A celebration of the life of Jess C. Stonebarger will be 10:00 a.m., Thursday, March 6, 2014 at Faith Baptist Church. Visitation will be Wednesday from 1-7 at the funeral home with family receiving visitors from 5-7. Burial will follow at Oakhaven Cemetery. Jess passed away on Thursday, February 27, 2014. He was 87.
Born in Braggs, OK on March 6, 1926 to Wesley and Melinda (Salyer) Stonebarger, Jess took care of his family from the age of 14 years. In 1943 Jess joined and proudly served his country as a cook in the United States Navy during World War II. This enlistment allowed Jess to continue taking care of his mother and sister by sending home his earnings.
On January 24, 1948 Jess married the love of his life, Betty or “Mert” Fuller in a ceremony in Muskogee, OK. Their union was blessed with three sons, Larry, Gary and Bill. In 1964 the Claremore area became home. Then in 1968 the young couple purchased a home on Dupont, Jess loved that home and loved working on it with his own two hands.
Jess began his career in the aerospace industry and was proud to have worked on the infamous Hound Dog Missiles and NASA rockets that sent monkeys into space. He then went on to work as a mechanic for American Airlines until he retired in 1984 after 17 years of employment.
Family was an important part of Jess’s life. He loved taking care of his children and spoiling his beloved wife Mert, often buying her jewelry. A hard working man, Jess raised cattle, pigs and chickens to help feed his family. He enjoyed gardening and planted vegetables, wheat and other crops as well. Gardening was one of Jess’s favorite pastimes and he continued until his health began to fail him at age of 75. Another one of his interests were rental properties, being a shrewd businessman Jess bought homes from the old Tulsa airport and moved them to Claremore. He would spend countless hours working on them unless a baseball game was coming on tv, then he would close up shop rather quickly and head for his recliner.
Jess loved children and worked many years as a Little League coach. He was instrumental in the opening of Powers Park. The park was going to carry the Stonebarger name but Jess, because of his longtime friendship with Harry Powers, was insistent that it carry the name of his dear friend. He was enthused to be able to share his love of baseball with children. Selfless and always one to take care of others, Jess often paid the insurance fee for children that otherwise would not have the money.
As a coach, he also lived by the rule that if you suited up, you played. He always supported the underdog, many times having those with special needs on his team, insuring that those children were able to participate.
This loving father and grandfather will be missed by all whose lives he touched. Jess is survived by his children Larry Stonebarger and wife Trudy, Gary Stonebarger and wife Sharon, and Bill Stonebarger and wife Teri; grandchildren Melissa Vanderhoof, Zac Trosky and wife Amanda, Rebecca Stonebarger, Jesse Sixkiller and wife Andrea, Tami Wooten and husband Glenn, Sabrina Stonebarger, Bryan Sixkiller and wife Lisa, Amanda Stonebarger, Jenny Marti and Timothy Stonebarger; 17 adoring great grandchildren; sister Margaret Hayes; and numerous nieces and nephews. Jess was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Betty “Mert” Stonebarger, his parents, granddaughter Jaime Trosky, six brothers and two sisters.