Claremore Daily Progress

Obituaries

June 22, 2014

La Fern Douglas

CLAREMORE — I lost my Mother, my dearest friend, my greatest ally, and my ardent champion, La Fern Douglas, age 81, on the morning of June 16, 2014, at her home in Sherman, Texas, following a protracted and painful physical condition which finally found its remedy in the wee hours of that Monday morning.

La Fern was born on May 17, 1933 in Sparks, Okla., to a dairy farmer and his wife, Gordon and Eva Smith.  Very shortly after her birth the family moved to Claremore,.

She always felt blessed having her older sister, Melva, and the girls were forever as close as any pair of best friends could be.  They grew up loving every moment of life in their rural home and on the farm.  Those agrarian values and post-depression era challenges instilled in them a profound and lasting love of the land and for all living things, and to also genuinely and humbly appreciate having the necessities of life.  Nothing was taken for granted. La Fern graduated from Claremore High School, in 1950, and went to work for the First National Bank of Claremore, as Secretary to the bank President, Mr. Arthurs.  A position she held and enjoyed for several years.

In the Spring of 1953, she married Arendell “Jim” Hamm and instantly became mother to his young daughter, Donna.  It was during this period she became a lifetime member in the National Quarter Horse Association, joined the Claremore Round-Up Club, and took an active interest in raising horses, as well as becoming a great fan of Country Music, especially Merle Haggard. She enjoyed all things equine and loved watching the horses run in open pasture, to her that was poetry in motion and an expression of total freedom.  Her favorite horse was a sorrel mare named “Baby” with whom she and Jim shared a very unique bond.

She later married James L. “Bud” Douglas, and the pace never slowed.  At this time she made Sherman her home.  She went to work for Merchants & Planters National Bank and later, Grayson County State Bank.  Our house was always alive with music, I remember being taught the “two-step” to a Bob Wills number in the kitchen at age 8, and how I thought everyone’s mom knew the words to “Harper Valley PTA” like mine did.  When Bud preceded her in death, La Fern shifted her attention to directly caring for her own mother for many years until her passing.  And of course, she never ceased labor on her project to turn me into a productive citizen. This was also when she developed her interest in Pembroke Welsh Corgi Dogs. These creatures became her great passion and they became her constant companions to the end.  Dugan and Baby were right beside her when she departed this world in peace.

LaFern loved to dance, sing, cook, sew, can and preserve, bottle-feed colts and calves, and whelp pups.  She always maintained an open-door policy to her home for all of her friends and relatives no matter the circumstances.  Friends, or new acquaintances alike, were always made welcome in my mother’s house. I never knew what I would find being nursed back to health in the living room or whom to expect for dinner on any given night, but I could always count on an endless supply of love and affection from a mother that defined the finest qualities of that term every time I entered the room.  

The Holiday Season was her favorite time of the year and I have the past electric bills to show for it. The long upheld holiday decorating policy was, “if it lights-up, plug-it in and leave it on!” Her energy and zest for life was in everything she set about to do and always with a style that matched her enthusiasm.  Even as the debilitating pain of her condition became more unbearable toward the end of her journey, it never diminished her humor, wit, and spirit.  Her only running complaint was that she could no longer wear high heels, which were a trademark of her wardrobe.  However, the hair and make-up still remained a daily ritual till the end.

LaFern was preceded in death by the parents she adored, her beloved sister Melva and Melva’s husband Gail Kellehan, who was like a true brother to my mother.  Also within this last year she lost her little feisty Abby and Lily, her dearest Corgi Companions.  What a great reunion that will be, I am certain.  Godspeed Mom.

She is survived by me, her son, Jim Douglas, of Sherman.  I never knew lonesome and blue felt like this, but for the pain-free bliss she knows now, I’ll find a way to cope with it, rather than ever witness her suffer another day of what the pain had recently become.

Also surviving are Donna Lane and her husband Mark of Marshall, Arkansas, and a niece who had become a daughter, Nancy Little and her husband Scott of Claremore, Okla., nephew Allen Kellehan and his wife Pam of Claremore, Okla., nephew Ron Kellehan and his wife Anita of Verdigris, Okla..  Her treasured friend, Jim Hamm of Marshall, Arkansas. And, “a second son” as she referred to him, David M. Stagner, of Sherman, TX, who gave her the nickname of “LD” years ago that many of her friends became accustomed to calling her.

And she leaves behind her cherished Corgi companions, Dugan, Duncan, Matlock, Pepper, Harley, Eva, Katy, Jesse, Baby, and Keely.

Mother had two very special friends who provided loving and gracious assistance to her in the home during these last few years, Mrs. Patricia Shelby and Mrs. Sue Brown, both of whom offered much comfort to her in the time they spent with her. I would like to personally thank Dr. Maneeb Mellem and his staff, especially Sonya, for Mom’s marvelous primary medical care and many thanks also goes to Outreach Health Services, especially Hope Younger, RN, for her devotion to Mom’s in-home health care. And great thanks to the folks at the Kroger Pharmacy in Sherman for always getting it done right and on time, in such a warm and personal way.

In lieu of flowers, Mom requested that if anyone were so inclined to remember her in a meaningful way, to please make a memorial donation to the North Texas Corgi Rescue at:

NTPWCF Inc.

C/O Abby Grube Treasurer

10125 Stoneleigh Drive

Benbrook, TX 76126

La Fern was a member of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Sherman.  She held steadfast to her faith in God, especially when reassuring anyone facing great adversity, personal injustice, or abuse of power, that truth and love will always prevail to hold the day.  During her own trials and tribulations in life she believed prayer was what sustained her through the hardship. Her human faults, flaws, and foibles were just as common to her as they are to any of us, and she was quick to tell you hers.  But, for some reason though, I am not able to recall what any of them were.  Her family would like to thank her Pastor, the Reverend James Crawford and his wife Delpha for always being gentle, kind, and true caring ministers of the Christian Faith when called upon.

As a family, we also sincerely thank Mrs. Pat Dannel, and her genteel staff at Dannel Funeral Home in Sherman, for the genuine respect they demonstrated upon arriving at the family residence for the task at hand.  Their empathy and calm demeanor made that last exit from the home on Birge Street a dignified event.

A candid and joyful reflection on LaFern’s life is scheduled for around 2:00 p.m., on Friday, July 11, 2014, in the Westwood Pentecostal Church at 605 Westwood Drive, Claremore, Okla. 74017, or for directions enroute call 918-341-3140.  Reverend John Chance of the church will conduct the occasion.  

I could have penned you a book about my Mother, but the first and last line of that book would have simply read:  “No one will ever love you like your Mother.” Nothing else I could have written about her would put into perspective the magnitude of my loss better than that.

Arrangements are under the direction of Dannel Funeral Home in Sherman.  LaFern’s registry book may be signed at the funeral home, or online at www.dannelfuneralhome.com.

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