Claudine “Babe” (Walker) Whisenhunt was born the nineteenth day of June 1929. She was the sixth of eight children that grew up on a farm near Nashoba Oklahoma. Babe passed from this life to be with her Lord on the 7th day of May 2021 at 91 years of age.
Known as Babe to all her friends in the Pushmataha County area, she taught at the elementary school in Clayton OK for 20 years. Everyone knew her love for teaching and fishing, and for the beautiful flowers she displayed in her garden each year.
She was preceded in death by: her parent’s Walter and Innie (Barber) Walker, her husband Herbert Whisenhunt who passed in 1977; brother: James Walker; and three sisters: Opal Stepp, Joyce Snow and Dorothy Robbins.
She is survived by her four children: Fred Whisenhunt and spouse Jean, Linda Carver and spouse Dwayne, Jerry Whisenhunt and spouse Ida, and JoAnn Brafford and spouse Bill; two brothers: Forrest “Pete” Walker and Murriel Walker; sister: Patsy Butler; 11 grandchildren: Daniel Whisenhunt, Brian Carver, Rebecca Westbrook, Jody Gallardo, Jerry Allen Whisenhunt, Jennifer Drake, Cuma Kyzer, Dala Honeysuckle, Mariah Hall, Daniel Brafford and Alison Grubbs; 25 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren; as well as a host of dear friends and relatives.
Services for Claudine will take place on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 10AM at the Clayton Church of Christ with Gary Fuller officiating. Interment will follow at AL Stephens Cemetery in Clayton, OK. Pallbearers include: Lamon Roberts, Michael Butler, Benjamin Butler, Junior Jackson, Larry Jackson, and Jerry Allen Whisenhunt, with Honorary Pallbearer: Nubbin Wren.
Services have been entrusted with Serenity Funeral Service of Antlers, OK.
Life on earth is often called a journey, as is the case for Claudine
Whisenhunt. For her it began earlier than planned for the Walker
family. Her premature birth on the nineteenth of June 1929 was
so early that her tiny size gave her the only name she knew until
she started school. The family just called her “Babe” and her first
bed was a shoebox which is a story she often told. At the start of
grade school Babe chose for herself an official name, so she
became Claudine Walker, but she preferred that her friends call
Growing up on Blackfork Creek near Nashoba Oklahoma during
the depression years was rough, but there she learned to love life
and fishing. Fishing became a passion that she loved all her life.
There was something else she found on the Blackfork. A young
man caught her eye and she deemed him the best catch of her
life, even better than the largest fish ( which is saying a lot). At
the tender age of 18 she reeled in Herbert Whisenhunt and they
continued their journey through life together. Those were happy
times, dotted with struggles and blessings of four children. Many
times it was difficult to put food on the table, so the family would
travel to wherever there was work. There were sawmills in
Colorado and New Mexico where the family lived in a sawmill
shack and one journey led to Arizona to work in a cotton gin.
Those travels went westward as far as California. Also there
were several trips to western Oklahoma to chop and pick cotton
where it was a family affair.
The journey really got rough when Herbert underwent two open
heart surgeries. It was during this time Herbert told Babe she
needed to become a teacher, as he knew that his life's journey
with her was going to be cut short. She preferred to stay home
and take care of him, but Herbert insisted that she go to college
and get that teacher’s certificate. So off she went, starting with
two years of commuting with a friend to Wilburton. Traveling 80
miles each day, there were flat tires too numerous to count, and
the next two years' journey was even longer and more difficult as
Babe proceeded to spend weekdays at Durant Ok and the
weekends at home. You know Babe was a determined lady,
because persistence paid off with a teaching certificate and she
continued life's journey as a grade school teacher for the next 24
years. But Babe did not stop with her teaching certificate. She
and son Fred spent summers commuting together in Missouri
where Babe earned a Masters Degree in Education.
Babe’s journey with Herbert ended abruptly three years after she
began teaching. Teaching was the road that continued to lead her
for the next 20 years.
Travel, gardening and camping were her journey companions
along with teaching. There was a trip to Hawaii, a Canada fishing
trip and a trip to Yellowstone National Park in a popup camper
along with numerous campouts and fishing trips to the James
River in Missouri with her son Jerry and the grandchildren.
Quilting and gardening came into focus at retirement. Flowers
were her favorite and there were beauties everywhere visible
from the road in front of her house. Many necks were stretched
looking as cars passed by her house.
Babe migrated to Tennessee in 2011 and lived next door to
daughter Linda and for the next 4 years flowers bloomed all
around. She converted the barn lot into a vegetable garden.
Returning home to Nashoba in 2015 was soon followed by a
stroke that meant she would require assistance to complete her
journey. She lived in an assisted living facility at Tulsa OK to be
near where her daughter JoAnn lived and could look after Babe.
Earth’s journey leads you to cross paths with many people and
those people influence your future direction and the meaning of
life. It was on one of the western Oklahoma trips that a couple
invited Herb and Babe to a Bible study. They viewed the Jewel
Miller filmstrip series and enjoyed a piece of pie over a period of
several weeks. So it was that the seed of God’s word was
planted. Upon return to Nashoba, Herb insisted that they learn
more about God’s plan, and they were baptised into Christ at the
Clayton Church of Christ.
So it is that Babe’s journey is now complete, but she has left a
family and friends to complete their own journeys.
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