Ivan Lindsay OPHEL


Guernsey Number: 21
Career: 1945
NFC Games: 9
NFC Goals: 0
Debut: v North Adelaide (Norwood) 28th April 1945
Finale: v Glenelg (Glenelg) 21st July 1945


After a promising season at half-back for Norwood in 1945, Ivan Ophel concentrated on a career in biology which in 1953 saw him join the new scientific community at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, Deep River, Ontario. 

Born at St Peters on 20 July 1924, the youngest child of Herbert Ophel and his wife Elsie (Dawes), Ivan had four brothers, John, Ralph, Geoff and Len, and a sister, Shirley.

Ivan showed prowess as a runner when, representing All Souls', St Peters, he finished third in the 880 yards open in the Church of England Boys' Society athletics carnival in 1941 - little more than a year before his brother Len was killed on RAAF service in New Guinea.

Ivan was impressive in a Norwood pre-season trial in April 1945.  He was 19th man for the opening match when Norwood, with 10 juniors in its 18, mostly from the colts, upset North Adelaide at Norwood.  In the return match at Prospect in June, Ivan was prominent at half-back, alongside the budding Ivan Holliday, as captain-coach Jack Oatey took Norwood to an unexpected seven-point win, 10.11 to 9.10.  An inconsistent Norwood finished third that year, with West Torrens defeating Port Adelaide for the premiership. 

Educated at Adelaide Technical High School and the University of Adelaide, Ivan began with the Engineering and Water Supply Department as a fitter and turner.  Eight years later, in December 1947, he was granted two-and-a-half years' leave of absence to study water conditions in Oklahoma City, USA, and to do a degree course at Oklahoma University.  He also announced his engagement to Beth May Vincent of Norwood.

Ivan briefly returned to Adelaide but in November 1952 he left for Canada to investigate the effects of atomic wastes on the water supply of the Ottawa River.  He was recommended for the job by his Oklahoma professor and was expected to be away at least four years.  In the event, he lived in Canada for the next three decades until his death in Renfrew, Ontario, in 1983.  He was survived by his widow and children Ann, Judy, David and Kathy

P Robins Jan 2019

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