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Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home

Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home
101 Gerkin
Gregory, SD 57533
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Memories & Candles

“Brad, Craig and family-Our hearts are broken along with yours for the loss of your wonderful mother. Such a kind, caring person, she was. Jim says...Read More »
1 of 7 | Posted by: Jim and Nancy Carley - Long Pine, NE

“My childhood is filled with memories of Harold and Opal. I was lucky to know you both. Rest in paradise with Harold. ❤ ”
2 of 7 | Posted by: Holly Slade-VanCouwenberghe - UT

“Dear Brad, Craig, Casey, Jamie & family, I am so sorry for your loss! Opal & Harold have been part of my life & family for asLong as I can remember!...Read More »
3 of 7 | Posted by: Ron Nikodym - Shawnee, KS

“Opal was such a kind and generous person. Only knew her for a short time but was always welcomed by her and her family. Enjoyed teaching her two...Read More »
4 of 7 | Posted by: Dennis Povondra - Tabor, SD

“Our condolences to your family on the loss of Opal. My mother is (Loretta Higgins Gengler daughter of Francis and Rose Higgins) Opal always stop to...Read More »
5 of 7 | Posted by: Lyle and Judy Gengler - Caribou, ME

“So sorry to hear of the loss of Great Aunt Opal. I have such good memories visiting with her and Great Uncle Harold. She was such a sweet lady and...Read More »
6 of 7 | Posted by: Jill Spenner (Eisenhauer) - NE

“Pat and I are greatly saddened to hear of Opal's passing. The Carly's are a great family and their support of a young teacher was greatly...Read More »
7 of 7 | Posted by: Dick Turner - Brookings, SD


Opal Mary Carley passed away peacefully at the Butte Nebraska Healthcare Center on October 23, 2017. Opal was 85 years old at the time that God called her to His eternal home.

Opal (Higgins) Carley was born in Stuart, NE on November 24, 1931 to James and Zoe (Brown) Higgins. Opal, the eldest of her three siblings, Thelma, Orlon and Lila, grew up on the family ranch near Brocksburg, Keya Paha County, Nebraska. The ranch where the Higgins children were raised was on land deeded to Opal's paternal grandfather during the homesteading period on the Nebraska frontier. The Higgins family are among the 'first settlers' of Keya Paha County and Opal remained deeply rooted in Keya Paha County her entire life. She attended Keya Paha District 1 Country Grade School and three years of high school in Butte, NE. She finished her final year of high school at Springview, NE, graduating with the Class of 1949. Upon her graduation Opal then earned her Cosmetology Certification.

While still in high school, Opal met Harold Carley, a handsome young Marine who would become the love of her life, during an outing at the Springview roller skating rink. Harold was immediately smitten and the couple married on July, 15, 1950 in Long Pine, NE. They made their home in Springview where Harold worked for the local rural electric company and Opal owned and operated her own hair salon. While living in Springview, NE Harold and Opal were blessed with three sons; Gary, Brad and Craig.

In 1967, Harold took a position as Lineman with Rosebud Electric and moved his young family to Gregory, SD where Opal initially re-located her hair salon business. Given her petite stature, Opal soon found the physical demands of hair styling to be too taxing and she opted for office work, initially at Northwestern National Bank, in Gregory, and later was hired away to work for Bob O'Neill in his insurance business. She remained with the firm after it was sold to Berens and retired from it in 1993.

Opal was a devoted wife, dedicated mother and grandmother, and her gregarious nature attracted many life-long friends. She thoroughly enjoyed taking care of her home, which was spotless, cooking and participating in all the things that go along with raising active boys. She was quick to laugh and even quicker to set an extra plate at her table. Upon retirement, Opal and Harold enjoyed traveling to visit their sons and grandchildren while also taking trips with friends to the Black Hills or Branson, Missouri. She and Harold's trip to Hawaii remained one of her fondest memories.

Opal was a devout Catholic and served as a Counselor in the Catholic Daughters of America. She was a past-President of the American Legion Auxiliary and she and Harold served together in many roles at the Legion Club in Gregory over the years.

Opal is survived by; her sons Brad, and partner Cindy Nichols, Sioux Falls, SD and Craig, and wife Bobbe, Houston, TX; granddaughters Casey Carley, and husband Shane Ocander, Olathe, KS and Jamie Carley, and partner Patrick Azzara, Sioux Falls, SD; grandsons Lieut. Stuart Carley, and wife Maria Paula, Hoboken, NJ and Eliott Carley, Houston, TX; great granddaughters Kaylee Ocander, Olathe, KS and Aria Marie Azzara, Sioux Falls, SD; sister Thelma Schmitz and husband Leonard, Naper, NE and many nieces and nephews whom she loved like her own children.

Rejoicing with Opal in heaven this day are her parents, James and Zoe Higgins; her husband, Harold; sister Lila Higgins; brother and sister-in-law Orlon and Shirley Higgins; infant son Gary Carley; and grandson Spencer Carley; her niece and nephew Marsha and Bill Cook; and all the saints who have gone before us.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Funeral services for Opal Carley, 85, were held on Monday, October 30, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Gregory, SD with Father Jonathan Dillon officiating. Visitation and prayer services were held Sunday afternoon and evening at the church.

Music was provided by Mary Beth Gergen, pianist, and the St. Joseph Choir.

Delores Jelinek was Cantor.

Songs were "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say," "Prayer of St. Francis," "I am the Bread of Life," "Song of Farewell," and "All is Well with My Soul."

Lector was Carmen Schmitz.

Eucharistic Minister was David Schmitz.

Altar Servers were Emma Thomas and Gannon Thomas.

Casket Bearers were Chandler Cook, Austin Cook, Casey Carley, Jamie Carley, Shane Ocander, and Patrick Azzara.

Honorary Casket Bearers were Stuart Carley and Eliott Carley.

Interment was in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Gregory, SD.