Larry Larkin

All of my life I have been surrounded by ladies. The list starts with my mother and follows with a love-filled cadence of grandmother, several aunts, and a sister, a soulmate in form of my wife, two daughters, three granddaughters, and now a great-granddaughter.

Each has been a blessing.

Over the years these family members have meant so much to me. At the same time I have been fortunate to have come in contact with several other wonderful female Claremore citizens.

So today’s column is devoted to 10 of them that I consider myself lucky and happy to have crossed paths.

Elizabeth Gordon – She was probably the one I was around the least. Fact is I was kind of scared of her. Not really…well a little? The town’s first female mayor and a go-getter full time. She was involved in every project possible, all for the betterment of her community.

Jerol LeGate – I don’t care how many people were in a room, you would always know when she came in. She had a special way of brightening any occasion. Jerol was funny and delightful and always a faithful diehard Oklahoma State University alumnus. She was so fun to be around.

Paula Love – This lady may have been small in size but she stood tall as the first and long-time curator at the Will Rogers Memorial. Will’s great-niece, she devoted her full time to the facility. She apparently took a special liking to a 22-year-old Progress reporter (me) and went out of the way to help him.

Dorothy McKeever – While serving as Claremore’s junior high librarian, Mrs. Mac was the first person I would seek when needing school history. Her Zebra Yearbook selection was top notch.

Honey Markham – Jail matron for Sheriff Amos Ward, Honey was a special treat. Men were known to get arrested and thrown in jail on purpose just to enjoy the meals she cooked for prisoners. Her fried chicken was tops. Despite the crime, she treated prisoners as humans while they did the time.

June Purdom – Had I ever been a contestant on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” TV show, this soft spoken lady would have been the one with the right answer. She was so smart. A teacher with a talent for making studies interesting, June also found time to serve as a city council member.

Pat Reeder – Little Miss Know-it-All and I say that with much affection. She was “Miss Claremore Progress” serving as reporter and then news editor for more than 30 years. It was her business to know things. When she was retiring the staff planned a surprise farewell party. Why they thought it would surprise her is beyond me. Like stated, she knew everything going on.

Rose Walker – With husband Mickey and brother-in-law M.C., Rose owned Walker Bros. Furniture. She would have made a perfect Mrs. Santa Claus…so sweet with a beautiful personality. Maybe the boys moved the merchandise around the floors, but she was the one that kept those fun-loving guys in check.

Charlene Webber – Need something done, call Charlene and stand back. For years now she has been moving in all directions while successfully serving in numerous city projects and social events. This pretty lady can accomplish any task.

Elsie Wofford - What a kind and sweet lady. She reminded me of my grandmother, not in looks but in style and grace. Serving as Rogers County Court Clerk, she must have taken pity on the young reporter (me again) stumbling though court record books. She was a tremendous help in a way I can never forget.

So this is my list of wonderful ladies that hold special memories. I wish all of you had the opportunity to know each one. Claremore is a better place today because of them.

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