Leola moved from Purcell, Oklahoma, to Weatherford, Texas, in 1998 to be closer to her two sons. The first 8o years of her life were spent in Oklahoma where she taught school at Wayne and Norman. Leaving Oklahoma friends was hard, but she quickly made new friends in Weatherford, with her daily walks, and in her churches.
She had an unquenchable curiosity about God and his creation……….She was a member of Northside Baptist Church. At one time or another she probably attended every church in Weatherford. She went wherever the spirit called her, and she didn’t believe God asked you the church you attended, but looked into your heart.
She was fascinated by birds, and butterflies that she raised for years. At one time she had over 40 bluebird houses on the family farm in Paoli, Oklahoma, and recorded each house’s number of birds and broods. Her goal was to repopulate the diminishing bluebird population. Husband Lee D. made the bird houses and put them up for her…Each house location was carefully logged and monitored. At her Weatherford residence butterfly bushes she held an annual Monarch butterfly migration convention when they came flying through. She helped supply the Fort Worth Zoo with butterfly caterpillars so the school children could watch them change from an ugly caterpillar into a beautiful Monarch butterfly.
She taught elementary school and high school business courses for 35 years in Oklahoma. She was an avid painter, gardener, and went to Weatherford College at the age of 86 to study painting and art. She obtained her masters degree from the University of Oklahoma. Her son Jim had to get her off the roof at the age of 80 because she was fixing the shingles.
She was an extraordinary woman who brought positive energy into our world on earth and I’m sure will be doing the same in heaven. Her ashes will be interred in Paoli, Oklahoma, alongside her precious Lee D., at 1pm March 22, and another at the Willingham family plot, on top of her mother, Dionitia, in Broken Bow cemetery at 1pm March 23.