With the same dignity and grace she had in life, Anita Jeanette Engles took flight on September 26, 2020, joining her beloved parents and husband, to reside forever in the kingdom of Heaven. She spent the last day of her earthly life fishing alongside her son and grandson, talking with friends and making plans with her daughter to cheer on OU the following day. It may have been the last day, but it followed almost 82 years of days – some better, some worse, all joined together in a lifetime of love.
Born in Caney, Oklahoma on December 6, 1938 in a building once used as a barn, Jeanette was the first child of William Louis and Wilma Leola Emerson Jordan. With her father in the Navy, Jeanette began school in Port Townsend, Washington before the family moved back to Oklahoma, settling in Caddo. The family expanded to include beloved siblings Sandra and Stan.
Jeanette was an academic superstar, graduating early from Caddo High School where she excelled in the band as well as on the basketball court. Always a friend and trusted confidant, she began early as the ring leader of Caddo’s 8 Musketeers. It was a group to whom she remained close for the rest of her life.
She enrolled at Oklahoma Baptist University after high school and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1960. After graduation, she began her career as Recreational and Guidance Specialist at Chilocco Indian School in Chilocco, Oklahoma. She continued her education at Oklahoma State, obtaining her Master’s in Guidance and Counseling. She taught at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs before moving closer to home and family. She taught biology and served as guidance counselor at Durant High School for two years, inspiring many students and making many friends, including forever friends the late Marcia and Tom Cox.
She moved to Southeastern in 1967 as the assistant director for Upward Bound (UB). She became director of UB and Trio programs, a position she held for eight years. She continued post graduate work at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa University and East Texas State University. In 1975, she migrated to Southeastern’s Education and Psychology Department from which she retired as a tenured professor and distinguished retired faculty member. Her dear late colleagues Dr. Pat Powers and Dr. John Gecks were part of her enchanted academic circle.
As much as Jeanette loved her students and being with them in the classroom, she loved her family and friends more. In the early 70s, Jeanette had the good fortune to be matched on a blind date with none other than Durant medical legend Dr. Leroy Lawson Engles. They married in 1972 and joined together with their family of four children and a new addition to come. They lived in love for 16 years before Dr. Engles’ death in 1988. Jeanette’s Baptist faith carried her through, but she missed him every day and theirs must have been a joyous reunion.
In her retirement, Jeanette supported many groups and charitable organizations with her time, dedication and talent. First Baptist Church, especially the Clothes Closet and medical missions project, was at the top of the list with work as an AARP Tax Prep Volunteer close behind. She was an OU super fan, even being photographed on occasion with Coach Barry Switzer and her handy OU helmet purse. She loved to fish and was good at it. She loved to explore new things and meet new people. She was curious and genuinely interested in others – an outstanding neighbor, citizen and friend.
Jeanette’s family and friends were her world and her daily presence in their lives will leave a huge void that cannot be filled. Her spirit, however, lives on in the foundation of love, gratitude and hope that were woven into their lives through her calm presence and rock-solid faith in the world around her. Her spirit will live on in the thrill of every touchdown on OU’s field and in the rush of excitement felt by her children and grandchildren as they reel in their most recent catch.
Family and friends left to mourn her presence in their daily lives are children Diane Engles and husband Al Koscielny, Colorado Springs, Colo., Dr. Craig Engles, Midwest City, Okla., Susan Engles and partner Jay Chatham, Dallas, Texas, Laura Engles Horton and husband Stan, Blairstown, New Jersey, and Leroy Engles and wife Camilla, Plano, Texas. Grandchildren Trevor Engles and wife Jennifer, Denver, Colo., Jared Horton, West Layfeyette, Ind., Isabelle Engles and Lawson Engles, Plano, Texas, Curtis Horton and wife, Sandra, Dallas, Texas, Melina Murray and husband, Charles, Bolivar, Missouri. Great grandchildren, Andrew and Heidi Horton, Dallas, Texas, Asa and McKenzie Murray, Bolivar, Missouri. Sister Sandra Spoon and husband Mickey, Amarillo, Texas, brother Stanley Jordan and wife Cindy, Farmersville, Texas. Sisters-in-law Dr. Phyllis Engles, Durant and Marie Engles, Denver, Colo., along with beloved extended family.
Lifelong close friends include Kay Stewart, Lana Sue Bryant, Juliet Cathey, Merle McElroy Ashcraft McCaskill, and Gayle Gaither among many others; friends and Sunday school classmates from First Baptist Church, the remaining members of the Caddo 8 Musketeers, neighbors, former students and others who looked to her for strength and wise counsel.
There will be a gathering at Highland Cemetery on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 1 p.m. with a brief service led by Dr. David Whitlock. Interment beside her cherished husband will follow. Friends are invited to participate at the cemetery service, and the family asks that masks be worn and social distancing guidelines be followed.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests honoring her with a donation to First Baptist Church or a SOSU scholarship which will be established in Jeanette’s name.
A celebration of Jeanette’s life will be held at her beloved First Baptist Church in the near
Services are under the direction of Holmes~Coffey~Murray Funeral Home in Durant, Oklahoma www.holmescoffeymurray.com
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