Several families came to the Wetumka area of Oklahoma, about 1905, from Illinois, looking for new land. Blaine Horsley’s family and Lantha Moore’s were part of this group that knew each other back in Illinois.
Several families came to the Wetumka area of Oklahoma, about 1905, from Illinois, looking for new land. Blaine Horsley’s family and Lantha Moore’s were part of this group that knew each other back in Illinois. Blaine Horsley and Lantha Moore married after coming to Oklahoma and lived on a farm in rural Wetumka. Blaine raised cotton, peanuts, cattle and hogs. Wife, Lantha, was a great cook and seamstress who raised a big garden, canned and took care of the home and children. The Horsley’s had three children, a son that died three days after he was born, a daughter, Lela and daughter, Lois, nine years younger than Lela, was born June 7, 1929.
Lois Horsley went through grades 1-8 with two teachers at Hickory Ridge rural school. She played softball and basketball during those years. The school had pie suppers to make money to buy gifts and candy for the students at Christmas time. After grade school she went to Wetumka High School, graduating in 1947.
When Lois was a junior she started dating Bob Ray who was a friend of the family. He went into the Navy at seventeen. She and Bob corresponded all the time that he was in the Navy. Lois intended to join the Waves when she graduated but the war ended before she could. So, after high school she worked at the Bank of Commerce in Wetumka in the bookkeeping department.
When Bob came home from the Navy he worked in the oil fields in Kansas. He came home from Kansas in July 1948; they were married, and then went back to Kansas. Two years later they moved home to Wetumka where their daughter, Sandy was born July 3, 1950. She was born a month early weighing only 4 ½ pounds with physical problems. She was taken to Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City and treated there 4 ½ months. She lived to grow to adulthood, have her own family and looks after her mother today.
The family moved to Seminole where Bob worked for C & J Trucking, a company that hauled oil and did oil well fracking. They lived there about two years when Bob was transferred to Okmulgee. Their son, Mark was born there in 1954. They left Okmulgee in 1965, moving to Salem, Missouri, for a year where Bob worked for a water well service company.
Back in Okmulgee in 1966, Bob, who was a mechanic, opened his own garage and Lois went to work at the Okmulgee County Health Department working as a clerk and advancing to Administrative Assistant by the time she retired in 1991.
Both children graduated from Okmulgee High School. Sandy went to Oklahoma State Tech in Okmulgee and then she married and went to Germany for a year while her husband was in the service. Son, Mark went to Oklahoma University and then to Okmulgee State Tech. He now lives in Houston, Texas.
In 1982, Bob became ill and passed away in August of 1983. A friend, Bill McLeod, came to Bob’s funeral. A few months later, he called Lois and asked her to go out to eat with him. They started dating after that.
Lois said, “My first experience traveling overseas was to the Holy Land. A friend of mine called me one day and said that she and some friends were taking this trip and asked me if I wanted to go too. I said, yes! We went to Egypt, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea and the tourist sites in these places. We also went on a cruise as part of the trip. We went to Greece and the Island of Patmos where the Apostle John was in prison and where he wrote ‘The Revelation.’”
After a long courtship Lois and Bill were married. They traveled a lot going to Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico. They purchased a time share in Mazatlon, Mexico, and went there often. Lois said that she and Bill had a good life together. He didn’t have any children and he made her children, his. Lois now has two children, five grandchildren, three greats and one on the way.
Bill’s health deteriorated to the point where they could not travel anymore. He passed away November 28, 2006. Lois stayed in their home outside Okmulgee until she was able to sell the property and then purchase a house in town. She lived there until she started having health problems. Her children didn’t want her to continue to live alone so she decided to move closer to her daughter who lived in Mc Loud. Her daughter-in-law from Houston searched the internet for senior retirement communities and she found Primrose Retirement Community in Shawnee. Lois said, “After we looked at Primrose, we didn’t look any farther.”
June 6, 2016, Lois moved in at Primrose. She said,” I love living here and wish I had come sooner. It gives me great peace of mind.”
Note: Story submitted by Pat Gaines on behalf of Primrose.