The Woodward News


July 2, 2013

Dessie Roberta (Parks) Stephenson

Woodward, Okla. — Dessie Roberta (Parks) Stephenson, the 8th child of Julius and Belva (Findley) Parks, was born May 22, 1919, at the family home in Commanche County, southeast of Coldwater, Kansas.  Her family came from sturdy pioneer stock; her grandfather having drove a mess wagon for George Custer’s survey crew when surveying the western United States prior to settlement.  Her parents moved from St. John, Kansas looking for farmland and a better way of life.  Sisters Dorothy, twins Verda and Vella, brothers Buck, Dick, Jack and Pete welcomed sister Dessie.  Two more brothers, Martin and Rex came several years later.  Dessie grew up on the family farm doing all the chores farm kids do.  She attended school at “TinTop” then High School in Coldwater.  Her parents, not having the opportunity for much schooling, encouraged all their children to pursue their educational endeavors.  She began college at NW at Alva, Oklahoma, to become a lab technician.  Dessie loved flying and was one of two women accepted into the Women’s Ferrying Service in 1939.   In 1939, Dessie went home with a college friend, Ruth DeMoss, from Webb, Oklahoma.  Not wanting to miss a date with her boyfriend, she tried to make a blind date with a neighbor boy for Dessie. After having seen her at church on Sunday, they all went to the Epperly’s for lunch.  They were, of course, chaperoned by Howard’s younger sister and husband, Doris & Woodrow Gore. During the 1940’s Howard began making many trips to Alva while the sounds of war rumbled in Europe.  Howard suffered many pranks from all Dessie’s brothers, but he still kept coming back.  He was drafted January of 1941.   He had “popped the question” and she said “yes”.  So with the help of his brother-in-law, Albert Meyer, they hurridly built a home.  After Pearl Harbor was attacked, fearing he would be recalled, they changed their wedding date to December 20, 1941.  With wedding gifts, like heifers, laying hens, and a cellar full of fruits and vegetables, they were ready for life on the farm.  Brother Buck had taught her how to make gravy.  They established their home northeast of Webb, where they raised cattle, wheat, broomcorn, cotton, and 5 children: Elin Rose, Lance Parke, Nelda Marie, Kirk Fred, and Belva Ann.  Dessie was a stay-at-home mom, cooking 3 meals a day, washing dishes and clothes by hand; milking cows twice a day, also by hand.  Later a milking machine was added to allow more time in the fields! haha  Dessie was converted as a young college girl. She was musically inclined, so she put her talents to good use at her new church nestled in the blackjacks.  She instilled this love of music in her children. We had a piano which she and all her girls then learned to play.  All the kids sing and play some instrument.  She never missed the “Lawrence Welk Show” on Saturday nights.  Dessie was not one to waste time.  If she ever sat down she was either milking, reading, embroidering or crocheting rugs for the floors.  Dessie and Howard were good stewards of the land, very concerned about soil erosion, and were one of the first to build terraces and pond dams.  Having married a farmer/rancher, Dessie got to do the outdoor things that meant so much to her: riding horses and working with cattle.  However, cotton was never her “cup of tea”!  This love of the land and way of life was handed from their parents that also thought this was a great way to live and raise a family.  Bible study was a part of their daily lives. Their hearts and home were open to missionaries and visiting preachers.  One of the highlights of their lives was a trip to the Holy Land in 1976 to see where their Savior had walked.  Money was tight in their early married lives, but in later years, after practicing good stewardship (and a little oil well), they took several trips, mostly farm tours.  They were generous, and helped their children and especially their grandchildren, sending most of them to college.  Did I mention Dessie and Howard accepted their sons- and daughters-in law as their own?  And their love was returned in large measure.  Children flocked to Dessie like ducks to water. There was generally one or two in tow at all times. For her 50th school reunion, when asked to write a capsule of her life, she wrote “Life has not been boring. It has been a full life, and I’ve been much happier than I deserved.  Through the years I have learned to believe and trust in my Lord and Savior.  I am glad to say like Joshua of old, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’.  In recalling the events of the last 50 years, I must say the good times far outnumbered the lousy times”.  In their later years you never saw them but what they weren’t together, which usually meant he needed gates opened.

But as we came to realize, Howard was having several health issues.  Dessie cared for him faithfully “til death did they part” in Feburary 1997.   Dessie has celebrated her birthdays since 1980 amongst family, friends and neighbors at the Webb Reunion, which her kids started for her 80th birthday.   Dessie was preceded in death by her parents, 3 sisters, 6 brothers. Howard preceded her in 1997, followed by grdson-in-law Charlie Whitmarsh, gt-grdson, Jesse Rae Mabra and grddau Lana Whitmarsh Ramsey.  Dessie is survived by daughter Elin Bryant & hb Don, son Lance & wf Jeannie, dau Nelda Crispin & hb Chris, son Kirk & wf Louise, dau Belva Mabra & hb Allen. 9 grdchildren as well as the rest of the community came to call them Granny and Papa. Cara & hb Greg, Stephen, Neal & wf Monica, Lana’s hb Demspey, Fred & wf Amy, Kim & hb Eric, Jason & wf Sarah, Clayton & wf Amanda and Ben. 18 g-gchildren Tessa, Brandon, Desiree, Brant, Katie, Lyle, Miah, Jack, Luke, Hope, Emily, Silas, Nolan, Autumn, Marshall, Triniti and Gracie. 3 gt gt-grdchildren Ryan, Cash and Sophia, as well as many nieces, nephews & friends who are expecting to join her, the rest of the Saints and our Savior soon.

