Clara Mae "Mae" Phillips Eddings was born Jan. 31, 1912, in Fort Douglas, Johnson County, Ark. She entered Heaven's gate Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016.
Daughter of Charlie Calvin Phillips and Lavanda Terry, Mae grew up on a farm on Big Piney Creek with four brothers (Bill, James, Walter, and Arthur), two half-brothers (John and Richard) and one half-sister (Nancy).
One of her earliest memories was not wanting to get out of bed to see her two older half-brothers off to World War I. She said it was too cold and too early; she later said she was especially thankful that both made it home unharmed. She also remembered going to town for supplies in the buckboard and being amazed when she saw her first automobile.
Mae's father passed away when she was 11, and she remembered having to step up and held her mother run the farm. She learned to do everything-chop wood, plant gardens, can vegetables. It wasn't always certain that she would be able to do farm work. When she was four, Mae fell into a pot of boiling water and severely burning her arm. Her parents were worried she would never regain use of it; months later, Mae came in the room carrying something with that arm, and she remembered her mother crying with joy.
There was time for school in the winter months, but it came second to running a farm; however, later in life, she said there was nothing more important than a good education.
Mae married Ruler Taft Eddings April 24, 1938, and they became part of the great wave of migrate workers, the Okies, who left Oklahoma and Arkansas for work in California's agriculture industry. Together, Mae and Ruler had three children, Bruce, Shirley and Roy.
In the early 1950s, Mae and the children permanently moved to Oklahoma and made a new home in Stilwell. As a single, working mom, she proudly provided for her family with grace and tireless energy. She worked for the Stilwell Canning Factory and later the Stilwell Hospital, from which she retired at age 62.
And nobody enjoyed retirement more than her. She was an avid seamstress, spending many hours at her 1930s Singer Sewing Machine (which she proudly paid for by herself as a young adult). For years, she compulsively crocheted, that is until she started compulsively quilting. Every member of her extended family has beautiful hand-crafted quilts that she designed.
She also liked to travel, often making trips along I-40 to visit her family in California. She liked stopping at tourist attractions and seeing something new.
Mae was a woman of strong faith and was a founding member of the Stilwell Pentecostal Holiness Church.
She passed peacefully in her sleep with family at her side.
She is preceded in death by her parents and siblings, her husband, and her children Bruce and Shirley, and her son-in-law, Johnny Lee Fletcher, whom she loved as a son.
Mae is survived by her son, Roy Eddings, of Tulsa; Bruce's wife, Marcia Eddings, of Luther, Okla. Grandchildren include: Leon and Lori Eddings, of Fremont, Calif.; Larry and Ana Eddings, of Fremont, Calif.; Danny Fletcher of Sallisaw; Sherry Fletcher and Terry Spears, of Stillwater; Rhonda and Linvel Merrill, Lori Fletcher and Andrea Fletcher, all of Sallisaw; Darrell Eddings and Jeremy Eddings, of Tulsa; and numerous great-grand and great-great-grandchildren.
She touched many lives and hearts in her too short 104 years.
She will be laid to rest next to Bruce, Shirley and Johnny at the Stilwell City Cemetery Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, at 10 a.m. at a graveside service.