Transportation 22

Larry E. Oparka

July 24, 1949 ~ November 9, 2021 (age 72)

Obituary

Laurence "Larry" Edmund Oparka, age 72, of DeFuniak Springs, Florida passed away Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. He was born July 24, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois and was the only child and son of Edmund and Stephany Oparka. As a child, Larry loved spending time with his cousins Jeff and Scott Skjordahl. From a young age, Larry enjoyed trains, specifically the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin (Roarin’ Elgin) interurban railroad line. He excelled at swimming and swam throughout high school at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois and for College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois where he earned an All-American Award for both academia and sport excellence. Larry also worked as a lifeguard at North Avenue beach in Chicago. Larry graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois and during college worked as a PACE bus driver in the Chicago suburbs. He found long-term employment working as a Quality Control Manager with Krack by Hussman (formerly Krack Corporation). Larry enjoyed learning about the science and technical aspect of commercial refrigeration.

Larry met his first wife, Lynn Saulisberry, while attending the College of DuPage and they married in 1971 at St. Mathew’s Catholic Church in Glendale Heights, Illinois. Prior to having children, Larry & Lynn enjoyed traveling with their dachshund Dot and spending time with their families in the Chicago area, but regularly drove to Ohio on the weekends to visit Lynn’s sister and brother-in-law, Helen Saulisberry & Rick Hargreaves. Larry & Lynn had two children, Stephany and Michael. He enjoyed suburban Chicago life and traveling to Moab, Utah to participate in the annual Moab Jeep Safari. Larry and Lynn continued to travel until Lynn’s passing in 2011.

Larry was a veteran of the Illinois Air National Guard, a member of the American Legion Post 342, and a longtime Civil Air Patrol and United States Coast Guard Auxiliary member. Larry also was a member of the Teamsters and drove for J.B. Hunt, Consolidated Freightways, Anderson Columbia, and Perdido.  

In 2014, Larry married Terri Hess in Mossy Head, Florida at a Mardi Gras themed ceremony and reception. Together they enjoyed listening to live blues, jazz and zydeco music, cheering on their favorite hockey team, the Pensacola Ice Flyers and traveling throughout the US and abroad. He also loved to go on cruises with Terri, one of which included a trans-Atlantic cruise to Europe.  In addition, Larry always enjoyed a good meal and good conversation with family and friends. He loved to drive and was a literal GPS who could tell you the most fuel efficient way to get anywhere, which highway made the most sense, and which gas station to stop at along the way. He loved spending time with his children, bonus children and grandchildren. 

Larry is survived by his wife, Terri; daughter, Stephany; son, Michael; aunt, Milly Cienke Skjordahl; cousins, Jeff (Ilona) Skjordahl  and Judy Skjordahl; sister-in-law, Helen (Rick) Hargreaves; nephew, James (Christen) Hargreaves; bonus daughters, Paula (Mark) Cohen, Michelle (Patrick) Outlaw, Christy Sackett and Connie Reyes; and Millie's father, Richard; grandchildren, Jonathan, Matthew, Sean, Samantha, Eli, Kaitlyn, Aeris, Charleigh Rose and Millie; great-grandchildren, Sammus and Mollie.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Lynn Saulisberry Oparka; bonus daughter, Angie Streeter; parents, Edmund & Stephany Cienke Oparka; cousins, Scott Skjordahl, Emily Sue (Foltz) Skjordahl, and Stanley Oparka; and aunts, Violet Cienke Mick and Helen B. Oparka. 

Funeral services will be held Saturday, November 20, 2021 in the chapel of Davis-Watkins Funeral Home, 1474 State Highway 83 North, DeFuniak Springs, Florida 32433, beginning at 2 p.m.  A time of visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.  Committal services will follow at Paxton Cemetery.

Arrangements and services are under the direction of Davis-Watkins Funeral Home.

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


Services

Visitation
Saturday
November 20, 2021

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Davis-Watkins Funeral Home Chapel
1474 State Highway 83 North
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433

Funeral Service
Saturday
November 20, 2021

2:00 PM
Davis-Watkins Funeral Home Chapel
1474 State Highway 83 North
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433

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