Robert C. Opdahl

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Robert C. Opdahl HURLEY- Robert C. Opdahl, 87, died Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, at the Kingston hospital. He was born April 3, 1925 at Bethpage, N.Y. He was the eldest son of the late Olaf C. Opdahl and Clara Ness Opdahl. He graduated from Farmingdale High School in 1943 and entered into active military duty serving with the 264th Medical Battalion, at various locations in the Pacific Theater of Operation. In February 1946, he received his honorable discharge from the military. From 1950 to 1955, he served as a staff member of the Shaker Village Work Camp on Shaker sites in New Lebanon, N.Y. Responsibilities there included directing workshops in traditional folk and Shaker music. He also played piano and the five-string banjo for folk and square dancing. Throughout his life, he was very eclectic in his interests such as learning how to preserve food, spin, weave, do Bansai and even, in his last months, to experiment with blown-out eggshell design. In 1956, after having earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Hofstra University, he secured a position at IBM, Kingston. He worked there until he retired in 1991 serving most often in an advisory engineer communications system capacity. IBM published an in-house instruction booklet on selected basic procedures that he authored. Over the years he spent in the Kingston area, he sang in the IBM chorus, the Mendelson chorus, and the Kingston Barbershop Quartet. He served a term on the Hurley library board, and before his health interfered, helped out at the annual Hurley Corn Festival. Perhaps his most loved and memorable ongoing project is the wood turning shop he maintained on his property. There, Bob taught wood turning techniques for almost twenty years to a considerable number of participants, both male and female, young and retired. Those who already had skills came to perfect them or to turn out beautiful creations of their own. In 2002, he was guest of honor at the first annual dinner of the Northeastern Wood Workers Association, Mid-Hudson Chapter. He wrote articles on wood turning for the Journal of the American Association of Wood Turners, as well as for their techniques and project publication. He is survived by his wife, Viola W. Opdahl, whom he married in 1956. Other survivors are his three brothers, Everett Opahl, of Glen Arm, Md., Roger Opdahl, of Williamport, Pa., and Stuart Opdahl, of Newton, Conn.; also several nieces, nephews, and their families. His friends, associates, and family remember him for his generosity and the code of ethics by which he lived. He took sincere delight in enabling others to develop their talents and potential. Time and place for the memorial service will be forthcoming. Those who wish to give memorial donations may take them to The Smile Train, 41 Madison Avenue, 28th Floor, New York, N.Y., 10010 or to The Washbourne House, P.O. Box 3817, Kingston, N.Y., 12402

Published in the Daily Freeman on Nov. 22, 2012
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