Opal McAhren Beard, 96, Sheridan, passed away Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 6, 2019 at Riverview Health in Noblesville.
Born in Pickard, Ind. on April 30, 1923, she was the daughter of the late James Ester and Lillie Mae (Baker) McAhren.
On April 4, 1945, she married the love of her life, James Brooks Beard.
During WWII, she would take the bus over to Anderson to work for Delco Remy. She would later hire on with Biddle Screw Factory in Sheridan and retire from Fred's Frozen Foods. One of the jobs she was most well-known for (at least in this part of the county) was making pies for Guy Barrick's restaurant on Main Street in Sheridan. The restaurant stood where Carey on Main currently sits. Mrs. Beard was also an Avon lady for many years. She loved visiting with the families that she called on over the years.
Mrs. Beard was known as one of the area’s better foragers. Her specialty was mushroom hunting, but it didn't stop there. Apples, raspberries, elderberries, dandelion greens . . . you name it. If you could eat it, she knew were a patch of it was growing. She loved the thrill of the hunt. Searching along the railroad tracks and the fence rows of neighboring fields, most of the backyards from Pickard to Sheridan, and a whole lot of secret mushroom spots that nobody will ever know about, she was in her element. Mrs. Beard was also a master gardener. Whether she found it or grew it, you knew it would end up in something delicious. Black raspberry jelly and persimmon pudding were her specialties.
She also enjoyed sewing and traveling. If her girls and Aunt Betty were up for a trip, so was she. Didn't matter where they were off to, it was going to be an adventure.
She was member of the Sheridan First Christian Church for more than 70 years and a member of the Sheridan American Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary.
Above all else Mrs. Beard was a kind and gentle soul who poured her heart into parenting her children and her many grandchildren. There was nothing more important in this world than her family.
Survivors include her son, James Brooks Beard, Jr. of Nashville; three daughters, Dena M. Beard of Sheridan, Linda L. Sutton of Westfield, and Opal Lynn Napoli of Sheridan; 10 grandchildren, Joshua B. Beard, Nicholas L (Belinda) Beard, Jama L (Steve) Barker, Marie (Dave) Grace, Michael K. Sutton, Larry L. Beard, Jon F. (Beth) Bess, Sean B. (Karen) Sutton, Gabrielle (Ryan) Gough and Celeste (Tim Cullinan) Napoli; 20 great-grandchildren; and 6 great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; and by her son-in-law Timothy Kent Sutton.
Services are scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 at Kercheval Funeral Home, 306 E. 10th St. in Sheridan. Family and friends may pay their respects from 4 p.m. until the time of service.