Opal Olivia Skilling nee Bannert (1924-2014) was born in Saskatchewan. She was raised on her family homestead. She came from a strong socialist background. Her father was a member of the CCF and served as a School Board Trustee, and her brothers were union members. In 1943 she married miner Robert Skilling in Grand Forks. They couple settled in Vancouver. In 1950, Opal took her first job, and a unionized one, at Odeon Theatre as a cashier. By 1946, she was switchboard receptionist at the IWA Woodworker Hall. She started working for the Bank of Montreal in 1955 and became Secretary-Treasuer of the Bank Employees Association Local 389. She was approached by the Union to help organize the Bank. A 5-year struggle failed after a ruling mandating unionization of all branches or none. In 1960, she became Chair of the Office and Technical Employees Union (OTEU) organizing committee, and later Secretary-Treasurer for the rest of her career. Canadian Office and Professional Employees (COPE 15) made her an Honorary Lifetime Member. Skilling spent her last years in Grand Forks near her sons.