Leota Marie McSpadden passed through this life in her home on July 30, 2021 just as she had lived it: quietly, with unwavering strength and stubbornness, an abundance of love for her family, and surrounded by her children.
Leota was born June 2, 1935, to parents Vic and Lillian Burns of Bushyhead, Oklahoma. She grew up the oldest of five children. After graduation from Chelsea High School, she moved to Tulsa where she worked as a telephone operator. Her first major purchase exemplified her life-long generosity and selflessness, when she bought her parents their first television set. On December 8, 1957 she married the love of her life, Trent McSpadden. Family was at the center of the life they created, and at the center of the family was Leota.
With few brief exceptions, Leota spent her life in rural Rogers County. She cherished the countryside, birds, deer, wild turkey, dogwood, redbuds, pecan trees. She loved moonlight, the changing colors of autumn, coffee, dancing with her husband, holding babies, playing cards or Yahtzee, visiting casinos, taking drives to Spencer Creek, sewing (school clothes, wedding dresses, Halloween costumes) vacations to the Grand ‘Ol Opry or Branson, watching The Voice and the Hallmark Channel, laughing with her sisters, weiner roasts, parades, and all things Christmas.
Although she never liked swimming, Leota adored the water. Many happy moments were spent skipping rocks with grandchildren on Spencer Creek; taking morning walks and collecting sand dollars on the beach during vacation at Padre Island; sitting on the deck of a rented vacation home on Dauphin Island, drinking coffee and watching sunrise and sunset on the water. Her family liked to tease her about the only water-related family event she didn’t enjoy ---- floating the Buffalo River with her husband and children. She was miserable, but she did it. Just one of the many ways Leota showed her love.
The only new car she ever had was one she bought before she married. Growing up she had learned to drive on a tractor and a truck, and had “saved enough money in the bank and sold some yearlings” to purchase the car. In her words, “I got a brand new Mercury. Oh my gosh, I was proud of that car! That’s one of the things that stayed with us (Trent and me) all the years. He sold my car…Man, I hit the roof! It was paid for and he traded it off. I was so mad at him!” Her next couple of decades were spent with used station wagons full of kids. Just one of the many ways Leota showed her love.
One of the things she loved most was feeding people. Leota’s cooking was legendary. In her later years as her health failed, her children would sometimes lift her spirits by talking about the meals she had prepared over the years: chicken and noodles; pot roast and mashed potatoes; beans, fried potatoes and cornbread; Grandmother McSpadden’s scrapple; wild onions and eggs; breaded round steak and cream gravy; brownie cakes, birthday cakes, carrot cakes; apple dumplings or cinnamon rolls, etc. Just one of the many ways Leota showed her love.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Trent McSpadden, and her daughter, Virginia Workman. She is survived by a family too numerous to name, but who love her deeply and will strive to live up to the amazing example of unselfish love she gave.
Those who wish to honor Leota's memory may consider contributing to Compassus Hospice, 35904 South Highway 82, Vinita, Oklahoma 74301.