Delbert Eugene Sager was born to Archie Preston Sager and Fannie Belle Gant Sager on June 11, 1923, in a farmhouse in a small Oklahoma Panhandle town near Grey, Oklahoma. Delbert grew up on a small farm that had been homesteaded by his Grandmother. The Sagers lived 1-½ miles from the Bluemound School where Delbert and his two siblings rode one pony to school. Bluemound and Balko Schools consolidated his 8th grade year. While in high school (three out of the four years) he drove his schoolmates to school in a grain truck converted to a “school bus.” He would slip out of school and go work at the nearby filling station. With the help of his sister, Opal, he somehow managed to graduate from Balko School in 1943.
During his “employment” as a bus driver, he met a visitor from out of town. A Perryton Texas girl by the name of Betty Rae Sharp, had promised the Morris girls that she would go with them to school. When Delbert saw her, he saved her a seat up front. On July 11, 1943, 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. This year, they would have celebrated 74 years together.
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. Delbert and Betty had a son, Larry Gene Sager and a daughter, Retha Gayle Sager Regnier. In 1967 they adopted an eleven-year boy, David Wayne Sager, from the Baptist Children’s Home and raised him with joy and love.
In his teenage years, Delbert went to an old time revival church meeting and opened his heart to the Savior. He grew in the Lord and was active in the Balko Baptist Church. He loved his church and was an encouragement to others. He held a position on many committees, taught youth church training, and was on the association board for Camp Gibson Youth Camp. Gave generously to the youth program at the church and financially provided a way for kids to go to camp who otherwise could not afford it. He was a wonderful mentor to any young man who wanted to work or learn to work. Delbert was active in Balko Lions Club. In the 50’s, Delbert started replacing milk cows with Registered Angus Cattle. He was an Angus breeder before Angus was popular and that herd is still going strong. He caught stock show fever as a boy and it has always been a high light of his life, one that has continued with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was also passionate about farming and in the 70’s he was active in the American Agriculture Movement. He and Wendell Ferguson drove a tractor from Balko, Oklahoma to Washington DC in the tractorcade protesting low commodity prices caused by embargoes on farm products. Delbert and Betty loved to travel and experience new things. They spent 10 winters in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico and loved the activities there including fishing in the Sea of Cortez. They also spent winters in Yuma, Arizona. Delbert Sager will be remembered for his quick wit and ability to recall and tell a joke or funny story. More importantly, he was a compassionate and caring human being. There are many stories of him helping stranded motorists and those down on their luck. He loved his grandkids and took great pride in them and everything they accomplished.
Delbert and Betty stayed active and faithful to their community activities until a car accident in April of 2014. Life for them changed in a flash as the injuries sustained required skilled nursing care. Delbert lived out the remainder of his life in the Beaver County Nursing Home where he was voted, “Living Legend” and “Most Wittiest.”
Delbert leaves his wife of 72 years, Betty Sager, of the Beaver County Nursing Home. Children and grandchildren include his son Larry and his wife Mary Ellen (Novak) Sager, their children, Annette (Sager) and Chris Bower of Duncan, OK; Nathan and Mindy (Ridgeway) Sager of Balko; his daughter Retha (Sager) Regnier of Balko; Sarah (Regnier) and Jeremy Johnson of Bixby, OK; Shayla Regnier-Nelson and Brandy Nelson of Balko; Shelly (Regnier) and Kelly Stricklen of Stillwater, OK; Son David and Dareta Sager of Yukon, OK; grandchildren Brian and Amy (Garms) Sager of Balko; Brice and Holly (Strickland) Sager of Balko; Brandy and Dent Felix of Perryton, TX; and Kara (Sager) and Caleb Hayes of Decatur, TX. Nephews and nieces include Dewayne Sager, Dale Naylor, Belva (Naylor) Witt, David Renfrow, Bobby Renfrow, Joey Sager and Valery Sager Oswald.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 Kaylee Rae Stricklen; Gavin and Kelby Sager; Hannah, Blaine, and Brock Sager; Adlee and Connley Felix; and Cade and Karoline Hayes.
Preceded in death by grandson Shad Layne Sager; son-in-law John O. Regnier, DVM; brother Cecil Sager; sister-in-law Dorothy (Brown) Sager; sister Mildred (Sager) Renfrow and brother-in-law Reverend Ralph Renfrow; nephew Darrell Naylor and brother-in-law Dick Naylor.
There is a place beyond Jordon’s stormy banks where the cattle never escape from the pasture, crops never fail, machinery never breaks down, and the bank note never comes due. It is a ranch called “Everlasting Life” and a new cowboy has arrived.