Yale '62 - Obituaries - John Patrick Opladen

John Patrick Opladen

Born: December 18,1936
Died: March 27, 2002

John Opladen was born in Brooklyn, son of Florence Margaret Eckart and John Frederick Opladen. A 1954 graduate of Brooklyn Preparatory School, he attended Yale with the Class of 1958 until the Spring of 1955. John then joined the U. S. Army, serving in Hawaii, Japan and Korea. He was a corporal upon discharge.

He returned to New Haven briefly with the Class of 1961 before joining our Class in September 1960 and graduating with us in June 1962.

John was an Economics Major, a ranking scholar and a resident of Calhoun College, where he was a member of the social committee and on the college crew and football squad. His athletic career was notable, in fact, for spanning 8 years: he earned his freshman football numerals in 1954 and then rowed on the varsity 150 pound crew in 1962. John was also a member of Phi Gamma Delta and the More Club.

After Yale John obtained his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1972. He worked in sales and marketing for Coca Cola, rising to become Eastern Regional Sales Manager until he took early retirement. He then taught business and finance at Wilmington College, Wilmington, Delaware.

John eventually switched his career to acting. In his words, it was all by accident:

"I was coming out of my house one morning and a neighbor, who was a commercial photographer, said he needed someone to be a doctor. He said the guy he was going to use finked out on him. ... All I had to do was put on a white coat, hold up an X-ray and look like I knew what I was doing. I didn't know beans about modeling. I got $600 for two, three hours of work and was hooked."

By 2000, as our Class Scribe Kirk MacDonald observed in his April 2000 YAM Class Note, John had performed in eight plays and had been an extra in 15 movies including "Rocky V" (a ring side spectator), "Philadelphia" (a doctor again) and the TV series "Homicide&qupt; (a priest). A resident of Philadelphia, he also modeled colonial garb for Historic Philadelphia, Inc., for many summers while serving as a goodwill ambassador in the city's historic district. Between acting and modeling engagements, he continued to teach business courses at St. Joseph's and Drexel Universities in Philadelphia.

John's marriage to Maidie Franklin terminated in divorce. They had one son, John P., Jr., who is presently a First Lieutenant in the 10th Mountain Division. John, Jr., was at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan when his father died and flew back for his funeral. He is presently stationed at Fort Drum, New York and was recently married to Catherine Lapsley. In addition to his son, John leaves a brother Thomas, Class of 1966, of Larchmont, New York, who supplied information for this obituary.

Following his funeral, John's ashes were interred in Arlington National Cemetery.