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OK Obits

Esther "Louise" (Edington) & Norman Ray Whistler

© Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
Published from Mar. 12 to Mar. 14, 2021.
Submitted by: Jo Aguirre

Esther "Louise" (Edington) Whistler

Esther "Louise" (Edington) Whistler
December 20, 1940 ~ February 28, 2021

Esther "Louise" Whistler, age 80, passed on February 28, 2021, at Forrest Manor Nursing Center in Dewey, Oklahoma where she lived for the last nine years. She was born in Deer Park, Oregon on December 20, 1940 to Edgar and Delores Edington.

Louise and her husband, Norman Whistler, lived in Dewey for over 45 years and were well known in the area for their violin and fiddle playing. Louise was an accomplished violin player starting at the age of 4. She played in the Bartlesville Symphony for several years as well as the symphonies of other cities she lived in over the years. She played in a bluegrass country music band with her husband Norman for many years. Louise will be remembered fondly by her many music students that she taught violin and mandolin. She also learned to make violins. Louise was artistic but music was always her first love. She had a variety of interest including sewing, knitting, crafting, but mostly of all playing her violin.

Louise attended church regularly and had a strong religious faith throughout her life. She became very fond of cats and provided a home for many cats over the years.

Louise is predeceased by her parents, husband Norman Whistler and son, Rex Cargill. She is survived by daughter, Nancy Brooks and husband David of Tyler, TX, son Steven Cargill and wife Shelly of El Reno, Oklahoma; three grandchildren: Gloria Johnson, Joseph Ibeh, and Michael Ibeh; seven great-grandchildren: Landon Lykes, Kobee and Eli Ibeh; Michael, Ricky, Phoebe and Hazel Johnson; brother Clifford Edington and wife Albie of Dallas, Oregon and brother Bill Edington.

Louise will be dearly missed by family and friends.  

© Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
Published from Apr. 9 to May 9, 2009.
Submitted by: Jo Aguirre

Norman Ray Whistler

October 9, 1933 ~ March 27, 2009

Mr. Norman Ray Whistler, 75, of Dewey, unexpectedly passed from this life on Friday morning, March 27, 2009.

A memorial service in celebration of Norman's life will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, April 13 at the First Church of the Nazarene in Bartlesville under the direction of the Stumpff Funeral Home & Crematory with Michael L. Whistler officiating.

In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established with the Animal Rescue Foundation, P. O. Box 3292, Bartlesville, Oklahoma 74006.

Norman was born in Elk City, Kansas to Leslie J. and Ida Margaret (Black) Whistler on October 9, 1933. When he was 8 years old his family moved to Independence, Kansas where Norman attended school and graduated from Independence High School in 1951.

From the time Norman was 6 years of age he knew he wanted to be a fiddle player. After several years asking for a fiddle, he finally received one by age 11. With sheer determination and practice he reached his goal and by age 14 was playing with a band in the Independence and Coffeyville area.

When Norman was 18 he entered and won a local talent contest and traveled to New York City to compete in the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour where he won 2nd place. He returned home and for several years played in and around SE Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas before moving to Long Beach, California where his music career took off as a full-time professional fiddle player.

In the years following Norman rubbed shoulders with such country music luminaries as Merle Haggard, Glenn Campbell and Roger Miller. He performed regularly on a televised country music show in Hollywood, and spent considerable time in the recording studio doing songwriter demos with Glenn Campbell. He worked for several years with a house band in a popular dance club in Long Beach where many of the then current Grand Old Opry stars were booked to perform.

While Norman was in California he received two significant honors. In 1963 he received an award, presented by the DJ's digest for outstanding achievement and contribution to country music in Southern California as a Fiddler. The second honor was an invitation by Les Barcus and John Berry, developers of an electronic pickup system for acoustic instruments, to record an experimental album. With a specially prepared solid body fiddle, Norman recorded an album of fiddle tunes with a unique sound. All the rhythm instruments and players were also using the same technology. No microphones were used in the project.

Norman returned to Oklahoma in 1966 to run a grocery store in Copan. During this time he worked with Rodney Lay and the Wild West Band and continued to entertain with his music. His influence spread over a great number of friends and fans and his playing style was considered to be among the best.

In 1983 Norman returned to the Reda Pump Company where he had been employed as a young man and filled a position as a driver. He logged close to one million miles, taking company officials to and from the airport. When the company changed hands to Schlumberger he came out of a short retirement and accepted a position as a full-time security guard and remained up until his death.

Norman married Esther Louise Cargill in 1983. Over the twenty-five years of married life that they enjoyed together they became known for their "twin fiddling" performances in various bands and ending with years performing together on the stage of the Nowata Country Jubilee music show.

Survivors are his wife, Louise, of the home, his four sons, Ricky D. and wife Debbie of Watsontown, Pennsylvania, Jesse R. and wife Cheryl of Columbus, Ohio, Norman R. (Butch), Bartlesville, and Michael D., Bartlesville, one stepson, Ricky L. and wife Lena of Bartlesville, two stepdaughters, Nancy Thompson of Visalia, California, and Lori L. McCowan and husband Randy of Bartlesville, one sister Virginia M. Hadley of Bartlesville, four brothers, Teddy J. of Dewey, Lloyd E. of Dewey, Edward L. and wife Thelma of Kansas City, Kansas, Michael L. and wife Sandy of Trenton, Florida, seven grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Norman was preceded in death by his parents.

Norman will be remembered for his infectious smile, his love of people and his humorous and entertaining stage presence as much as for his lively fiddle playing. He will be missed by a multitude of people including family, friends and his beloved church family.  

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