Mildred Frances (Rutledge) O'Kelley, 87, born March 20, 1934, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, to Floyd and Nola Rutledge, passed away surrounded by loved ones in her home on May 13, 2021.
She was the oldest child of five, Charles (Carol), Bill (Sonali), Jean (Lew) and Rex (Norma). Mildred married Lee O'Kelley on April 13, 1951, and together they had six children before their divorce, Lonnie (James), Michael Derek, Larry (Trudy), Sean (Carrie), Stacey (Connie) and Shannon (Michael); 21 grandchildren, Morgon, Charles, Seana (Chad), Lance (Courtney), Devon, Ericka (James), Audra (Charlie), Jason (Mariah), Jackie (Jasmine), Heather (Dave), Larry (Alysha), Kayla (Owen), Chayne, Trace, Staci, Kelsey (Johnny), Crysta, Conor and Skye; as well as numerous great-grandchildren.
Mother, as she was known by all, grew up in Oklahoma but always considered Fairbanks, Alaska, her home and lived here most of her life. Her greatest accomplishment was always her children and those she considered hers. She loved those close to her heart and considered them all a part of her family without a doubt and her love engulfed us all in a warm embrace. She was always ready with words of wisdom, a quick joke, a kind smile or a loving hug. If you were hers, you knew it wholeheartedly. She always inspired us all to be the best person we could be and to remember that forgiveness is to be cherished because mistakes were made by all, no one was perfect. She led by example and loved with all her heart, she had a wicked sense of humor, was sassy as well as classy, truly one of a kind.
Mother was a true patriot, loved her country and her freedom. She had a deep love for the military, especially for the Air Force. In place of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the local VFW in her name as she considered this the most worthy of causes.
Preceding her in death are her parents, Floyd and Nola; husband, Lee O'Kelley; brother, Bill Rutledge; son, Michael Derek O'Kelley; and two grandsons, Jerry O'Kelley and Michael Derek O'Kelley II, as well as a great-grandson, Cooper Lee.
Per her request, there will be no official service, instead the family will hold an informal potluck in her back yard on June 19, 2021, at 1032 Kellum St. If you would like to come pay your respects and enjoy the loving atmosphere mother always cherished, she would consider that time well spent. Wear red, her favorite color, and bring a chair if you can.
Online condolences can be made to the family at blanchardfamilyfuneralhome.com.
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Published by Daily News-Miner on Jun. 15, 2021.