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Laura's Story

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Laura Evalyn Stevens who was affectionately known by her child hood friends in Tangier as “Blue Eyes” passed from this earth on January 16, 2015. She was born April 6, 1924, on a farm near Tangier, Woodward County. Laura Evalyn was named after both her grandmothers, something of which she was very proud. Her father, Wesley Thomas, was a farmer, cowboy, businessman, and inventor. Her mother, Amy Bodwell Thomas, worked shoulder to shoulder with Wesley on the farm, and together, they raised four daughters and served as the anchor for an extended family. Laura Evalyn graduated from Tangier High School and completed two years at Woodward Junior College. After the war she met and married Norman Eugene “Gene” Stevens, a native of Sharon, Oklahoma, who joined the Navy in 1939 and served his country with honor. In the first year and a half of marriage, their apartment was destroyed by the Woodward tornado in April, 1947, and then six months later a fire. While Gene started his own business, he and Laura Evalyn bought a home on 19th Street in Woodward and started a family of three children. Laura Evalyn was involved in supporting her children’s activities, including PTA, Girl Scouts, and Kid’s Inc. Although family and church were at the center of her life, Laura Evalyn had many interests she pursued with determined vigor. She loved gardening, and even at the age of 90, won several blue ribbons at the county fair with her flowers. She was a skilled seamstress and a great cook, famous in the family for her tart cherry pies made from scratch every Sunday morning. As a young lady, Laura Evalyn took dance lessons and sang in several choral groups. As an adult, she was the soloist at her church. Laura Evalyn enjoyed traveling, especially with the family to Colorado. She and Gene once returned to Australia and Incochina where Gene’s ship, the U.S.S. Houston, was sunk in the Battle of the Java Sea during World War II. They helped start the Fort Supply Boat Club in the 1950's and were active members of the local POW Chapter. After the three children left home to attend college, Laura Evalyn worked as a bookkeeper and sales associate at Oliver’s clothing and shoe store. Laura Evalyn was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Gene, son Norman, and sisters Osia Fay Lucas, Edna May Laubhan, and Amy Irene Whitbeck. She is survived by daughters Debbie Blackburn of Oklahoma City and husband Bob Blackburn, Sheryl Benbrook of Woodward and husband Bruce Benbrook, daughter-in-law Rhonda Brinkley Stevens of Perry, many beloved nieces and nephews, and grandchildren Beau Blackburn and wife Tori Goodheart Blackburn, Rachel Benbrook, Julia Benbrook, Stacey Stevens, and Summer Stevens. Services will be held at Billings Funeral Home Chapel on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please honor Laura Evalyn with donations to either Oklahoma Honor Flights for World War II Veterans or the Woodward Education Foundation, with the Billings Funeral Home, 1621 Downs Avenue, Woodward, Oklahoma 73801, accepting the donations on behalf of the family. Remembrances may be shared online at www.billingsfuneralhomewoodward.com
Published on  January 21, 2015
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