Barbara Opal

Institute for Social Research remembers Barbara Opal, a long-time member of the ISR community

January 26, 2023

Contact: Jon Meerdink ([email protected])

ANN ARBOR — A valuable member of the Institute for Social Research community has passed away. Barbara Opal, who worked for the University of Michigan for 50 years, died on Thursday, January 19, 2023. She was 68.

Opal spent nearly all of her career in ISR’s Center for Political Studies (CPS), first working there in 1972. She worked with every director of the Center dating back to Warren Miller, who founded CPS in 1970. 

Opal devoted her career to helping others accomplish their goals and maximize their impact at ISR and CPS. She assisted faculty and staff with many tasks, such as with their domestic and international travel, hosting speakers, and handling materials needed for research. She also helped international visitors with their orientation at U-M and within the Ann Arbor community, and worked to schedule annual conferences and lectures at ISR and CPS. 

Outside of her work at the University, Opal was generous with her time and was a devoted hobbyist. She was a talented poker player and regularly participated in charity poker tournaments. She enjoyed her dogs, doing puzzles, and sightseeing. 

Opal will be interred at Washtenong Memorial Park in Ann Arbor. A memorial service in her honor has been scheduled for Saturday, February 11 at 12:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Senior Center.

Her family has asked that memorial donations be given to the American Cancer Society in her name. 

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