Thanks for Brother Don Wasson for getting the obituary written (with an assist from H. R. Mills). -- Ted

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Ted Wright -- last update 2/13/2004 (BettyWrightFeb12.html)
Copyright 2004

Betty K. Wright
Passed Away
Feb. 12, 2004

Services Sat. 2pm
Meadowcreek Methodist (Feb 14)

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Betty K. Wright, 87, died Thursday, February 12 in a Tulsa hospital after a short illness. She was the granddaughter of Felix G. Keith and Chauncey D. Evans. The two families’ land, banking and construction interests were instrumental in the development of Indian Territory in the late 1800s and in the founding of Collinsville in 1899.

She was the first child born to Frank A. Evans and Maybelle Keith Evans – on a day she often liked to joke about, 9-11, 1916. She was a 55-year member of the Collinsville United Methodist Church. Betty retired as The Collinsville News business manager and columnist in 1987 when the 87-year-old publication was sold to Neighbor Newspapers. The Wright family founded The News in 1899. At the time of the sale the newspaper was the oldest continuously published newspaper in Tulsa County.

She is survived by six children: Don Wasson and wife Shirley, Vera; Mary Wasson Elliott, Kenai, AK; Jerry Wasson and wife Lisa, Kenai, AK; Phillip A. Wright and wife Carol, Tulsa; Jane Wright Schlueter and husband David, Waco, TX; and Ted Wright, Collinsville. Also surviving are three brothers, Marvin Evans, Jones Creek, TX, Ralph Evans, Oologah, and Robert Evans, Palisade, CO. Her step-mother Clover Evans of Oologah also survives. At the time of her death Betty was also matriarch to 21 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by brother Melvin Evans, daughter-in-law Marlene LaClair and baby Helen Wright, and by her husband of 51 years, John P. Wright, former publisher of The Collinsville News.

Today the buzz words “Pushing the Envelope” get bantered about frequently. Betty Wright lived a life that could be characterized with that phrase. She was graduated salutatorian of her high school class at age 16 in 1933. Betty was the first CHS graduate whose parents earned their diploma at the same school. She immediately enrolled in Tulsa Business College and with the $1.25-a-week her brothers earned peddling milk from the family farm and from delivering the Tulsa World, she graduated two years later with her associate business degree.

She married J. H. Wasson in 1936. They were married five years and had three children. During World War II, as a single mother, she was a billing clerk for Collins-Dietz-Morris. Later during the war she was part of the “Rosie the Riveter” workforce at Douglas Aircraft in Tulsa. Her responsibilities were to make sure all the parts were available to build the B-25 bombers. By the end of the war she was a statistical typist at Phillips Petroleum in Bartlesville.

She married John P. Wright in 1946. They had three children. As soon as Phillip, Jane Ann and Ted were old enough, she became business manager and columnist for The Collinsville News in 1954. Ted says his entire adolescent life was chronicled in “Betty’s Bit”, a journal-type column she shared with her readers. She wrote the column for 34 years. “Every one of my kids went to college,” she once noted in Betty’s Bit. And she consistently used her weekly column to emphasize the importance of “history” in the community. Every early-day family’s arrival in the city, and their dreams of success in Collinsville were told in the columns of The News. The Oklahoma Heritage Association twice picked The News as the best example of historical chronicles in the state.

Betty was the long-time secretary of the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce; she was secretary and past president of the C.O.E. Club; her 10-plus years of helping organize the Old Timers’ Reunion kept it going until most of the Old Timers were gone.

“Big Mama’s” children all have special stories they tell of their mother. Daughter Mary likes to recollect the day “Mother found a 5-gallon bucket of lard lying beside the road.” It had fallen from a delivery truck on old Highway 75 near Vera. During WWII that was like finding a gold mine, Mary recalls and she still remembers “Mother and us three kids weaving tied-together Curity baby diapers into the handles of the lard bucket so we could hoist it up into the car.”

Interment will be at Ridgelawn Cemetery, Collinsville, under direction of Collinsville Funeral Home.

Life May End.. But Love Never Ends!