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Patricia Anne (Watson) Opper

August 22, 1919 ~ July 31, 2019 (age 99)

Patricia Anne Opper, 99, passed away on July 31, 2019 at the Halquist Memorial Inpatient Center in Arlington, Virginia, surrounded by her son, David Opper of Charlottesville and daughter Susan Opper of Arlington. Preceded in death by her beloved husband Colonel Clifford R. Opper, she is survived by her sister Carolyn Langley of Des Moines, Iowa, and brother Samuel Watson of Omaha, Nebraska, and further survived by her daughter-in-law Deborah Opper, sister-in-law Glenice Watson, and grandsons Jason (Amanda), Samuel and Jackson Opper. Patricia was born on August 22, 1919 in Inman, Nebraska, the oldest of five children of Ira and Ruth Watson. Valedictorian of her high school graduating class of 1937, Patricia was proud to have helped as an accountant in her father’s successful hay company. She went on to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln from which she graduated in 1941 with high honors and distinction, and was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa in recognition of her attainments. Having attracted the attention of fellow Nebraskan Clifford at university, they married in Tucson, Arizona, on April 25, 1943 before his deployment to Europe in WWII. Patricia applied her university specialization in Economics and Business Organization in years of work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington D.C. and Chicago. She was an accomplished pianist and seamstress, devoted to raising her family and serving the various communities and churches where she lived. The family moved frequently during her husband’s 30-year service in the Air Force that included three 3-year tours in Germany. In 1968, they settled in Arlington where the couple had purchased their first house. Patricia maintained lifelong relationships, touching the lives of everyone she knew in whatever their walk of life. Everyone recalls her faith, her gracious respect, irrepressibly positive outlook -- and radiant smile. She treasured her 25 years as an Arlington Lady, representing the Air Force at funerals in Arlington National Cemetery. An avid botanist and gardener, she was a member of Arlington’s Green Manor Garden Club and an instigator of her family’s choice to build a cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains where she spent many happy days among the flora and fauna, and neighbors, further deepening her roots in Virginia. Funeral services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be finalized. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Patricia’s name may be made to the Halquist Memorial Inpatient Center and the Fisher House Foundation.

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