Remembering Opal Sauve

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, August 10, 2022

I had known Opal Sauve since meeting her as an active member of the Polk County Historical Association (PCHA). Opal also brought a room full of memorabilia to the Green Creek Festival each year. She was a regular columnist for the Tryon Daily Bulletin, writing about events in Green Creek for years.

Unfortunately, the famous Tryon BBQ and the Green Creek Festival could not be sustained when a shortage of volunteers forced their demise! 

Local historian, Anna Conner, gave a program she called first ladies of Polk County. She presented the ladies who were the first to serve: Opal Sauve as County Commissioner, later its Chair; Judy Arledge as Clerk of Court—(I have forgotten the others.) 

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Opal had a stroke a year or more ago that left her paralyzed on her left side. I last saw her here at White Oak Medical, but Jack moved her to a facility in Rutherford County. I had asked him to take me with him when he visited her, but we never got together on that. Now Opal is gone from our midst to dwell forevermore in the house of our Lord. 

All of the Pittman girls are quite pretty, I think . . . they include Opal, the aforementioned Judy Arledge and one Phyllis Martin, whom I join as docent whenever she serves. Phyllis does all the work; I just enjoy visiting with her (I take it as a privilege of being a former President of the PCHA.) 

Opal and Jack raised a handful of boys who have become fine upstanding citizens. Jack served in the Air Force for years, so the boys were AF brats growing up. Jack owned both an airplane and an RV, so the family enjoyed their travels everywhere. (Reminds me of the song sung by Johnny Cash, “I’ve been everywhere, man!”) They lived in Alaska for many years. 

Jack and I were both active members of the Air Force Association, attending local chapter meetings together for some years. We enjoyed swapping flying stories as we drove to meetings; I was a frequent guest in their home as a consequence. 

The Sauve home is next to the small McFarland cemetery which contains “Granny Mac,” who put together a brush arbor “church” and invited a Spartanburg Presbyterian pastor to come preach. Opal, Fran and I were among several others who began in that little cemetery the survey of all cemeteries in Polk County, later published by PCHA.

Al Creasy and Kathy Taft were the persistent, long-term workers who completed the monumental task. Their book is available at the PCHA Museum in the lower level of the Feagan building in Columbus. When I reviewed the book, I called it a “good read,” for I found many family members and friends listed therein. Reading that book is a walk down memory lane for anyone who has relatives and friends buried in Polk County.  

Opal organized a gathering of graduates of the Green Creek school in 2013. They met in the WPA-built gymnasium, still standing. The school itself had a flat roof, which caved in under the weight of a big snowfall in the Blizzard of 1993.

Opal was an active historian and promoted her Green Creek heritage faithfully while she was able. I hate to have to say au revoir to one of my staunchest friends, and I must say, one of the lovelier ones, too!                

 Garland would like to hear from you at 828-859-7041 or garlandgoodwin7@gmail.com.