Ethelyn “Babe” Garst

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Edelma Ethelyn Garst, known as “Babe” to friends and family, a l o n g t i m e Cordell resident, died peacefully with her family surrounding her, on May 15, 2015, after a brief illness at the age of 94. She was born to May (Gripe) and Roy Fisher on May 13, 1921, in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, and grew up in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In high school she was a Drum Major, President of the Orchestra, baton twirler, played the violin, viola and bassoon, and won awards in diving at state swimming meets. Ethelyn obtained a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at Oklahoma State University. In her senior year at OSU, due to a teacher shortage, she taught band at Jonesboro, Arkansas, then finished her degree over the summer. She also obtained a degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, Oklahoma, while she was teaching at Sentinel.
In college she met Maurice Clark Garst, from Cordell, and they were married on October 8, 1943. During WWII they lived in Oklahoma City when Maurice (Navy) was stationed at Norman, Oklahoma. Ethelyn worked as a riveter at Tinker Air Force Base and played viola with the Oklahoma City Orchestra. After transfering to San Diego, California, Ethelyn worked as a Navy “shopkeeper” in the radio and radar warehouse. After WWII they moved to Cordell, where Maurice farmed and Babe was a housewife and help-mate on the farm, including driving wheat trucks after she retired, while also teaching. During her 25 years of teaching she taught at Port (band and vocal music two years), Cordell (band three years), Alfalfa (vocal music six years), and Sentinel (vocal music 13 years). At Sentinel she started one of the first “show choirs”, the “Sentinelaires,” which sang at schools, civic organizations, and at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Her bands, choirs, and students consistently won superior at state music contests and she influenced and helped mold the lives of thousands of students. Ethelyn’s hobbies included oil and acrylic painting, water skiing, and camping with Maurice in their fifth wheel camper trailer through-out the United States. They were usually with other family members or one of the two Camping Clubs they belonged to. Ethelyn and Maurice celebrated 56 years of marriage in 1998. After Maurice’s death in November 1999, Ethelyn lived on the farm for one year. She then moved to “The Village” in Cordell for eight years, and in 2008, moved to “The Arbor House” in Norman, until her death. Ethelyn was preceded in death by her loving husband; her parents and in-laws; four brothers and two sisters (and their spouses); her sister-inlaw, Emogene Garst; a baby boy; and numerous cousins and family members. She is survived by her daughter, Marcia Garst, Norman, Oklahoma; her brotherin- law, Leroy Garst, DeRidder, Lousianna; sister-in-law, Loretta Fisher, Schertz, Texas; 14 nieces and nephews; and numerous great and grand nieces and nephews. The family requests, that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to charity of your choice. Services were held Saturday,June 20, 2015, at the First United Methodist Church of Cordell with Reverand Carol Waters officiating. Burial followed at Lawnview Cemetery in Cordell, Oklahoma. Services were under the direction of Musick Varner Funeral Home of Cordell.