The remains of an elderly Wewoka widow who died in March remain at a Kansas funeral home, while friends of the woman wrangle over her estate.


 

 The remains of an elderly Wewoka widow who died in March remain at a Kansas funeral home, while friends of the woman wrangle over her estate.

There was never an obituary for Virginia Mainard, 95, and she was not buried in Wewoka's Oakwood Cemetery next to Russell Mainard, her husband of 61 years, who died in 1999.

Few in this small Seminole County town of 3,500 even knew until months after her death that the well-known resident had died in another town 180 miles away.

A death notice indicates Mainard died in March 26, 2008, at an Independence, Kan., residence where she was living with Nowa Littlesun, 41, who had befriended the woman late in her life. The cause of death is listed as advanced age, renal insufficiency, anemia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Littlesun and his partner, David Graham, had operated the Tea Room in Wewoka, where she had her own table and residents say Littlesun and Graham lavished her with attention.

But some of Mainard's friends and neighbors in Wewoka believe Littlesun romanced Mainard so she would liquidate all her mineral rights for his benefit. Records show that numerous rights were sold to Pennmark Energy in September 2006.

Littlesun, who is openly gay, said his sexual preference is what bothers people in Wewoka. He said he and Graham endured hateful slurs while living there along with "vicious rumors and lies" about their relationship with Mainard.

"(Virginia) said that I was the love of her life and that she went through hell for it," Littlesun said. "She was my mother. I made my own mother jealous.

"For the last two months, I slept on the floor to make sure she was turned every two hours."

Years before Mainard met Littlesun and Graham, she worked at Allen's Ready-To-Wear downtown. The business was owned by the Katigan family, then later sold to Mainard.

Kathy (Katigan) Hullum said the families spent all their holidays together and that she and her brothers referred to Virginia and Russell Mainard as Grandma and Grandpa, though they were not blood related.

They were saddened to find out in June that Mainard had died three months earlier in Kansas.

A Kansas law firm notified them of an upcoming probate hearing. They plan to contest a new will prepared in September that names Littlesun as Mainard's personal representative. He is to receive her silver, jewelry, and all royalty, oil and gas interests.

Kathy Hullum's son, Patrick, said he doesn't believe there's anything left in the estate, but he would like to bring Mainard's remains back to Wewoka for a proper funeral.

The Tulsa World learned that Mainard was cremated at Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home & Crematory in Independence.

Funeral director Tara Johnson said that the home still has Mainard's remains because Littlesun has never paid the $3,000 bill.

Johnson said that Littlesun claimed to be Mainard's son, but she suspected something wasn't right when he misspelled Mainard five times.

Littlesun said the funeral home is lying and that he is trying to correct "their" mistake on the death certificate naming him as Mainard's son.

Mainard's nephew, Jerry Mainard, said he believes Littlesun befriended his aunt and liquidated her assetts, including mineral rights and a home in Ada, before she died.

"He's just milked her dry. He wanted anything he could liquidate," Jerry Mainard said of Littlesun.

The Tulsa World obtained letters from two Department of Human Services investigations. One concluded there was insufficient evidence of abuse, neglect and exploitation of Mainard, but another concluded there was probable cause.

DHS did not respond to a request to explain the discrepancy.

Neither former Seminole County District Attorney Bill Peterson nor Wewoka Police Chief Greg Brooks responded to inquiries about the case.

 

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.