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Valera's Story

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Valera M. Blackwell, age 81, of Altus, passed away Friday, February 12, 2016 at Tamarack Assisted Living, in Altus. Valera was born August 2, 1934 in Dawson, Missouri to Everett E. and Audrey (Young) Hutsell, and raised on a farm, 14 miles north of Mountain Grove, Missouri. The youngest of 6, she learned the value of hard work through loving parents and the environment that the farm life presented. During her school years, Valera was involved in cheerleading, a twirler in Drum Corp and co-editor of the school paper. Valera graduated from Mountain Grove High School in 1952. She married her high school sweetheart, James A. Blackwell in California in January 1953, while he was in basic training in the U.S. Air Force. To this union three children were born. In 1958 they came to Altus, a city with a community feel and good schools to open Blackwell Shoe Store. In 1966 Valera began a 33 year journey at First State Bank of Altus. She began in a secretary position and retired as Vice-President in 1999. She felt it an honor to work for three generations of the Doughty family. Valera and family were also an active part of the Grace United Methodist Church. She served on various committees of the church from the formative years of the church to the present. She served as Grace Child Development Center Committee Chair, sang in the choir and attended the UMW in her later years. Valera also served as treasurer of the Navajo Public Schools for 14 years, the treasurer of Altus Public Schools for two and a half years and served on the United Way Board. Valera was preceded in death by her parents; her husband James A. Blackwell; two brothers, Harlin and Hulen Hutsell and a sister Virlee Cardin of Mountain Grove, MO.; four brothers-in-law, Audie Cardin, Gene Austin and Jerry Kjellberg of Mountain Grove, MO and Don Blackwell of Altus; and a sister-in-law, Jeanette Hutsell of Mountain Grove, MO. She is survived by one son, Bryan Blackwell and wife Tracy Adams of Weatherford, OK; two daughters, Teresa Sweet and husband Gary of Woodward, OK and Tina Speer and husband Lonnie of Bowling Green, KY; one sister, Vera Austin and one brother and wife, J.D. and Wilma Hutsell all of Mountain Grove, MO, sisters-in-law Judy Kjellberg of Springfield, MO and Sherry Blackwell of Altus. Five grandchildren; Jacob Sweet and fiancé Julia Dyer of Crescent, OK, Jessica (Josh) Jordan, Stefanie (Kody)King, and Nicholas (Emily) Speer all of Bowling Green, KY, and Sara Crawford of San Diego, CA; three great grandchildren, Jocelyn and Lorelei Jordan and Ernest King of Bowling Green, KY; one sister-in-law, Winnie Hutsell of Mountain Grove, MO, and numerous nieces and nephews and many friends. Celebration of life services will be at 10:00 am Tuesday, February 16, 2016, at Grace United Methodist Church following a private interment, under the direction of Lowell-Tims Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Grace Day Care, Tamarack Assisted Living or a charity of your choice. The family will greet friends at Lowell-Tims Funeral Home on Monday, February 15, 2016, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Online tributes may be made to the family at www.Lowell-Tims.com
Published on  February 23, 2016
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