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Opal Faye (Gifford) Sheppard
March 16, 1953 ~ September 12, 2023 (age 70) 70 Years Old
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Opal Faye Gifford-Sheppard was born on March 16, 1953 at Doctor's Hospital, in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Her life started with a bang even before she was born when an attending nurse, while cranking up her mother's hospital bed, broke a nearby water pipe, flooding the room and hallway and forcing nurses to find boots to wear. Her dad pitched in to help mop up the rising water. From a very early age her dad dubbed her "Tooter", and the nickname stuck. She was such a beautiful baby that all the neighbors came to look at her.
Tooter and her younger brother, Lester, loved getting together with all their nieces and nephews, which were born to her seven older siblings. She also enjoyed going to the skating rink on the weekend. She was active in Girl Scouts and church activities, such as Sunday School and VBS. At age ten, she was baptized at the church camp held at Roman Nose State Park. Almost all her school career was spent in the Henryetta school system, but she graduated at West Islip High School on Long Island. Later, she attended Okmulgee Tech. She had two beautiful sons, Paul and Michael, which she loved dearly.
Tooter joined the Army, but later required a discharge, She never had a specialized career, but she had a good work ethic and, wherever she lived she never lacked for a job. Back home in Oklahoma, she took the opening at the Wrangler jeans factory in Okemah. She also tried her hand at working in a local nursing home, but that job didn't last until the morning break. The story goes that she was carrying an armful of linens and towels down the hallway when a patient, who was standing in her doorway, began screaming at her. Well, Tooter literally "threw in the towel", clocked out and went home! Perhaps her favorite "job" was as a glorified side-kick to her husband on his long-haul truck routes. She was able to see so much of our country, and thought Pennsylvania was one of the prettiest states. For the last several years of her work career, she delivered the Tulsa World in her car to a large radius of the countryside. She knew just where each little old lady liked their paper placed.
Years later, despite her own declining health, Tooter patiently cared for her husband, Gene Sheppard, until his death in 2019. But on September 12, 2023, at the Franciscan Villa in Broken Arrow, she finally lost her battle with C.O.P.D. Tooter is preceded in death by her husband, and one son, Michael Duncan, and also by some of her older siblings: a brother, William Elliott (whose living wife is Wanda), a brother, Phynes Elliott and his wife, Lillie, of Kiefer, and a sister, Sherron Rivera and her husband, Frank of Henryetta. She leaves behind Cora Lee Bryan, of Henryetta, Allen Elliott and his wife, Faye, of Luther, Freda Baker of Melbourne, FL and her deceased Husband, Lamar Baker, who died in California,Janice Berryhill and her husband Prentiss of Henryetta, and Lester Gifford and his wife Christine, of Henryetta, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She will be terribly missed by all of us.
A private family memorial service will be held at a later date.
Arrangements and cremation services have been entrusted to Integrity Funeral Service, 410 East Trudgeon Street, Henryetta, Oklahoma 74437, 918-652-6600, www.integrityfuneralservice.com.