Betty Lee Ripley passed away at the age of 92 on May 20, 2018 in Edmond, Oklahoma. Betty had been a resident of the Tealridge Assisted Living Center in Edmond for over 3 years.
According to her birth certificate, Betty was born in Pawnee County, Oklahoma on November 26,1925 to Fred Dean and Annetta E. Dean (Thurber), but she always insisted her actual birthday was November 27, 1925.
Fred Dean died of typhoid fever in 1928 and Betty’s mother soon married Clarence Cochrum, who she always called her Daddy.
As a small girl her family moved around living in and around Pawnee, in North Texas, Western Oklahoma and then back to Pawnee County, where she started school at a country school near Prosperity, Oklahoma. Betty’s Grandfather Thurber owned and operated several butcher and meat markets. At times her father worked in and owned his own filling stations and grocery stores in Pawnee and Noble County. Betty attended grade school in Quay, junior high in Lela and high school in Glencoe before graduating from Morrison, during World War II.
Like many young women of her generation, she was part of a group that wrote to the local service men during the war. Joe Ripley, Her husband of 55 years, always said he fell in love with her in part because of her letters.
In January of 1945, Joe returned to the USA after 2 years and 50 combat missions in the US Army Air Corp as part of a B 24 bomb crew. Joe and Betty fully expected to be transferred to the Pacific for more combat, when Japan surrendered. Joe and Betty were married on May 3, 1945. Joe died in February of 2000.
Joe and Betty first moved to Perry in 1947 so, according to Betty, Joe could play baseball in Perry and she could move into town from rural Noble County to raise her family. Joe was active in semi-pro baseball for years and part of 5 Oklahoma State Championship teams from Perry in the 1950s. One of Joe and Betty’s proudest days was the dedication of the Joe Ripley Field baseball park in Perry.
In 1952, Joe and his brother Bob started Mid-Continent Permanent, a local business headquartered in Perry that would not only support them and their families, but at its height employed over 200 employees in 5 states.
Betty and Joe were able to travel to many of the states in the USA and over 10 foreign countries, but were always proud to say they were from Perry and felt blessed to have raised their children in Perry.
Betty is survived by her sister, Carolyn Marcum, and Betty’s sons, Ron and his wife, Terry, and Mickey and his wife, Gail. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Travis Ripley; Erika Ripley and her husband, Dr. David Clark; Trent Ripley and his wife, Shelby; Shannon Bailey and her husband, Mike; and Jessica Hawkins and her husband, Aaron.
Betty is also survived by her 8 great grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband Joe, her parents, her sister, Billie Lesher, and her numerous cousins, aunts and uncles.
Funeral services will be held Friday, May 25, 2018 at the First Baptist Church in Perry, Oklahoma with Brother Kim Hayes officiating. The service will start at 2:00pm and interment will follow at Grace Hill Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Brown-Dugger Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Perry High School, The First Baptist Church of Perry or Cherokee Strip Museum.
Ronnie, Mickey and families: I send sympathy and my fondest regards. Your mom was a lovely lady and I have sweet memories of her. She is smiling from Heaven!
Kristine Newton HoffmanLawson, MO
Sincere condolences to Ron, Mickey, and families. Betty was a vivacious, beloved person to everyone who knew her in Perry. Our thoughts are with you. Marjorie Martin and family
Kay Martin McCarthyTulsa, OK
Ron, Mickey and families, I
Kristine Newton HoffmanLawson, MO
I have many fond memories of Aunt Betty. She was a sweet aunt, a gracious host to her extended family members, always cheeful and kind and quite humorous . She was such a talented writer. Aunt Betty wrote some beautiful tributes to family members on special occasions. One that I will always cherish was for my dad, Gene Ripley her brother in law, presented to him on his 70 bday. Another tribute to Uncle Elmer and Aunt Babe on their wedding anniversary. These were beautifully written and carefully recorded on parchment paper. I will also never forget at Uncle Joe’s funeral when she said she had placed her last love letter to Uncle Joe in his casket.....I am pretty much lost it at that point thinking about the love they shared and how devoted they both were to their family, church and community. I am sure Uncle Joe had his arms wide open to join him on the other side and Aunt Betty probably was running into his arms .....saying “I will never let you go”! Thanks to both Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty for being such great role models for your nieces and nephews.
Bonnie Bradley (Ripley)Wichita (originally from Morrison, OK, KS
My thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Betty. She was such a wonderful person. My memories of her will bring a smile. I loved her and Joe.
Judy EubanksWeatherford, TX