Joyce June Gaither
Born January 18, 1921, in Oktaha, Oklahoma to B.J. Whisenhunt and Jessie
Slaton Whisenhunt, Joyce was the sixth child in their family of seven.
Her parents traveled to Oklahoma in a covered wagon when it was still
just Indian Territory. Joyce was the last surviving member of her family.
Graduating from Sand Springs High School in 1939, she worked part time
for the Harmony Theater in Sand Springs.
She married Ted W. Gaither on July 4, 1942 in Yuma, Arizona, while he was
on leave from the U.S. Navy during WWII. She returned to Sand Springs
and worked for Smiley Chandelier Company, not seeing her husband for three
years until the war ended. A few times a week, she and a friend rode the
streetcar to Tulsa from Sand Springs where they sang live on a local radio
program. Throughout her life, she loved country music.
Her life was one of traveling to new places following Ted's work as
a pipeline welder. Many times they lived only a few weeks in one town
before moving to another, setting up households in as many as forty-six
states. Joyce learned to handle life's challenges without the support
of having family close by. Over the years they owned rental property and
for a while owned and operated a laundromat in Tulsa.
With four children in school, traveling became too difficult for the family,
so Joyce remained at home in Tulsa while Ted traveled. During those years,
she was president of the local PTA and not only had total responsibility
of her children, but helped with her own parents. Neighbors also relied
on her assistance and were never turned down. She had a contagious smile
and approached life with a zeal.
After moving back to the Sand Springs area, Joyce worked for Webco Industries
as a secretary until she retired. At that time, realizing the dream they
had for many years, they moved to a home on Grand Lake near Grove, OK.
There, after building the house was completed, she pursued her hobby of
knitting. Eight years later, Ted and Joyce moved back to the Sand Springs
area where, after his death in 1999, she continued to live until November,
2012, when she moved to a retirement community.
Joyce is survived by three children, Judy Ford and husband, Jim, of Claremore;
Rex Gaither and wife, Patty, of Sand Springs; Jana Asebedo and husband,
Richard, of Midland, TX. She had eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren
whom she dearly loved. Preceding her in death was her husband, Ted, and
son, Steven Gaither of Sand Springs, and granddaughter, Amber Gaither.
Joyce was fortunate to have extended family and friends who cared deeply
for her also. She will be missed by all who knew her.
Plans for a private memorial service are pending.