Opal "Sandy" Mae Hendricks Stewart (Holly)

August 6, 1933May 30, 2021

Opal Mae STEWART, age 87, of Bakersfield, California passed away on Sunday, May 30, 2021. Opal was born August 6, 1933 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to parents Burt Young Hendricks and Arvie Betty (Houston).

Opal's Visitation will be held Friday, June 11, 2021 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM in the Hillcrest Memorial Chapel. At Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mortuary, 9101 Kern Canyon Road, Bakersfield, CA 93306. Her Celebration of Life will follow starting at 10:00 AM with a graveside service to follow she will be laid to rest in Sunny Slope garden.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the STEWART family.


  • Visitation

    Friday, June 11, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, June 11, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Friday, June 11, 2021

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Sandy Stewart (Holly) aka Mom was born on August 6, 1933 (same as date as her mother) and left Bakersfield, CA on May 30, 2021 to go live with her son Skip in Heaven.

She left behind her daughter Sandra Neel, son Steven Stewart, and 6 grandchildren; Suzette, Christopher, Billy, Shelby, Steven, and Shane. She also left behind many great-grandchildren that she never really got to meet, unfortunately.

Sandy's birth name is Opal Mae Hendricks, she disliked the name so much she changed it early on to Sandy! She named her one and only daughter Sandra (Sandi) aka little Sandi and she was Big Sandy among the family.

Coming from a musical family of brothers, she was the only daughter of the family to pursue her dreams.

She married Bill Stewart in 1958 (which lasted 9 years) and together they formed a successful refrigeration business in Texas. They both were musicians, Bill was a legendary fiddle player for Hank Thompson at the time. They had three children; Sandi, Steve, and Skip.

Texas to California
Sandy left Texas in 1966 to move to Bakersfield, California, with her three babies and a few clothes. It was where she hoped to be with her sister and start a new life. She quickly discovered she was still on her own, no help from family, so she applied for welfare and food commodities to feed her children.
Her and her children were saved by the Mormon Church members during a time when she had no money, no food, and utilities about to be turned off, the Mormons saved our lives, stepped in and brought food, paid utility bill, and prayed for her little family. She continued to have much respect for these beautiful amazing people for saving her and her children's life in a time of need.

She got her first job in Bakersfield at Mosrite Guitar Builders as assistant to Gene Moles. Gene would later become a good friend and band mate in the Sandy Holly and The Holly Trio. Later Gene would be the arranger and producer of her first recording session.
Upon his untimely death in 2002, she organized a yearly memorial day called, "Gene Moles Day" and the mayor of Bakersfield made it official.
She started her band and quickly found respect in the Bakersfield Country music scene.

She was a professional dressmaker and seamstress for many famous people, and some local famous people. She made her kids clothes and everything from wedding gowns, to school band uniforms, to the Buckaroos uniforms, and of course her own bands uniforms.

While her many talents seem endless, they're really wasn't anything she couldn't do when she set her mind to it, nor afraid to do. She taught us well!

My mom had a very full life, as a single mom, through struggles and happiness we loved our life and we never seen the pain and struggles that she was going through herself. I see it now. We relied upon her for everything, she was our rock and go to when we needed advice or help or just a hug! The woman was a wise, talented, and no nonsense person, who cared and loved like no one I will ever encounter in my life. Her three kids were her life and her every breath.
My Rock!

I miss you my mama, I cared for you when you needed me just as you did me all my life. Little did you know I needed you more.