Our dear mother, Lura Frances Wilson, 95 and formerly of Okmulgee, passed away Tuesday, February 21, 2023, at Trinity Woods Health Center in Tulsa. The family will receive friends for a viewing from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 3, at McClendon- Winters Funeral Home in Okmulgee. A celebration of her life service is scheduled for Saturday, March 4, at First Baptist Church in Okmulgee. A graveside service will be held at 2:30 p.m. at Oakdale Cemetery in Paden.
To the world, Lura Wilson was only one person, but to those of us who knew her, Lura WAS our world. She was our mother, our grandmother (and great grandmother), our friend, our inspiration, and our guiding light. She always took the time to really listen to us and share our joys or concerns. She was the true matriarch of the Wilson family, in every sense of the word.
A professional educator for 40 years, Lura taught us much more than just our ABCs … her entire life was dedicated to teaching her family to be open minded and accepting of all people, of being generous and kind no matter what the situation, and on having faith in a loving God. She had an amazing ability to make a real connection with all kinds of people, whether it was a young child learning to read, friends from school or church, dozens of nieces and nephews who considered her their favorite aunt, or the nurses and caregivers who helped her during her last few years of life. She didn’t hesitate to speak up when she thought something was wrong and needed corrected, especially when it came to the way teachers were treated in Oklahoma. She spent many hours advocating for increased spending for education in Oklahoma and for paying teachers a living wage. Teachers throughout Oklahoma can thank Lura for her part in having their health insurance paid by the state. She lobbied legislators, marched on the state capital with other OEA members, and worked tirelessly for years. Shortly after her retirement, her goal was achieved, and she celebrated what this meant for future generations even though she never benefitted from having paid insurance herself. She was respected by four generations of Wilsons for her wisdom, her courage, and her unerring ability to find joy in life.
Born on Nov. 1, 1927, in Fillmore to Eliga Bonaparte and Tooly Whittle Dupree, Lura and her four siblings quickly learned the importance of family and hard work and the value of an education. As a fifth grader in Fillmore Elementary School, she was inspired by a wonderful teacher and began to feel the tug of what would be her calling as well. Lura obtained an associates degree from Murray State College and then attended Oklahoma State University for one year. She married Tommy Wilson from Paden on March 11, 1949. Paula was born in 1950, followed by Tommy (Wayne) in 1954, Susan in 1955 and Greg in 1959. Lura was able to juggle diapers and childcare while completing her education, and she graduated from Southeastern State University in Durant in 1955. She taught first through eighth grades November 1, 1927 – February 21, 2023
in Fillmore, Macawber, Panama and Barnsdall. After retiring in 1991, Tommy and Lura moved to Okmulgee. Tommy died in 2012, and Lura moved to Tulsa in 2018 shortly after celebrating her 90th birthday. Even during the final three and a half years when she lived in Trinity Woods nursing home, Lura did her best to start each day on a positive note and to greet her caregivers with appreciation. Her room was often filled with visits from her extended family.
A lifelong Baptist, Lura was an active member of the churches in the communities in which she lived, most recently The First Baptist Church in Okmulgee. She was active in the Oklahoma Educators Association, serving as president of the LeFlore County OEA and as president of the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association in 2000-01. She received the Most Important Member award and the Kate Frank award for outstanding and significant service in advancing the cause of member welfare, rights, and professionalism. She was a charter member and officer of the Beta Lambda chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a women teachers society; a member of the Oklahoma Reading Council and the International Reading Association; Democrat precinct co-chair of LeFlore County and delegate to several state Democratic conventions.
Lura was preceded in death by her parents, Eliga and Tooly Dupree; three sisters: Almeda “Bug” Sliger and husband, Calvin, Florence Armstrong and husband, Elmer, and Leota Schroeder and husband Al. She had one brother, Leroy “Bo” DuPree, and wife, Maxine, as well as three sisters-inlaw, Hazel Willingham and husband, Chester, Jane Case and husband, Corvette, and Billy Orr and husband, Hardy. She had one brotherin- law, LTC Lloyd Wilson and wife, Fran, and nieces, nephews, and many beloved friends.
She is survived by her four children: Paula Bailey and partner, Denise York of Edmond; Tommy Wayne Wilson and wife, Loretta, of Broken Bow; Susan Miller of Tulsa; and Greg Wilson and wife, Lori, of Poteau. Grandchildren include Crystal Walker and husband, Robert, of Tulsa; Angela Lindly and husband, Brandon of DeQueen, Ark.; Pam Hunt and husband, Joe, of Richardson, Texas; Drs. Brock Wilson and wife, Amy, of Ft. Smith, Alaska.; Beth Todd and husband, Will, of Keller, Texas; Kyle Wilson and wife, Ashley, of Lavaca, Ark.; and Dylan Miller and wife, Danielle, of Orlando, Fla., as well as 15 great grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, other family and friends.
The family wishes to express their deepest appreciation to the nurses and aides of Chapman Heights for the outstanding love and care they have consistently given our mother.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the OSU Foundation. Checks should be payable to the OSU Foundation and mailed to PO Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749 or gifts can be made online at Giving (osugiving.com) Please note your donation is in memory of Lura F. Wilson.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Mc-Clendon-Winters Funeral Home of Okmulgee. Memories, condolences, photos and videos may be shared with the family on Lura’s tribute page at www.mcclendon-winters. com.