Wana Kay (Forbes) Hargrave was born on January 10, 1941, near Skiatook, Oklahoma, to Alfred Luvell and Dorothy Genevieve (Moore) Forbes. Her family moved to a farm just south of Avant, Oklahoma, around 1945, where Kay and her younger brother Gary would grow up. Kay started first grade at Avant Public School in 1947, meeting her best friend, Connie (Grace) Williams, on the first day of first grade. The two remained best friends throughout their lives until Connie’s passing in 2005. Kay played basketball at Avant during high school, was carnival queen, library aide, Valedictorian of her senior class, and a proud Avant Chieftain. She also worked at Higdon’s Drug Store during high school and occasionally at the local telephone office. She graduated from Avant Public School in May 1959.
Kay began college at the University of Tulsa in August 1959. She received her Associate’s Degree in Business in May 1961. She was employed with SEG (Society of Exploration Geophysicists) in Tulsa, OK, from 1961 until 1964. She loved working at SEG alongside her dear friend, Joyce Meadows, and her cousin, Twila Davis.
Kay met Jim Hargrave, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on a blind date in 1962. On November 16, 1963, the two married at the Avant House of Prayer, where Kay had been a lifelong member. They lived in Tulsa, and in 1965, they welcomed their first child, Traci Linn. In 1966, their son, Jimmie Darrell, was born. In 1968, Kay and Jim decided to move their small family back to Avant, where they still live today. In 1970, Kay and Jim had another son, but he was born prematurely and did not survive.
To say that Avant Public School was an important factor in Kay’s life is an understatement. She began volunteering as a teacher’s aide and substitute teacher in 1971. She was employed by Osage County Co-Op in 1981, serving schools in the area as a tutor. Kay worked at Avant Public School for the next 40 years as a teacher’s assistant, VESS coordinator, and tutor. She retired in 2011 from full-time employment after a bout with breast cancer. Kay continued working at Avant Public School on a part-time basis as the Native American Education coordinator and tutor until her death.
Kay began working for the Osage County Election Board Precinct 113 as a counter in the early 1970s. She was named Inspector for the precinct in the mid-1980s, holding that position for more than 35 years.
Kay loved her family more than anything. She was the most selfless and forgiving person ever. She took the job at the school to be near her children even more, and in later years, her grandchildren and currently her great-grandchildren. Kay loved seeing them and every single student each day at school. Throughout her life, she enjoyed going to so many places and doing so many things. She loved going to Jimmie’s high school baseball and basketball games, going to Silver Dollar City, picking up pecans, playing piano at church, concerts, NASCAR races, watching crime shows, family reunions, watching royal weddings with the girls, feeding thousands of hummingbirds, watching her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, mowing yards on a zero-turn mower, but her favorite thing to do was sleep by a slightly open window during a thunderstorm and let the rain sprinkle on her face. Oh, how she loved thunderstorms! After breast cancer in 2011, open-heart surgery in 2014, and a second heart surgery in 2018, her body began to slow down, but her spirit did not. Kay had several episodes with lymphedema after her breast cancer experience but was always able to overcome them. She succumbed to her health issues on September 25, 2021, after a very short illness.
Kay was preceded in death by her parents, Alfred and Dorothy Forbes, infant son, and her sister-in-law, Wanda (Ridenour) Forbes. She is survived by her adoring husband of nearly 58 years, Jim, of the home; her brother, Lt. Col (Ret) Gary L. Forbes of Avant; daughter, Traci Arnold and husband, Chad, of Skiatook; son, Jimmie, and wife, Christy, of Avant; grandchildren, Trey Hargrave and Brennan Beck, and Scottie Jo Hargrave and Kevin Newman, all of Avant, and Zachary Arnold, Skiatook; great-grandchildren, Noah, Jonah, and Kendrick Hargrave, Daniel Campbell and Logan Newman; nephews Gary Luvell Forbes, Jr, Dusty Forbes, and niece Angel Forbes, as well as a host of friends, cousins, and loved ones.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Avant Public School in honor of "Mrs. Kay’s" lifelong devotion and commitment to the Chieftain Community.
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