OPAL LOUISE BROWN DIED MARCH 23, 1998, IN WALLA WALLA,Washington, at the age 84. She was born in Mountain Home
, Idaho. She attended schools in Stanwood, and Bellingham, Washington where she graduated from high school. In 1936 she married Thomas Brown in Seattle. The couple lived in Marysville, Anacortes and Walla Walla, Washington before settling in Milton-Freewater, Oregon in 1970, and re-establishing their iris garden, SUNNNYHILL GARDENS. Opal was a long time active member of the American Iris Society and an Emeritus judge, and was a member of the Walla Walla Iris Society for many years. She began her iris hybridizing in the late 1940's and was the recipient of many iris awards. Her irises were awarded fourteen Awards of Merit; she received the Dykes Medal in 1967 for WINTER OLYMPICS ('64) and the Knowlton Award in 1965 for her border bearded BAYADERE ('62). She was also the winner of the Premio Firenzo Award, Italy, for her ALTAR LIGHT ('54). Opal received the American Iris Society Hybridizer Award
In addition to her irises, Opal dabbled in daffodils for many years. She loved to travel and visited a good portion of the United States as well as Australia, China and Morocco. She was pre-deceased by her husband in 1974. In her honor, the Walla Walla Iris Society has established a memorial garden in Pioneer Park where they plan to plant many of Opal's iris introductions. They imported a stone marker from Ireland which has been inscribed "In Memory of Opal Brown, Irisarian". Opal was widely admired and respected. Her iris creations captured the imagination of iris fanciers world-wide. She will be missed by her many friends in the American Iris Society. ~[Editor's note: this article is a compilation of information from Richard Johnson, Washington, and an article in the Region 13 Newsletter, Fall, 1998. For a more extensive biography, see OPAL BROWN, A Tribute, in the AIS Bulletin, January, 1997.]³
¹Ancestry.com. (subscription required), (https://www.ancestry.com
: accessed 13 January 2019), Ancestry.com. Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
²Ancestry.com. (subscription required), (https://www.ancestry.com
: accessed 13 January 2019), Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014.