Richard Ray Opiela was born on September 8, 1927, in Curtisville, Pennsylvania to Frank and Mary Opiela of West Derry Township, Pennsylvania. He departed from this earth to meet his Lord and Savior at the age of 95 on Monday, February 6, 2023.
Richard was a resident of Santa Rosa County since 1979. Following his high school graduation, Richard initiated his employment in the grocery industry as a meat cutter. In 1951, similar to many Americans, he was sworn into the United States Army, where he served our country as a 5-track vehicle mechanic with the 194th Tank Battalion, Fort Benning, Georgia. During his service, Richard was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.
Following his time serving our country, Richard pursued his future in the grocery industry as a meat cutter, store manager, and gross food sales manager. His business efforts built a relationship with the owners of his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. As his relationship grew with the Rooney family, Richard became responsible for supplying food and concessions for the Steelers organization.
In 1979, Richard moved to Milton where he established new roots. He developed his own company, Solar Control Aluminum Contractor, Inc., building home extensions and insulated screened Florida rooms, from which he later retired.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Frank John Opiela and Mary Catherine Opiela, his wife, Edwina “Winnie” Opiela, three brothers, Frank, John and Albert, his sister, Audrey J. Panichelle, niece, Danielle J. Pantalone, and his second wife, Nancy J. Lockman-Opiela.
Richard is survived by his niece, JoAnn Pantalone-Jolly, great-niece, Gabrielle Jolly, nephew, Danny Mantooth (Charlotte), step children, Bambi Lockman (Kathy Devlin), Steve Lockman (Jan), Jacquie Kane (Michael). Seven grandchildren, Christopher Kane, Annie Wiggins, Everett Lockman, Robert Kane (Abigail), Raeann Fortin (Troy), Steven Kane, and Madison Lockman (Lauren), and three great-granddaughters, Amelia Kane, Maebh Lockman, and Lillie Jo Kane.
Richard served his Lord through the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church (Milton) in a multitude of capacities. In addition, he maintained affiliation and membership in the Knights of Columbus (4th Degree), Pace Masonic Lodge #3, Scottish Rite (32nd Degree), York Rite, Hadji Temple (Antique Car Unit and Children’s Transportation Unit), Order of the Eastern Star #244, Zelica Grotto, Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge #551, Elks Lodge #2108, and the American Legion Post #340. Richard enjoyed dancing his way through life with the Grotto, Les Debonaires, Rhythm Lovers, Maids of Myrth, and Saints & Sinners.
Visitation will be Friday, February 17, 2023 at 10:30 A.M. at Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 6451 Park Avenue, Milton, Florida, immediately followed by Celebration of Life services, with Monsignor Michael V. Reed, JCL, officiating. Interment will be held at the Barrancas National Cemetery, Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The family of Richard would like to express their deepest gratitude to Dr. David Sheppard and his nurse, Malisa (Medical Center Clinic), Dr. Paul Jimenez and his nurse, Brandy (VA Clinic Pensacola), along with the men and ladies of Comfort Keepers for caring, loving, and providing compassion to Richard through their services, especially, Melinda Herbert.
Pallbearers will be Christopher Kane, Everett Lockman, Robert Kane, Steven Kane, Madison Lockman, Troy Fortin, and Wes Strange.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hadji Children’s Transportation Unit, 800 W. Nine Mile Road, Pensacola, Florida 32534 or Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 6451 Park Avenue, Milton, Florida 32570.
Rose Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery is in charge of the arrangements.