Mollie E. (Ehrlich) Opper
1896 – 8 August 1924
Mollie was born in Russia and came to the US with her family in 1907. On the 1910 census, she was listed as the oldest of 4 surviving children (of 8 born) of Joseph and Goldie (Chodor) Ehrlich. In September 1912 when she was still quite young – about 16 years old – she married Nathan Opper, a young man some 5 years her senior. According to his 1910 census record, he worked at the time as a house painter. The marriage took place in Wisconsin but by the time their son Emanuel was born in December of 1913, they were back in Chicago.
I can’t find a 1920 census for them and so the next thing we know about Mollie is that she had died at only 27 years old when her only child, called Manny, was 11 years old. Mollie died in Chicago but at some point after her death, Nathan and Manny moved out to California. Sadly, Nathan died just four years after his wife in October 1928 when Manny was not quite fifteen years old.
Mollie and Nathan’s headstones are very similar, made in a somewhat modernist take on the treestump style out of dark red stone, each with a beautiful cameo portrait. Nathan’s stone, though, has had much more trouble over the years with the cameo becoming damaged and at some point in the last 6 years the whole stone getting knocked flat on its back, probably by tree branches falling.
Unlike his parents, Manny lived to old age, dying in 1984 at the age of 70. According to his obituary, Manny grew up to work in show business, doing stand-up comedy and working in radio and TV as an actor, writer, producer, and director. Among the luminaries he wrote for were Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Henny Youngman, Lucille Ball, and Jimmy Durante. He later owned several McDonalds restaurants in Syracuse, New York, and St. Louis, Missouri, along with his wife Eleanor who predeceased him by two years. They are buried in Syracuse where they lived for many years.
RIP Opper family