Cover photo for Thelma Jean Henderson's Obituary
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1933 Thelma 2023

Thelma Jean Henderson

August 13, 1933 — November 16, 2023



Funeral service is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Monday, November 20, 2023, at the First Baptist Church of Claremore. A visitation will be held on Sunday, November 19, 2023, at the MMS-Payne Funeral home from 1-6 p.m., with family greeting friends from 4-6 p.m.

Thelma Jean Henderson, age 90, passed away on November 16, 2023.

Thelma was born on August 13, 1933, in Oologah, Oklahoma, the daughter of Carson and Gladys (Thomason) Mendell. She was raised on a dairy farm in rural Oologah and began her education in a one-room schoolhouse in the Snarr community. Thelma later attended Oologah High School, where she first met Melton Henderson, her high school sweetheart. They married in 1951, and as a young couple, Thelma accompanied Melton to his various Navy stations.  However short the stay she always enjoyed finding work and earning a living right along with Melton for their new lives. She was a hard worker and had a remarkable work ethic.  This drive and determination were always an influence for her entire family.

Following Melton's discharge, in the 1960’s Thelma and Melton would settle back home in Oologah.  There they would begin raising their family.  They also became an active part of the community. She dedicated herself to the local Zion Hill Free Will Baptist church, serving as secretary, treasurer, and Sunday school teacher. In the 1980s, Thelma and Melton moved to Claremore and joined the First Baptist Church.  This move introduced them to many more people, and they established lifelong friendships.  Thelma loved the circle of friends that they shared monthly pitch games and dinner parties with.  Her love of traveling was a huge part of Thelma’s life. Over the years they not only traveled all 50 states in the USA, but well as over much of the world including China, Israel, and most all of Europe.  Her favorite travel was always the Hawaiian Islands.    Besides traveling Thelma enjoyed her years of scuba diving, water skiing, painting, and entertaining.   She continually was proving  that you were never too old to try new things. 

Thelma leaves behind a legacy of dedication to family.  She has inspired all the generation behind her, gifting them the knowledge that with hard work and dedication great things will happen.

Above all else, Thelma was a proud and loving partner of her blue-eyed husband Melton Henderson that proceeded her in death by 22 days.  They were married 72 years. In addition, Thelma is preceded in death by her parents, Carson and Gladys,  her brother, Willie Mendell.  She is survived by her children, Douglas Warren Henderson and wife Rebecca,  and Sandra Rene Henderson Flippo and husband John Flippo; grandchildren, Denver Lee Henderson, Dylan Lee Henderson, Lauren Nicole Flippo, Jordan Noelle Rene Flippo, John  Christopher Flippo, Karen Thompson, Jason Flippo, Michael Flippo, and Andrew Flippo; as well as great-grandchildren, Evan Eugene Henderson, Kristen Marie Henderson, and Gulliver David Allen Henderson.

View and sign Thelma’s online memorial at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thelma Jean Henderson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, November 19, 2023

1:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

MMS-Payne Funeral Home and Cremation Services-Claremore

102 W 5th St, Claremore, OK 74017

Family will receive visitors from 4pm-6pm.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, November 20, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

First Baptist Church of Claremore

107 E Will Rogers Blvd, Claremore, OK 74017

Burial will follow at Wann Cemetery

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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