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Due to the pandemic, a private memorial service for Roberta Wike Jones, age 96, a Columbia, Missouri resident, was recently held at Rosehill Cemetery, in Wapanucka.
Interment was in Rosehill Cemetery, at Wapanucka.
Services were under the direction of Parker Millard.
Jones passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 16, 2020.
She was born on January 19, 1924, the fourth daughter to Jacob Lester and Louella Channell Wike, in Coal County.
Jones grew up at Boggy Depot – homestead of Allen Wright, (Chief of the Choctaw Nation, in Indian Territory, who named the State of Oklahoma).
After graduating from Wapanucka High School in 1941, she entered college, but interrupted her education and moved to Long Beach, California with her sister to weld United States naval ships in World War II as “Rosie the Riveter”, though she always emphasized that her sister, Priscilla, proved to be the better welder.
After that wartime effort, she completed her college degree at Southeastern Oklahoma State University; eloped to marry her childhood sweetheart on Christmas Eve, Lee Don Jones, and embarked on a public education career. Jones taught in the public classrooms in North Enid, Wapanucka and Gallup, New Mexico before she and Lee Don threw caution to the wind, sold all their worldly possessions, loaded a couple of children into a 1958 Rambler station wagon and drove the gravel Alaskan Highway, 1,390 miles to Anchorage, Alaska. There they sold the car and boarded a pontoon bush plane to the isolated village near the Brustol Bay of Ekwok.
The entire family enjoyed a memorable privilege there, while they team taught K-8 and researching the largest and newest state and Alaskan Inuit culture. Her previous work with teenagers (Think 1950’s) now became primary school activities. Afterward, her innovative strategies for using multisensory hands on social studies activities were popular and highly effective.
Returning to Oklahoma, Jones worked in the Mustang and Arapaho Public Schools, earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma, obtained a private pilot’s license, and accepted a promotion to principal at Arapaho Schools in the mid-1970s, a position rarely offered to women at the time.
She served a long and fulfilling tenure before retiring to build a home on the Atoka County ranch that she and Lee Don had pursued as a lifelong hobby and avocation for many years. Jones drove the farm truck to feed cattle, haul grandkids to swim in Sandy Creek, watched birds, taught Sunday School, quilted, made delicious pies, organized a women’s luncheon group, fended off deer and armadillos from her flower beds. At holidays, she enjoyed singing 3-part harmony with sisters-in-law, Sue Jones and Betty Jones Sullivan.
In 1997, she and Lee Don moved to Columbia, Missouri, to be near their daughter’s family. Before long she was organizing the kitchen at the Unitarian Universalist Church, starting the women’s “Conversations” group, serving as an election judge at the polls, growing beautiful hydrangeas, and playing an active role in the lives of her Columbia grandchildren. She will be remembered for her wit, wisdom, industry, keen observations of human nature, and put things back practices.
Survivors include her son, Lee Jonathan Jones of Ardmore; daughter, Jan Swaney and husband, Charles, of Columbia, Missouri; grandchildren, Leah Sanchez and husband, James, of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Jacob Jones and wife, Ashley, of Reno, Nevada; Donavan Jones and Kaitlin Worley, of Fort Worth, Texas; Aaron Swaney and Julia Baller, of Washington, D.C.; and Micah Jones and wife, Ashley, of Tulsa; great-grandchildren, Anna Jones, Caroline and Robert Sanchez and Holly Jones; daughter-in-law, Vicki Jones of Tulsa; sister-in-law, Betty Sullivan of Atoka; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death were her husband, Lee Don Jones, who died in 2009.
Memorials are suggested to: Johnston County Historical Society, P. O. Box 804, Tishomingo, OK 73460; Rose Hill Cemetery, c/o Wapanucka City Hall, 211 Choctaw Avenue, Wapanucka, Ok, 73461, or a charity of one’s choice.
Condolences may be left online for the family at www.ParkerMillard.com.