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Opal Irene King

March 6, 1921 ~ January 8, 2020 (age 98)

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Opal “Tootsie” King age 98 of Howard, CO, passed into Glory on January 8, 2020 at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida, CO. She was born March 6, 1921 in Kansas to Ben and Lena Ryman.


After high school, Tootsie attended college in California, majoring in Art. She was a personal friend of Walt Disney, who gave her an award to continue her Art education. The award was not accepted and she moved to Oregon with her parents. On the advice of her parents at the beginning of World War II, Tootsie went to work as a Riveter for Lockheed in California, instead of enlisting in the Armed Forces. It was at Lockheed that she acquired the nickname of Tootsie. As one of the original “Rosie the Riveters”, Tootsie made the entire tail section of America’s first jet plane, the PF 80. Tootsie and the other builders were able to watch the maiden flight. It was also at Lockheed that she met her future husband, Ralph King. They were married on D-Day, December 7, 1946.


The couple spent their first year of marriage in Buena Vista, cutting and selling ice for a living. After that, Denver, California and Oregon were some of the whistle stops in their lives before settling down in Howard, CO. They spent their lives loving and helping others in the name of Jesus Christ. This was a legacy that Tootsie carried on alone after the passing of her husband. In addition to being a “Rosie the Riveter”, Tootsie was a cashier, a teacher, a newspaper worker and an engineer working on the Pueblo Dam. She also pursued Bible Study classes at Liberty University.


She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.


She is survived by her chosen daughter Janice Yalch of Howard, CO and special friend Kenneth Kerrigan of Howard, CO. Numerous cousins and the many others that she has helped over the years.


Funeral Services are set for 11:00 AM Saturday January 18, 2020 at the Howard Log Cabin Church, 8754 US Hwy 50 in Howard, CO. Interment will follow at Howard Cemetery. Friends who desire may make Memorial Contributions to the Howard Volunteer Fire Department through Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www,

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


Funeral Service
January 18, 2020

11:00 AM
Howard Log Cabin Church (US, Howard)


Howard Volunteer Fire Departmen
Howard CO 81233

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