December 18, 1935 – January 15, 2021 (age 85)

Ellen Haugen Opprecht of Ogden, Utah, died January 15, 2021 of interstitial lung disease; she was 85.

A born romantic raised on the Montana plains, she became a champion for justice and independence for women.

Ellen grew up in a family of six on a ranch on the Milk River known tongue-in-cheek as “The Neversweat.” Among her cherished childhood memories were depleting the battery in the farm truck listening to the Metropolitan Opera, or slipping away to read books in the attic of the chicken coop. She wrote dozens of stories about the period, which were published in a collection titled, “Wild Roses and Prairie Needles.

At the University of Montana, Ellen won academic scholarships and worked in the registrar’s office to pay her way to a bachelor’s degree with honors. Throughout college, she dated her high school sweetheart Keith Opprecht and they married the summer they graduated university. After completing his masters degree, Keith got a job at a new rocket factory north of Brigham City, and Ellen began teaching at Box Elder High.

When their youngest started school, Ellen began teaching at Utah State University. She was completing a masters degree in business when she took a position in the personnel department at Thiokol Chemical. One of her proudest achievements was standing up for fair labor practices in northern Utah in the face of a brisk patriarchal headwind. Her example remains an inspiration to young women.

Later, as a certified financial planner (CFP), she performed contract and pro-bono work in northern Utah, especially for women in the community. She also served as financial advisor to (and board member of) the Ogden Symphony and Ballet Foundation.

Together Ellen and Keith visited every continent, hot-air ballooning in Africa, bungee jumping in New Zealand, and exploring glaciers in Iceland. Until her very last years, she climbed the local mountains with her Power Hikers group, played bridge weekly, managed her CFP business, and was active in the philanthropic organization for women, PEO.

Despite having endured the tragedies of two infant deaths and the lung disease that gradually and literally took her breath away, Ellen considered herself blessed throughout her life.

She was preceded in death by her children Annamarie and Marshall Neil. She is survived by her husband Keith, her children, Kurt, Kerrie and Matthew, and grandchildren.

A virtual celebration of Ellen’s life will be held Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 12:00 noon (MT).  Zoom Meeting ID: 865 3895 6629

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