Ava Lou Gann was born January 25, 1930 to Delbert Clair and Clara (Frazee) Gepner of Geary, Oklahoma. Her childhood years on the farm witnessed two of our nation’s darkest events – the Great Depression and the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. It was those early years and tough times that instilled the traits of hard wo…read more
Ava Lou Gann was born January 25, 1930 to Delbert Clair and Clara (Frazee) Gepner of Geary, Oklahoma. Her childhood years on the farm witnessed two of our nation’s darkest events – the Great Depression and the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. It was those early years and tough times that instilled the traits of hard work, perseverance and making the most with what you had, habits that Ava carried throughout her life time. Along with schooling, chores were a part of her daily life. Gathering and milking cows was a main chore-made a little easier with the companionship and joy of her “barn” cats.
Ava attended Geary High School, graduating on May 23, 1947. A Senior Portrait from the Bison yearbook quoted her Ambition as “Housewife”; weakness, “Lewis Gann” (as if no one knew!) and Dislikes, smart alecks. She married her “weakness”, Lewis, shortly after graduating in 1947 and took up residence in a farm house outside Geary. On June 14, 1951 Judy Lou was born with Robert Ray coming one year and one week later, on June 21, 1952.
In 1954 she and Lewis made the move to California- over the protest and dismay of the Grandparents and Great-Grandparents of Judy and Robert. Although having a full time job raising two children, those first years in California saw her picking strawberries and being an Avon Lady in her “spare” time. In the late 1960’s she was briefly employed by Parker Aircraft before being hired at Sears Roebuck. She started in Catalog Sales and Pickup and then moved on to Customer Service. Only a person like Ava could deal on a daily basis with somewhat disgruntled customers- providing a friendly smile while patiently dealing with their issues. She received recognition as a Courtesy award Winner for her service.
Lewis’ life ended on earth April 15, 1979 after a terminal illness. After spending 32 years together, he was truly her “weakness” and this was a monumental loss to her. Taking some time to recover, she found other avenues to turn her attention to.
A major part of her life’s activities center on her church, the First Baptist Church of Walteria. Since accepting Christ as her savior in 1952, she was devoted to bible study, prayer and service. She took great joy in working in the church, serving in positions from Sunday School teacher to Secretary/Treasurer. She loved the church and leaves many faithful friends to carry on the work.
Ava also inherited her Father’s love of gardening. Her roses were spectacular and the fragrance from the roses as you entered her courtyard was delightful.
She also loved the beauty of our country. With every opportunity presented, she traveled with friends and family. Ava visited 48 states- including Alaska and Hawaii- missing only Rhode Island and Connecticut. Her farthest trip from home was in 1996 when she accompanied a dear friend, Florence Wilson, to Brazil for the dedication of the Rev. Jim Wilson-Baptist Seminary of the Cariri Valley, the Wilson’s had been missionaries to Brazil for many years. Rev. Wilson continued his service at First Baptist of Walteria. Her travels were primarily to visit our National Parks as well as family and friends in Oklahoma- she never lost her desire to return to Oklahoma.
She enjoyed a long and fulfilling retirement living in Lomita with her Granddaughter, Charlene, her daughter and Son close by as well as those entertaining visits from her Granddaughters and Great-Granddaughters who live in Arizona.
Although suffering thru her last years with a debilitating disease. Ava always maintained her grace, dignity, kindness and never lost the twinkle of those blue eyes.
She is survived by her children Judy (Lawson) Pedigo and Bob (Marcia) Gann; granddaughters Ava Charlene, Melissa (Jason) Reel and Tiffany (Chris) Gray; great granddaughters Savannah and Gracelin.
Surviving Oklahoma relatives include her sister Carol Joyce Hubbard; nephew Earl Wayne Gepner and grandnephew David Wayne Gepner.hide