jones, Marva June Jones, Kimber Lee Jones, Shelli Renee Jones, Sandra Ann Doland, Deborah Kay Jones, David Carlton Jones, and Amy Michele Taylor Modica. She had numerous great grandchildren. Her life touched many people, and all whom she came to know her loved her.

Written by Carolyn Jones Modica, daughter
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Charles Edwin Frey Fry (1882 - 1949)
  Lula Bell Holloway Frey (1885 - 1915)
 
 Spouses:
  Andrew Droptini (1910 - 1994)
  Thomas Jefferson Jones (1901 - 1964)*
 
 Children:
  Bettye Joyce Jones Ellis Heathcock (1930 - 2002)*
  Geneva Ann Jones Rexses Amy (1932 - 2015)*
  Thomas James Jones (1935 - 2009)*
  Wesley Ernest Jones (1936 - 2011)*
  Leslie Carlton Jones (1938 - 2014)*
  Bobby Gerald Jones (1941 - 1961)*
 
 Siblings:
  Le'mon Frey (1903 - 1903)**
  Annie Lafayette Frey (1909 - 1914)**
  Wilma Frey (1911 - 1914)**
  Opal Charlene Frey Droptini (1913 - 1995)
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
 
Inscription:
Droptini
Andrew Sr 1910-1994
Opal Frey 1913-1995

 
Note: Opal and Andrew are buried in the Garden of Eternity at Forest Lawn Cemetery
 
Burial:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Funeral Home
Beaumont
Jefferson County
Texas, USA
 
Created by: Carolyn Modica
Record added: Nov 17, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61791964
Opal Charlene <i>Frey</i> Droptini
Added by: Carolyn Modica
 
Opal Charlene <i>Frey</i> Droptini
Added by: Carolyn Modica
 
Opal Charlene <i>Frey</i> Droptini
Added by: Carolyn Modica
 
 
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- Yankee Magnolia
 Added: Nov. 12, 2015

- Judy Blacksher
 Added: Nov. 15, 2014
I think of you every day. I wish I could see you, touch you, hear your voice again. I love you and miss you so much. Someday we will be together again, but for now, I hold your memories close to my heart---Forget Me Not
- Carolyn Modica
 Added: Nov. 26, 2010
 
 
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