Mary Ellen (Dunivan) Coldiron was born June 5, 1932, to John Douglas and Gertrude (Speer) Dunivan, on the family farm homesteaded by her grandfather, Lawrence Speer, near Morrison, Oklahoma. She attended first grade at a country school, "Windy Center" 3/4 mile south and one mile west of the family farm. Sometimes she and her brother, Everett, would walk to school and sometimes her grandfather would take them in his Model A car. Mary Ellen attended Sumner School, 2nd grade through 12th grade, graduating in 1950. She enjoyed school and especially playing basketball. There were seven students in her graduating class, taking a senior trip to Galveston.
Mary Ellen enjoyed life on the farm. During the 1930s, her family had the only farm home in the area with electricity, using a wind powered generator that provided for the use of some lights and a washing machine. They also had running water by gravity flow from a tank in a tower next to a windmill well pump. She was involved with all the usual farm work of that time, chopping weeds from crops, picking cotton, canning fruits and vegetables and processing meat butchered on the farm. She went barefoot in the summertime and usually stepped on a nail, with treatment by soaking her foot in turpentine. When she was four years old, she met her best friend, Roberta McQuiston who lived on a neighboring farm. They have continued a close friendship for over 80 years.
In 1945, due to her father's poor health and unable to do the hard work of farming, the family bought the grocery store and filling station, called Bill's Corner, one mile from the family farm. The business was started in the 1920s by her mother's uncle, Bill Turner. The family lived there and operated the business until the death of her father, John Dunivan, in 1947. Her mother then bought and moved a house onto land that she owned west of Bill's Corner. Mary Ellen lived there until moving with her mother and brother, Everett, to Perry in 1958.
After graduating from high school in 1950, Mary Ellen began work at the Exchange Bank in Perry. Her salary was $120.00 a month. She saved her money and bought a new 1956 Chevy. On August 4, 1962, she married Kenneth Coldiron, a fellow employee of the Exchange Bank. Kenny had 4 sons. Clark, Dan, Reed and Carl. Carl died in April of 1987. In 1964, Kenneth and Mary Ellen built a new home at 1008 Delaware Street on property that belonged to Kenny's father, Dr. D.F. Coldiron. She continued living in that home until her death. After her marriage, she joined the Presbyterian Church, where she served on different committees and served as financial secretary for 30 years.
Mary Ellen retired from the bank on Dec. 31, 1980. She then cared for her mother, who had dementia, in her and Kenny's home for many years. One of the great joys of her retirement was caring for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren while their parents were working.
Kenny and Mary Ellen enjoyed taking trips throughout the U.S. and Europe. They also traveled to Maui several times and stayed with Kenny's niece, Vicki Coldiron. They enjoyed travelling with their grandchildren on many occasions.
Mary Ellen lost Kenny, the love of her life, on January 18, 1998. She always said what a special blessing he was in her life. After his death she was involved in numerous volunteer activities, including the Hospital Auxiliary, Blood Institute and Operation Blessing. She was a member for 53 years, of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) that provides opportunities for young women world-wide. For the past several years, she has been "speeding" through the streets of Perry, delivering Meals-On-Wheels to home-bound folks in need (with cousin Clyde Speer backseat driving).
She had some wonderful friends, including those known as the "Wild Women of Perry", who spent time together enjoying life!
Mary Ellen Coldiron was dearly loved and had a very special relationship with her family and all who knew her.
Visitation will be held at Brown-Dugger Funeral Home in Perry, Oklahoma from 12pm-8pm on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 where the family will be present from 6pm-8pm. Funeral Services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Perry, Oklahoma on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 10:00am.
She is survived by her brother, Dale Dunivan and a beloved uncle, Wayne Speer, of Perry; three step-sons and their wives, Dan and Beverly Coldiron, of Perry, Reed and Roni Coldiron, of Perry and Clark and Beth Coldiron of Florida; 7 grandchildren, Derek Coldiron and his wife Daphne of Perry, Brett Coldiron and his wife Kim of Perry, Daniel (Trey) Coldiron III and his wife Marty of Perry, Abbi Coldiron of New Mexico, Nathan Coldiron of Florida, Nicole Coldiron of Florida, and Nolan Coldiron of Florida; 9 great-grandchildren, Zac of Perry, Audra of Perry, Izabella of Perry, Dalton of Stillwater, Keely of Perry, Aspen of Perry, Hunter of Perry, Spencer of Kansas, and Destiny of New Mexico; 1 great great-grandchild, Amariana, of Perry; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and a multitude of friends.
Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Coldiron, a step-son, Carl Coldiron, her parents, John and Gertrude Dunivan, and one brother, Everett Dunivan.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the PEO scholarship fund through Brown-Dugger Funeral Home.