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Opal Jay (Miles) Fladstol passed away January 6th, 2019, just two months before her 90th birthday. Services will be held January 28th at Golden West Church 23 miles East of Conrad at 2 P.M. Opal was born March 7, 1929 north of Joplin, Montana. Her parents were Russel and Alba Miles. She had four sisters, Refa Joy, Lillian Dyrud, Pauline Sciuchetti, and Grace Richter. She attended school in Joplin through her Junior year in high school. In 1944 she moved to Great Falls to live with her sister, Pauline. She graduated from Great Falls High School when she was sixteen years old in 1945.
Opal married Maurice G. Fladstol in August of 1945. They moved to the Fladstol family farm East of Conrad in 1946 after Maurice was discharged from the Army. They raised three sons there. Opal lived without many modern conveniences on the farm for many years. Ice was cut from Pondera Creek for the icebox in her kitchen. She used a bottled gas stove and refrigerator from 1947 to 1950. Kerosene lamps and oil heat were used until a natural gas line was dug across the farm in 1948. She then had a gas clothes dryer and water heater installed. Electricity came to the farm in April 1949. Electrical appliances and running water were added in 1950. Telephones finally arrived in 1957. Opal drove truck during harvest for 30 years.
Opal was always very community minded. If she saw a problem, she would tackle it head on! She wouldn't give up until she accomplished what she started. She was a very strong willed and determined woman.
Mail came three times a week out in the country, but everyone had to drive many miles on dirt roads to pick their mail up. Opal worked very hard to get the mail route extended to all the farms in the area which happened in 1976. Opal also worked on the United States Census for Conrad in 1980. It took many hours going door to door filling out the forms. Sometimes it took several visits to find people home or before some residents would agree to answer the questions on the Census. She was named Conrad Senior Citizen of the Year in 2007.
Opal played an important part in securing funding to build Horizon Lodge in Conrad. 84 signatures and down payments were required to qualify for Federal money to build Horizon Lodge. Opal sat in the Conrad City Water Office collecting signatures and money until the qualifications were met. She and Maurice lived in Horizon lodge for 6 years before their health began to fail.
Opal was a member of Golden West Lutheran Church. She was a Sunday school teacher, and a member of the Ladies Aide. She was also a 4-H leader for many years for the Sollid Pioneers 4-H club. Opal was an active member of the Mental Health Association, the Sollid Homemakers Demonstration Club, a Horizon Lodge Representative and the Pondera County Democratic Women's Club.
Opal and Maurice loved to dance. They had a group of twelve couples who traveled around the "golden triangle" following their favorite dance bands. Sometimes they danced 2 or 3 nights a week if the bands were playing in towns close by.
Opal was a very talented seamstress. She made the family's clothes for years. After the children grew up, she began making quilts and lap quilts for family and friends. She then began making lap quilts for the nursing home. She went to rummage sales to buy fabric, clothes, blankets and old sheets and turned them into warm comforting quilts. She sewed over 100 quilts before she announced she had made her last quilt about 10 years ago.
Opal and Maurice upholstered and refinished furniture for many years. They did a very professional job. They worked on furniture for themselves, their children, their grandchildren, friends and Golden West Lutheran Church.
Opal was fascinated in family genealogy and spent years researching, assembling and printing books on the Larson, Fladstol, and Ueland families. She wrote hand written letters to people all over the United States, Canada and Norway collecting histories and photos. During her search she would find more relatives, so she wrote more letters and received more information. She eventually published a 248 page book covering the years 1602 to 1992 on the Fladstol family. This was one of the things she was most proud of. She traveled to Norway with Maurice and met many of the relatives that she had found there. They visited the Flatestol farm which still exists in Moi, Norway.
Opal was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years, her sisters Refa Joy, Lillian Dyrud, and Pauline Sciuchetti. She is survived by her sister Grace Richter of Joplin and sister in law Grace Hewitt of Havre. She is also survived by three sons, Dennis (Ruth) on the family farm, Nolan (Cheryl) in Rudyard, and Gary (Shannon) in Colorado. She has four grandchildren, Brian (Brandee) in Conrad, Deanna in Portland, Joel in Rudyard, and Kira (Dallas) Weber in Kansas City. She has seven great-grandchildren and another due in March. She also has one great-great grandson and many nephews and nieces.
Memorials may be made to Horizon Lodge or Pondera Medical Center Extended Care in Conrad.