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Betty Rae Sager
Betty Rae Sharp was born in Crescent, Oklahoma on May 28th, 1925 to Cecil Sharp and Elsie Hull Sharp. She departed this life on April 23rd, 2019. She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother whose life revolved around serving others. She was the original Pioneer Woman, the Betty Crocker of Balko, the Martha Stuart of the Plains. Her home was a place of plenty and no one ever walked away from it hungry. It is said that all good things come from heaven. But Betty’s kitchen was a close second.
Her mother, Elsie Hull Sharp was a devout Christian and kept her children in church. Betty credits her mother for her strong Christian faith. She was saved in the Full Gospel Church as a child and after marriage, continued her walk with the Lord at the First Baptist Church of Balko, OK.
She spent most of her childhood in Perryton, Texas. She also lived a brief time in Forgan, Oklahoma. Her favorite memory of high school was taking part in the Drum Bugle Corp. When she was fifteen, her family made the decision to move to California to seek medical treatment for her mother. At this point, Betty began a life-long pattern of unselfishly serving others. She quit school and went to work at a drug store to help pay for her mother’s medical expenses. She also proved she was tough enough for the pioneer life when she saved up enough money for her own tonsillectomy and had to take a bus to the hospital and go through the procedure all by herself.
After the death of her mother, Betty came back to Balko to visit her brother, Buck and his wife Tootsie. She promised her new cousins, the Morris girls, that she would go with them to school. When Delbert Eugene Sager, the student/bus driver, saw her, he saved her a seat up front next to him. On July 11, 1943, at the age of eighteen, they were married in a double wedding along with his sister Opal and her husband Dick Naylor, also of Balko. Both couples started their lives together and had the wonderful and rare opportunity to celebrate their 50th and 70th wedding anniversaries together, drawing crowds of family and friends.
Two years after they were married, Delbert and Betty had a son, Larry Gene and then a daughter, Retha Gayle. Then in 1967 they adopted an eleven-year boy, David Wayne Sager, from the Baptist Children’s Home and raised him with joy and love.
As a young couple they farmed rented land. It wasn’t unusual for them to run machinery day and night in all kinds of weather. They had chickens, pigs, and milk cows to support their family and anything extra went to buy farm and ranch land. They both worked very hard alongside each other and their children. When Delbert went to work for the county, she had to milk all the cows by hand, separate the milk from the cream, gather the eggs, and take it into town on Saturday to sell. All with two young kids in tow. In her twenty’s, she kept their place running by herself when Delbert was diagnosed with cancer and had to go to Missouri for months of treatment; in the winter no less. She was a very devoted wife, proving her worth by following him everywhere from Grigg’s, OK to Washington DC, when she pulled the camper behind the tractorcaide traveling across the US in protest of trade embargoes. She probably did all that because she loved to laugh and Delbert loved to tell jokes! They were a match made in heaven.
It is said that a legacy is etched into the minds of others by the things they say about you. Betty has left us a legacy through her family and friends and the things they will tell you about her.
Her kids will tell you that even through all the struggles and hard times, she had a smile on her face. Never the center of attention, she was a team player and supportive in any endeavor her family was involved with; it was never about her. She sacrificed and did without, and then she sacrificed some more.
Her grandchildren will tell you that they knew they were her pride and joy. She sewed outfits for them, took them shopping for their birthday, hosted the best slumber parties, and kept her refrigerator stocked and on the ready with coke floats and mini pizza’s. She taught them life skills like sewing, setting the table, and preparing meals, be it ready for the field. Christmas was a magical time with a delicious smorgasbord of food, card games all evening long, gifts, and a special visit from Santa Claus.
Her friends would tell you that she was a wonderful person who not only “loved her neighbor,” but loved strangers too. Her neighbors included but were not limited to Mary Naylor, Mary Ellen Jantzen, and Truma Pribble, who formed a supportive sisterhood, playing cards, canning, and swapping recipes. Among the strangers were the hundreds of people who she mailed prayer-grams in their time of need, all signed by members of the Balko Baptist Church. She also graciously hosted missionaries, preachers, and complete strangers who had been stranded on the road near their home.
