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Barbara Oneta Sue (Lee)
Jun 1, 1941 - Aug 18, 2020
Posted by Jo Aguirre
Barbara Oneta Sue Lee (Epperson) was born June 1, 1941 in
Oilton, Oklahoma, to Roy and Velma (Young) Lee. Barbara was the
youngest and has a brother, Carl, and sister, Ann. The family
lived for a time in Littleton, Colorado, but then returned to
Oklahoma where Barbara attended high school in Delaware. She
always enjoyed any animals, but especially horses, and was
caught more than once riding the neighbors’ horse bareback that
she’d caught in the pasture, along with climbing and riding the
oil field pumpjacks when she wasn’t even supposed to be near
them. She played basketball in high school, which is where she
met Wayne “Butch” Epperson. They were married in 1962 in the
Church of Christ in Dewey, OK.
After Butch acquired several degrees at OSU, where they both
attended college and Barbara helped with his degrees by typing
his thesis and those of other students for extra income, they
moved to Lawton in 1968 when he accepted a teaching position at
then Cameron College. They had three children, Nikki, Dawn and
Ethan, each four years apart. They joined Western Hills Church
of Christ where Butch was a Deacon years ago, and Barbara helped
with the production of the church newsletter by typing it and
using a mimeograph machine to make copies for all the members.
One of the first couples they made friends with at church in
Lawton was Aretha and George Bower, and they remained friends to
this day. While raising their family, Barbara also worked as a
secretary, first for Anthony and Joan Libro at Equitable Life
Insurance, then at Great Plains Women’s Clinic for Doctors
Henley, Hillis and Montague. The Eppersons moved to Cache in
1971 where they had several acres and enjoyed raising horses
with a few even becoming race horses that ran at Remington Park
and in Raton, NM. Butch passed away in July 2007, but Barbara
continued to keep her horses and Weimeraner dogs (who were
almost like horses themselves). During these years in Lawton
and Cache, Barbara made many life-long friends and a favorite
horseback riding buddy, Mrs. Delila Snyder. They, along with
other horse-loving friends, enjoyed numerous trail rides and
adventures in several states, and oh, the tales they’d tell (and
some stories they probably didn’t share)! With all 5’3” of her
driving a pick-up pulling a trailer full of horses down winding
roads around Versailles, MO and the like, there were likely
mishaps at times.
Barbara later went to work for Lawton Public Schools (LPS),
working as an aide for special needs students at Douglass
Elementary/Douglass Learning Center for many years with her
friend, Mary Couger, and made too-many-to-count horsey school
teacher friends during her years at LPS as well (Elizabeth,
Marci, Donna…). Barbara learned American Sign Language and
looked forward to driving the bus every year for Lawton students
to participate in the Special Olympics. On several occasions
Barbara took her lil’ brown miniature horse, “Chocolate”, to
school so the children could have some time outside to become
acquainted with a horse their size which helped them become not
so fearful. If the kids and the horse were well behaved for the
day, then they’d all get Oreos as a treat, even the horse. She
also had another favorite horse, Newman, so named because of his
Paul Newman-like blue eyes. Because of her love of the
outdoors, Barbara transferred to the Grounds and Maintenance
Team with LPS, where she would work circles around most while
operating a weed-eater, sprayer, blower, or zero-turn mower.
(Several of her grandchildren had been known to say they’d seen
Grandma on the mower out the window at school that day.) The
Oklahoma heat being what it is and considering she continued to
work long after usual retirement age, in recent years she
transferred back to the classroom as an aide at Gateway Success
Center where she worked until late 2017. Health concerns due to
diabetes finally prompted her retirement, and she moved to
Brentwood Senior Living Center where she made many more friends,
and discovered some there from Cache, along with wonderful
caregivers that were so loving they became more like family.
Even as she received the doting attention at Brentwood, and
special care from the incomparable Kindful Hospice nurses, and
also Centric Home Health, Barbara’s health continued to
decline. Her body gave out and she was ready to go ride horses
in heaven, and passed away on August 18, 2020. (She’s now
riding her horse again and enjoying a Dr. Pepper with a Hershey
bar stashed in each pocket, maybe caramels though, or more
Barbara is survived by her sister, Anna L. Lyons of Cache; and
her brother Roy Carl Lee (and wife, Doris) of Bartlesville, OK;
her daughter, Nikki Epperson Smith, and son, Ethan E. Epperson,
both of Lawton, OK. She has several grandchildren, Justin Smith
(and wife, Stephanie) of Yukon, OK; Emilee Dawn Dalrymple of
Ozark Beach, MO; Mason Williams of Lawton; Remington and Presley
Epperson of Lawton; and step-grandchildren, Ronnie Smith, Jr.
(and Kelly), Lawton; and Amanda White (and Cory) of Corsicana,
TX. Great-grandchildren are: Braxton, Bexley, Nashlyn, and
Maverick of Yukon, OK. Step-greatgrandchildren are: Chelsea,
Ashley, Shelby, Payton, Aubree, Greg, Josh, Dylan, McKenna,
Izzie and Addox. She also has many special nieces, nephews,
cousins, in-laws, neighbors and friends, too numerous to even
attempt to count.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Velma Lee;
husband, Butch; her daughter, Dawn Erika Epperson Williams; and
son-in-law, Ronnie Smith, Sr.
Due to current public health concerns, a family memorial service
will be held in NE Oklahoma in the spring where Butch is
Barbara’s family would like to extend many thanks and
special hugs to all the kind caregivers, doctors, pharmacists,
housekeeping, admin and dietary staff, and caring friends that
looked after her health, helped with doctor’s appointments and
road trips, and visited her to just sit and talk or watch the
Cowboy Channel on TV with her.
In lieu of flowers, it would be so appreciated for special
attention to be paid to someone with Alzheimer’s or provide some
respite to their family, or donations to be made to the American
Alzheimer’s Association, give to your local animal shelter, or
contribute to the Special Olympics. Any of those would make
Barbara smile, and touches our hearts.
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