Jim and Betty O’Donnell will be honored as Senior Living Role Models at the Senior Living Fair, 9-11 a.m., Saturday, July 27, at the Oologah United Methodist Church, 5834 E. 410 Road, located just off US-169 across from the greenhouse.
The door prize will be $200 cash from Lakeside State Bank. The cash drawing will be held about 10:45 and the winner must be present.
Other prizes will be awarded throughout the morning. Most of the businesses hosting booths will also offer a prize for signing up at their booth.
OTEMS medics will be on hand to perform free blood sugar and blood pressure checks and answer questions about the 7Ready program.
Brunch will be served compliments of the Doc’s Foods and Apple Market, Wanda Sanders and Overhead Door of Tulsa Commercial Division, Oologah Lake Leader and Daylight Donuts of Oologah. The brunch will feature quiche, fruit and cinnamon rolls from Doc’s Foods and donuts and muffins from Daylight Donuts Oologah.
The theme is “Cruise into Senior Living,” so wear cruise or beach wear. We’ll vote and award a prize for best dressed cruiser.
Jim and Betty O’Donnell came to Oologah to teach in 1973 and found their home.
“We’ve been so blessed to do this in Oologah,” said Betty. “Our career is like throwing a pebble on the lake and watching the ripples. It’s still growing.”
Jim, called “Coach O” by students, was a coach and middle school teacher for 31 years.
Betty taught for 31 and a half years, with 23 years as a kindergarten teacher. She estimates that she taught about 800 students during her 23 years at Oologah-Talala.
Being grandparents isn’t the only activity for Jim and Betty since they retired.
Jim began working as an historical guide at the Will Rogers Birthplace in 1988 and at the Memorial in 1990. He’s served under four directors and is still on the job.
Steve Gragert, current director at the Will Rogers Memorial Museums, agreed to give Jim the day off on Saturday so he could be honored as our Senior Living Role Model.
Betty recalled that the caretaker at the birthplace wanted someone who knew Oklahoma history and the community. Jim had taught Oklahoma history, so he was a natural choice.
“Jim’s association with Will Rogers has added so much to our lives.”
Betty still teaches young ones by teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. She’s co-director of preschool ministry at Harbor Church.
She also enjoys quilting and gardening.