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Francena Wahpepah

The Shawnee News-Star

Francena Wahpepah, 90, passed away peacefully on Oct. 7, 2020, in Norman.

Francena was born to Jim and Elsie Wahweah in Harrah, Oklahoma, on Feb. 22, 1930.

She graduated from Harrah High School in 1948 where she played basketball as a starter for four years. She later received her degree from St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee.

Francena worked at Sylvania for several years. She later served as a teacher’s aide and then Indian Education Coordinator for McLoud Public Schools, from which she retired in 1992, after 24 years of service working with Native American children. She made connections with her students and was always happy to see them as adults.

Francena married Lawrence Wahpepah on Sept. 4, 1949. Lawrence and Cena had three daughters.

Francena was famous for her pie-making and sewing skills. She created many beautiful Kickapoo dresses and shirts for friends and relatives. She also enjoyed being with her family, gardening, cryptograms, word jumbles, and pow-wows.

Like her husband Lawrence, Francena loved watching sports, particularly her own grandchildren in action, but she also enjoyed watching OU and Notre Dame basketball and football, as well as the OKC Thunder.

Francena was preceded in death by her beloved husband Lawrence and daughter Betty, by her parents, her sisters Pearl, Edith, and Helen and by her brothers Gene, Marlin, Buck, and Albert.

Francena was always friendly to everyone she met. She would lend a helping hand or a pie when in need, making sure that others were treated grandly while she lived her life simply. She will be forever missed by her family and friends.

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Survivors include her daughters Leslie Barse and husband Harold, and Carol Wahpepah and husband Daniel Harris, son-in-law Byron Gore, all of Norman; grandchildren Sunny Novacheck and husband Marcus, Allison Barse and husband Rory Hamilton, Hannah Donaghe and husband Dustin and Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris; sister Lahoma Burd; and several nieces and nephews. Francena was also quite proud of her great-grandchildren, Maddox, Grace, Avery, and Iris.

Funeral arrangements are being made with Walker Funeral Service of Shawnee.

Public viewing will be Sunday, Oct. 11, from 1 to 7 p.m. Due to the pandemic, a memorial birthday dinner is planned for February 2021 or whenever it is safe. Francena would not want anyone to become ill because of her so her wishes will be respected.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Kickapoo Nutrition Center of McLoud, OK, The Kickapoo Friends Center of McLoud or Full Circle of Norman.