Opal Arlena Ellis
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Ellis, Opal Arlena
was a trailblazing Civil Rights leader who was born to Henry King and Elizabeth Austin in Watonga, Oklahoma on August 6, 1929. She moved to Phoenix in 1942 with her mother, Elizabeth Austin and step-father, Jessie Lydia. Opal served as a piston of this region?s Civil Rights Movement. The tenacious and humble Opal Ellis led the way in securing victories for racial justice in Phoenix, in advance of national milestones in civil rights. Opal?s heroic efforts, in the face of overwhelming odds, helped make Phoenix a more racially inclusive city. Her selfless and fearless commitment to justice will stand forever as a testament to the power of one. God called Opal Ellis home on December 21, 2010, at 12:50 PM with all of her children by her beside. Preceding her in death are her daughter, Valerie K. Brown, her mother, Elizabeth L. Lewis, and her father, Henry King. She leaves to cherish her memories six children; Michael E. Harry, Sr. (Yvonne), Candace L. Green (Richard, Sr.), Patrick C. Brown, Brian L. Maupin (Tela), Jarrett B. Maupin, Sr. (Rita), and Phillip Thomas; 26 grandchildren; Michele Bauman (Al), Richard G. Green, Jr. (Laureen), Randy L. Green (Christina), Marshall Harry, John Harry, Carolyn Harry, Michael E. Harry, Jr., Stacy Harry, Patrick C. Brown II (Amberly), Ricky Ricardo Gonzales, Tanita B. Butler (Damian), Brian Wallace, Marquis Seymour, Rachel Kevins (Michael), Brian Maupin, Jr., Rev. Jarrett B.Maupin II (Denise), Francie Maupin, Marissa Maupin, William Brooks, Tobias Maupin, Jeanette Brown, Valdez Maupin, Aryzona Brown, Torrance Maupin, T?Meya Maupin, and Madison Thomas, 20 great-grandchildren; Michael Johnson, Anthony Breeding, Tierra Green, Jeremy Chapman, Richard Green III, Latorey Suell, Randi Green, Ariyan Huckaby, Ashley Green, Tyrese Green, Amayah Green, Tu D. Butler, John C. Harry, Jr., Tyshanna S. Harry, Tawunn C. Edison, Tareese C. Edison, Markel Maupin, Miles K. Brown, and Braylen Wallace, two great-great grandchildren; Raenna Johnson, and Aiden Johnson, and Aunt Dorothy (Austin) Stroud, Reneé Maupin, Lowden family of CA, Hendrix family of Florida and two long time family friends; Honorable Judge Jean Williams and Bennie L. Smith, and a host of other relatives and friends. Viewing will be held Tuesday, December 28, 2010, from 5:00-8:00 PM at Universal Memorial Center, 1100 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, Az. Funeral services will be Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 10:00 AM with a one hour prior viewing at First Institutional Baptist Church,1141 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, Az. Service entrusted to Universal Memorial Center.

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Published in The Arizona Republic from Dec. 26 to Dec. 27, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
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20 entries
September 21, 2016
Valenda Newell
April 21, 2011
December 29, 2010

Thank you Opal for giving me your wisdom and thoughts that helped to guide me in my life.
You were a person one could sit down for hours and talk about a variety of subjects. And sometimes they went into the wee hours of the morning.You were always gracious, kind and compassionate.
Your leadership was conducted in a quiet way. You spoke softly as you consistently framed the questions and issues of the day. All people in all walks of life learned to listen to you. And you were comfortable with people from all walks of life and you were not afraid to confront issues or problems in any government arena.
Yes, you had courage, resiliance and lots of style.
The best to Opal's family...kathy bergman
kathy bergman
December 29, 2010
To all of Opals family my thoughts and prayers are with you all doing this time. She will be missed but not forgotten, she wasn't the type of woman you would forget on a good note!

