Woodward, Okla. —
Pauline Henrietta McClung was born December 21, 1921, to Henry Matthews McClung and Phoebe Ferris James McClung on the family homestead farm west of May, Oklahoma. She died on May 29, 2013, at age 91 in Woodward, Oklahoma.
Pauline, the youngest of five children, went to elementary school and high school in May, where she graduated in 1939. She then enrolled in Oklahoma A&M College (OSU) in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and graduated with a degree from the College of Home Economics in 1943. While at A&M, she served as president of her sorority, Kappa Delta.
Upon graduation, Pauline worked as a home economist for Public Service Company of Tulsa, where she taught consumers how to cook meals without using meat or sugar. Being the years of WWII, food was strictly rationed by the government to provide supplies for troops in military service.
With the end of the war, Pauline resigned her job and wed returning Army Lieutenant Douglas Monroe Benbrook. They were married in 1946 in Woodward where they made their home for 67 years. The couple raised four children, Margaret Benbrook who was born nine days before the 1947 Woodward tornado, Marilynn Thoma, McClung “Mac” Benbrook and Paula Hughes.
An active member of the Woodward community, Pauline applied herself to the Parent Teachers Association in years that the association championed fluoride in drinking water and milk in school lunches. She was a Club Scout Leader and worked tirelessly for 14 years as a 4-H Club leader in Woodward County. She belonged to Gamma Sorosis, the Mr. and Mrs. Garden Club and P.E.O. Pauline was a proud founding member of the Woodward Pride committee of the Chamber of Commerce and a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church where we served on its memorial dinner committee for many years.
Proud of the land that her parents and grandparents settled when it was known as No Man’s Land and where they prospered as wheat farmers and ranchers, Pauline urged her children to hold onto land as the asset that will always hold its value. An annual tradition was the picking of sand hill plums from the family ranch land north of Woodward and making them into sand hill jelly and plum butter.
It came naturally to Pauline to work for the family business, Benbrook Real Estate, Insurance and Loans. When she retired, she devoted herself to her family and home, her garden and flowers. In later years, she traveled the world on pleasure trips with her husband Doug.
Pauline’s family and friends remember her for her culinary talent, her love of gardening and her can do attitude. As needed, the family household and dinner table expanded to accommodate a nephew, Robert McClung, who attended school in Woodward for several years and aging parents. Among Pauline’s living family members are her husband of 67 years, Doug Benbrook, her son Mac and his wife, the Rev. Mary Davis, of Woodward; her daughters Margaret Benbrook and Paula Hughes, both of Woodward, and Marilynn Thoma, Chicago, and her two sons-in-law, David Hughes and Carl Thoma. Her sister, Lucile Blasdel, Woodward, and a nephew Robert McClung of May, also survive.
Pauline’s beloved grandchildren are Amy Lucas Solloway and her husband Joel, Grant Hughes, Margo Thoma, Mark Thoma and his wife Yolanda, Lindsey Benbrook Meadors and her husband Michael, Dr. Kelsey Benbrook Sisti and husband Greg and Stephen Benbrook. Pauline is survived by three great grandchildren, Lucas Sisti, Annabella Solloway and Teresa Thoma.
In recognition of Doug’s illness, the immediate family will celebrate Pauline’s life in a private service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that friends consider donations to Woodward’s Plains and Pioneers Museum , the First United Methodist Church or those charities in the community that are important to them.
Remembrances may be shared online at www.billingsfuneralhomewoodward.com