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Mary Anne Whiting left this earth October 30, 2022. Born in Tulsa, on a Friday the 13th, she was the daughter of Charlie and Lois Ellis. Charlie was a farm equipment salesman, and she spent her youth moving to various towns in the four-state area. Heading into her senior year of high school in Topeka Kansas, she found out that her father had bought the International Harvester dealership (Ellis Implement) in Vinita OK, so she made one more move to Vinita, OK becoming a graduate of Vinita High School in1947. She should have graduated high school in 1948 but skipped first grade due to her exceptional academic abilities (a fact that she would gladly remind anyone of!)
She attended the University of Tulsa for 2 years where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and completed college at the University of Oklahoma living in the Kappa house. Her first semester at OU, she attended a mixer at OU’s Student Union. As she was telling her name to someone who had asked her to dance, she felt a tap on the arm and heard “Hello, Mary Anne.” She turned around to see who would someday become her husband, Frederick Whiting, now fondly known as “The Colonel.”
The Colonel became an Army officer, and that lead them to many Army posts, as well another country (Verona, Italy), and cities such as Washington D.C. and Montgomery, Alabama. She was a secondary English educator when she had time to be! And, she was a greatly beloved teacher. Her longest stint as a teacher was in the Vinita School System. They purchased the Round House of Vinita in 1967 when the Colonel was called to duty in Vietnam; Vinita became home base for the family.
Fred passed away in Feb. 2001. Mary Anne continued to live in Vinita. She is also predeceased by her father, mother, sister Susan Underwood in April 2022, and brother-in-law Bill Underwood in June 2021. “Gamma’s’ survivors include daughter Susanne Whiting (Jody Sims) currently of the home, daughter Melissa Whiting of South Grand Lake OK, granddaughters Molly Dearth (Brad Williams) of Pasadena CA and Megan Lane (Grant Lane) of Savannah, GA, Gamma is also survived by two great grandsons Les and Hudson Lane of Savannah and well-loved nephew Bill Underwood of Edmond OK, niece Michelle Southwell of San Antonio TX and special cousins. She is also survived by an honorary third daughter Jody Carter of Vinita.
As a life-long member of Christian Science, she believed strongly in the power of prayer. It was a testament to her faith that she had only been admitted to a hospital in 1956 and 1960 to give birth to her daughters. The medical staff attending her on her next admission – October 30 of this year – were amazed by the fact that she had virtually no medical history.
She loved to read, and it was rare to see her without a book in her hand. She was a fast reader with a very sharp awareness of exactly what she was reading – often to her students’ dismay!
Above anything else, Gamma was a dedicated mother and grandmother. She loved her family, her students, and her dogs. She gets to be reunited with her Labradoodle Minico who passed away in 2020 and left Gamma with an indelible sadness.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers, that contributions be made in her name to the Vinita Educational Foundation, the Vinita Public Library, or the Vinita Christian Science Society. At Mary Anne's request, no services are planned at this time, arrangements are under the direction of Luginbuel Funeral Home.
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