Funeral services were held on Saturday June 29, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at te Webb Baptist Church, Webb, Oklahoma with interment following in Webb Cemetery, Webb, Oklahoma and a Homecoming Celebration held at Free Will Baptist Church, Woodward, Oklahoma at 2:00 p.m. Condolences may be made to the family and Memorial Tribute viewed at

Text Only
  • Doris Joy (Smith) Bunker

    Doris Joy (Smith) Bunker went to be with her Lord and Savior on April 21, 2014. She was born on June 24, 1924 in Alden, Kansas to Isaac W. and Lola A. (Conley) Smith. She was the middle child of five children in the family. Being the only girl made it a fair bet that she was a little spoiled.

    April 24, 2014

  • Travis S. Travis Keith Schickedanz

    Travis Keith Schickedanz, 42 of Amarillo, passed away on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. A Funeral Service is scheduled for 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, April 25, 2014 at First Baptist Church with Rev. Jerry Howe, pastor of the church, officiating and Donna Johnson assisting. Graveside Service will follow at 4 o'clock in the afternoon at Fargo Cemetery in Fargo, OK. Arrangements are entrusted to Morrison Funeral Directors.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Keith Miller Keith Dale Miller

    Keith Dale Miller, 71, passed away April 13, 2014, in Roseville, CA, after fighting Picks Disease.  He was born in Woodward and graduated from Woodward High School in 1960.  He went on to college and graduated from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles.  He spent nearly 40 years in education: teaching English, Coaching and Counseling.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maudie Lea Cleveland Bradbury

    Maudie Lea Cleveland Bradbury was born on December 16, 1925 to Mary Vernia Elizabeth (White) Cleveland and Willie Carl “Bill” Cleveland at home , 9 miles NW of Gage, OK. She departed this life on April 18, 2014 in Oklahoma City at the age of 88 years, 4 months and 2 days. was born on December 16, 1925 to Mary Vernia Elizabeth (White) Cleveland and Willie Carl “Bill” Cleveland at home , 9 miles NW of Gage, OK. She departed this life on April 18, 2014 in Oklahoma City at the age of 88 years, 4 months and 2 days. Maudie grew up on the home place at Gage, where her playmates included her brother, several dogs, horses, cats, birds, a special runt pig, as well as many cousins and other relatives. She attended a country school until 7th grade, when she went to school at Gage, and where she graduated in 1943.

    April 24, 2014

  • dvd035.jpg Denton Edward Kauk

    Denton Edward Kauk 36 year old from Vega, TX died on April 19, 2014 as a result of a car accident in Woodward, OK. Denton was born to Danny and Linda (Pummel) Kauk on July 4, 1977 in Shattuck, OK. Denton attended Oak Park Elementary and Woodward High School graduating with the Class of 1996. In May of 1996, he entered the United States Marine Corp. While serving his country he received many awards: Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Marksman Rifle Badge, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two Stars, and received the Rank of Corporal E4 at his honorable discharge.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 075-810.jpeg Melba Jo (Martin) Spillman

    Melba Jo (Martin) Spillman, 60, passed away peacefully in her home, surrounded by all those who loved her deeply, on the 21st of April 2014 after a battle with cancer. Born October 12, 1953 in Coalgate, Oklahoma to John Charles Martin "Shorty" and Jo M. Lee (Strawn).

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Christina Leist obituary photo.jpg Christina T. Leist

    Christina T. Leist went to meet her Savior and Friend on April 18, 2014. She was born February 7, 1928 at her Grandmother’s home in Woodward, Oklahoma, the first of 10 ten children born to Richard and Pearl Teten. Her father was one of OG&E’s original lineman and foreman and her mother was Court Clerk in Woodward County for almost 20 years. She was proud that her family had twins and triplets, 9 girls and one boy. She graduated high school in Woodward and attended one year at Oklahoma University, majoring in art.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • RootsJuanita.jpg Juanita Roots

    Juanita Roots, 79 year old Woodward resident died Saturday, April 19, 2014 at Grace Living Center in Woodward. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm Wednesday, April 23, 2014 in the Billings Funeral Home Chapel with Ray Don Jackson officiating. Interment will follow in Elmwood Cemetery.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • sr pic.JPG Leone Dell (Davis) Thompson

    Leone Dell (Davis) Thompson, daughter of Jess and Esther M. (Waggoner) Davis was born near Mulhall, Oklahoma on February 16, 1911 and passed from this life in Vici, Oklahoma on April 15, 2014 at the age of 103. Leone was raised in Covington, Oklahoma attending Covington Grade School. Then moved to the farm west of Vici, Oklahoma her freshman year. She graduated from Vici High School with the class of 1930, then attended Northwestern State Teachers College. She graduated college with a Bachelor of Science degree.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Preston Tapp

    Preston Tapp, 57 year old Woodward resident, died Tuesday April 15, 2014. Memorial services will be 10:00 a.m. Saturday April 19, 2014 at Crown Heights Baptist Church with Reverend James Steenbergen officiating.

    April 18, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.