Laurel Jane Delbrail Oppelt passed away at her home in La Coste on December 11, 2022 at the age of 87. She was born October 2, 1935 at her grandmother, Allie Laura Brown Delbrail Winter’s home in Moore, Texas to Lester Delbrail and Edith Coggins Delbrail.
Laurel lived in a log cabin built in 1881 by her great-grandfather, Edward Cullen Brown. She attended Moore School until the age of twelve years, at which time she and her sister, Billie, began to attend school in Devine. Her family later moved to Devine, Texas and Laurel graduated from Devine High School in 1953. She attended San Antonio Community College and the Week End Program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. On June 19, 1954, Laurel married James Anthony Oppelt at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Devine.
Laurel had a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Aside from her professional career, she always made time for her children and grandchildren. After retirement, Laurel began to help with Our Lady of Grace Church in La Coste and assisted with the Mission Church in the Meadow Wood Acres Community. She made home visits, taking the Eucharist to the elderly and sick. When the Community building was sold at auction for back taxes, Laurel was instrumental in bringing the hardship to the attention of Archbishop Patrick Flores who gave the assignment of raising $5,000 towards paying for the mission. Under the direction of Msgr. Thomas Palmer, the committee raised $10,000, and St. John Vianney was consecrated on November 2, 2000. Mass is now celebrated there on Holy Days and Sundays. Laurel served as a Eucharistic minister, lector, and taught religious education. In 2011, she wrote a history booklet about Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church to commemorate their 100-year anniversary.
In 2005, she published a poem “God Hears Our Prayers”. Laurel was co-chairman for publishing the Medina County History Book Volume II in 2014. She was an accomplished artist and genealogist and enjoyed researching, writing, and painting. With her genealogy skills, she researched her ancestors, Roger Williams and Chad Brown, who were among her early ancestors of New England and founded the Baptist Church in the new world. Another ancestor, Clark Brown, served as quartermaster of Rhode Island in the American Revolution. Laurel is a fifth generation Texan, and her connection began in 1844 when Henri Castro led her Alsatian ancestors to Medina County. Laurel was a founding member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Alsatian Pioneers Chapter, serving as treasurer, cemetery chairman, and VP of programs. Laurel and her DRT sisters were responsible for erecting the Citizens Medallion and Cenotaph paying tribute to the Agustin Weber family for the contributions in settling Medina County. Before moving to her home in Medina County, Laurel served as a docent at the Institute of Texan Cultures.
She loved to travel and visited every state in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. She toured most all the states and provinces in Canada and Mexico and visited England, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Austria, The Czech Republic, Belgium, and the Vatican City. She has now traveled through the Pearly Gates in Heaven and beyond.
Laurel is preceded in death by her husband, James A. Oppelt; her parents, Lester Delbrail and Edith Delbrail Kirkwood; brothers, William ‘Buddy’ Delbrail (Barbara) and an unnamed infant brother; sisters, Betty Mann (Jake) and Janice McGill; brother-in-law, Glen Stewart and numerous other in-laws.
Survivors include her son, Mark (Peggy) Oppelt of La Coste; daughter, Marci Oppelt Thwing (Caleb Haynes) of New Braunfels; grandchildren, Jim Oppelt (Lindsay), Sara Peters (Brian), Hannah Oppelt, James Thwing (Rachel), Clayton Thwing, and Laurie Swanson (Max); great-grandchildren, Lena Oppelt and James Thwing; sisters, Bernice ‘Poppy’ Stewart and Billie Toalson (Charles); and numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
Visitation will be Monday, December 19, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Tondre-Guinn Funeral Home. The Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in La Coste. Inurnment will be at Moore Memorial Cemetery in Moore, Texas.
Memorials may be made in Laurel’s memory to Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church or the Mission Church St. John Vianney.
Arrangements by Tondre-Guinn Funeral Home. Visit www.tondre-guinn.com.