Mary “Opal” Earley


Mary “Opal” Earley entered her heavenly home Wednesday, June 28, 2017, after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. She had resided at the Franklin United Methodist Community for over 20 years and was lovingly cared for by the Advanced Health Care staff until her final breath.

She was a true definition of a minister’s wife for over 50 years, as she journeyed this life with her true love, the Rev. William Earley. Together they served United Methodist congregations as “Bill and Opal” in Pleasantville, Merom, Graysville, Cicero, Arcadia, Dearborn Hills and Martinsville.

They also spent many years in missions service at Servants in Faith and Technology in rural Alabama and at the McCurdy School in Espanola, New Mexico. They were instrumental advocates and workers in the Emmaus Community.

Together they led multiple trips to Israel and the Holy Land. Their final journey together as Bill and Opal was to the opening of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., a gift from their daughters Sharyn and Gayle and their husbands. As a team, they were humble and grateful members of The Greatest Generation.

Opal was born July 7, 1927, in Southport, North Carolina, to Willie and Mary Alma Suggs. She was the oldest of six children. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, two daughters, one brother and one sister.

She is survived by daughters, Sharyn Kersey and husband Eric, and Gayle Stultz and husband, Jack; grandchildren, Ryan Stultz, Maj. Adam Kersey (U.S. Army), Jennifer Davis, Lanny Foster and Larry Foster; 11 great-grandchildren and a special friend and caregiver, Sherrell Clark; siblings, Junior and Ronald Suggs and Janice Chestnut all survive in Opal’s beloved city of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Opal would want any person who reads this to please remember the timeless words of John Wesley, “Do No Harm. Do Good. Stay in Love with God.”

A private family celebration will be held July 1, 2017, in Martinsville, with Rev. Eric Kersey officiating.

The family has requested that Memorials in Opal’s name be made to the Franklin United Methodist Community/Benevolent Fund at 1070 W Jefferson St., Franklin IN 46131.