Love to the family,

Darla Humdy-Johnson and family
Darla Johnson
December 29, 2010
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Jennifer Eppinger
December 29, 2010
To the family of a phenomenal, strong black woman. Your mom, grandma, great grandma left a great legacy. God has plucked another beautiful rose to Glorify the Kingdom of Heaven. If any of you donot know Christ let me encourage you to get to know him as your personal Savior. God Bless you all during this time and always.
Lynda Griffin
December 28, 2010
Rest in peace and god bless you.
Marisol Narvaez
December 28, 2010
May God Bless your family.
Rev. James Dukes
December 28, 2010
To my colleague and friend Brian Maupin and family my thoughts and prayers are with you. Your mothers enduring spirit and envolvement in the Civil Rights Movement speakes volumes about her character and committment to transforming America into a place of equal opportunity for all.
Derwin Dukes
December 27, 2010
To My Dear Friend Patrick, Know that God is with you and your family during these difficult times. He will comfort you and give you strength. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (proverbs 3:7} Love you, Vanessa
Vanessa Stewart
December 27, 2010
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b]

The words of Matthew 22:37-39 certainly remind me of Mrs. Ellis. My first memory of her is as neighbor to my uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Flora Hightower. Later I learned that she was a great civil rights worker. She was a very caring, very present woman. Her spirit was with you in your hour of need. I always had a lot of fun and excitement with her family, especially political fun. She always made me feel very welcome in her home. And she was there for me when my mother Hester died.

I am going to use copies of her obituary and other news articles when I substitute teach so that some of the children of Arizona will get to know this remarkable woman. Thank you for being a courageous trailblazer and history maker, Mrs. Ellis. You are still making life exciting.

I send my love to all the family, especially you, Rev. Jarrett. God bless you all.

P. S. I have loved all the photos you have used. They are great!
Tommie Taylor
December 27, 2010
I've known Opal since our school days and even then she was acutely aware of her community. From an early age she took the lead in striving for change to improve conditions and confront inequities facing her people. Struggle, hardship, adversity, sacrifice or pain was no stranger to Opal. She handled them all with such courage and grace. She was always there for anyone who needed her. She was such a comforting force to all who knew her and a wonderful mother. Her contributions impacted so many lives and her memory will always be with us. Our condolences from the family of Katherine Bass Ayers
Katherine Ayers
December 27, 2010
"She was a very sweet lady!! I enjoyed going to her house and spending time with her grandchildren. She always made me laugh!! My condolences and prayers go out to the family." Danielle Mosley
Danielle Mosley
December 23, 2010
To Brian Maupin & Family, My thoughts & prayers are with you and your family take comfort in God's strength. Larcedia Bray & Family (Dallas, TX)
Larcedia Bray
December 22, 2010
My prayers and thoughts are with your family. I know God will give you comfort and strength at this most difficult time. He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of trouble. PS. 46:1 May the peace of our loving Saviour comfort you and give you the assurance that your dear mother is okay. God bless you all. Belinda Tennison, Mesquite, Tx.
December 22, 2010
It's often said that you know a tree by the fruit it bears. Though I didn't have the pleasure of refreshing under the shade of this tree, I do know the roots ran deep and her branches spread wide. May God bless, keep, and comfort you in your hours of bereavement. And may you find great joy as you reflect on the wonderful legacy of her life.
Clyde Pikes
December 22, 2010
I worked with Opal and enjoyed every minute. Even more, I learned so much form her knowledge of "what is right," love of communicyt and family and her dignity. I think of her often and will miss her
Rose Newsome, El Paso, Texas
December 21, 2010
What a great lady! Our sincerest condolences.
The Blacks
December 21, 2010
My sympathy are with the family of Opal. She gave much of herself for the betterment of the community in which she lived. May you all be comforted by her memories.
Rosetta Dudley-Tilghman
December 21, 2010
I am sorry for your loss. What a fine example she set for her children, community and state. May God bless you. Thava Freedman
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