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James Raphael Opat

January 4, 1941 ~ April 18, 2022 (age 81)

Obituary

James Raphael Opat, 81, of Salina, Kansas, passed away unexpectedly on April 18th, 2022. James (Jim) Opat, the son of Martin and Freida Mary (Newman) Opat, was born on January 4th, 1941, at Lindsborg, Kansas. The Opat family immigrated from Poland and Jim was the second youngest of nine sons: Andrew, Joseph, Leo, Edward, Adam, Thomas, John, and Martin, Jr. Always an achiever, Jim submitted an artistic creation and received a generous scholarship to attend Bethany College, where he ultimately obtained a Bachelor of Science degree. After teaching sixth grade for four years at Heusner Elementary in Salina, he became a principal at the Little River/Windham School District. A lifelong learner, Jim then acquired his master’s degree from Emporia State University. Continuing his dedication to teachers and children, Jim became the principal for several schools within the Chapman School District, for 29 years, and was elated when his daughter in-law, Annie Opat, became the Title 1 Reading teacher at Chapman Elementary.

After retirement, Jim and Claudia owned a Driver’s Education school for six years, a daring adventure, but he still wanted to help young people learn life skills.

Married to the love of his life, Claudia (Wilson) Opat, June27, 1964, together, they raised three successful children: John J. Opat (Annie) of Junction City, Kansas, Alan M. Opat (Julie) of Minneapolis, Kansas, and Lori Briden (John) of Cave Springs, Arkansas. Grandchildren include Ryan Opat (Kelsey) of Chapman, Kansas, and Andrea Steuber (Kyle) of Belton, Missouri. Jim also loved his great grandchildren: Adelyne and Rosilyn Opat. Family always came first. Jim loved spending time with family beyond measure and was extremely proud of those he loved. Jim was a believer in education and the learning process. He always had high expectations and enjoyed helping others achieve success. A strong believer in God, a long-distance runner, a love of nature, animals and people describe Jim’s daily life.

During his retirement years he spent quality time with his son John and daughter in-law, Annie, rehabbing houses. He enjoyed fishing, boating, and attending neighborhood potluck dinners with his daughter Lori and son in-law, John, at Table Rock Lake. Watching his son Alan and daughter in-law, Julie, build their house and tinker around with vehicles and tractors also gave Jim happiness. He made friends instantaneously with his dynamic, genuine personality; no one was a stranger. Jim will be truly missed by so many.

Services include - Visitation from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral in Salina, Kansas with a rosary beginning at 7:00 p.m. Jim Opat’s funeral mass will be held Friday morning, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral at 10:00 a.m., with a luncheon following, at the church. His burial is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at the Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Salina, Kansas.

The family appreciates memorial contributions to the American Heart Association and Emporia State University, The Teacher’s College.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Thursday
April 21, 2022

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Sacred Heart Cathredral
118 N 9th St
Salina, KS 67401

Rosary
Thursday
April 21, 2022

7:00 PM
Sacred Heart Cathredral
118 N 9th St
Salina, KS 67401

Funeral Mass
Friday
April 22, 2022

10:00 AM
Sacred Heart Cathredral
118 N 9th St
Salina, KS 67401

Graveside Service
Friday
April 22, 2022

1:00 PM
Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery
2078 E Iron Ave
Salina, KS 67401

Donations

American Heart Association
Web: http://www.heart.org/kansas

Emporia State University, The Teacher’s College
Web: https://www.emporia.edu/teachers-college/

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