Her husband would’ve told you “that’s what keeps me home on Saturday night” after patting her backside. He would also tell you that their happiest times where when they were in the thick of the struggle, raising kids, trying to make the land payments, and getting the work done in time to get to the ballgame or stockshow. They could gauge their financial well-being by whether or not they had enough money to buy a coke while they were there. Family vacations were a Sunday afternoon trip to the park in Perryton, Texas with a potluck dish and swim suits for the kids. The hardest and simplest times were the best times.
After years of hard work, Betty and Delbert began to do some traveling. Dick and Opal Naylor were usually part of this group of travelers. They visited the Holy Land, traveled to Europe, and spent 10 winters in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico and loved the activities there, including fishing in the Sea of Cortez. They also spent several winters in Yuma, Arizona. But in 2014, life changed drastically for them as the injuries sustained in a car accident required skilled nursing care and they were no longer able to travel or live on their own. Betty resided with Delbert at the Beaver County Nursing Home until his passing on March 11th, 2017. Upon Delbert’s passing, Betty was moved to The Seasons Assisted Living Center in Perryton, Texas until her passing. She continued her life cheerfully serving others, even in her last days. Everyone who came to see her got a smile, as well as a plastic spoon so that they could partake in her hospital pudding. A hostess to the end.
Betty leaves behind children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, including her son Larry and his wife Mary Ellen Sager, of Balko, OK and their children, Annette and Chris Bower of Duncan, OK; and Nathan and Mindy Sager of Balko; her daughter Retha Regnier of Balko and her children; Sarah and Jeremy Johnson of Bixby, OK; Shayla Regnier-Nelson and Brandy Nelson of Balko; Shelly and Kelly Stricklen of Albany, OK; and son David and his wife Dareta Sager of Yukon, OK; David’s children include Brian and Amy Sager of Balko; Brice and Holly Sager of Balko; Brandy and Dent Felix of Perryton, TX; and Kara and Caleb Hayes of Decatur, TX; Sister-in-law Opal Naylor. Nephews and nieces include Dewayne Sager, Dale Naylor, Belva Witt, David Renfrow, Bobby Renfrow, Lonetta Sunderland, Esther Buktus, Bennie Townsend, Jimmie Townsend, Dannie Sharp and Vernon Sharp.
Great-grandchildren include Cassidy and Paityn Bowers; Carley, Kadyn, and Brody Sager; Layne and Landon Johnson; Dannie, Johnathan Del, and Simon Regnier-Nelson; Wade and Kaley Rae Stricklen; Gavin and Kelby Sager; Hannah, Blaine, and Brock Sager; Adlee and Connley Felix; and Cade and Karoline Hayes.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband Delbert Sager, grandson Shad Layne Sager; son-in-law John O. Regnier, DVM; brothers LaVon Sharp and Buck Sharp, sister Pauline Townsend, brother-in-law Cecil Sager; sister-in-law Dorothy Sager; sister-in-law Mildred Renfrow and brother-in-law Reverend Ralph Renfrow; nephew Darrell Naylor, brother-in-law Dick Naylor, and sister-in-law Tootsie Sharp.
Prayers for this very specail family, during their time of sorrow.
Betty, although you have left us on Angel Wing's, your smile and good will,
will forever remain in our hearts.
and hugs for all
Joyce (Pearson) Zack Apr 28 2019 12:00 AM
Please accept our deepest and heartfelt condolences at this most challenging time. May the sweet memories of your dear loved one and God's Word bring you comfort in the days ahead as we eagerly await the fulfillment of his promises (Isaiah 26:19 and Psalms 37:29),
Dee Rich Apr 23 2019 12:00 AM