William "Bill" Howard Jennings

October 10, 1928 ~ June 13, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old


William (Bill) Howard Jennings was born on October 10, 1928 and died on June 13, 2023.  He was 94 years and 8 months old.

Most important… he was a loving, kind and generous person.  He loved people and never met a stranger.  His daughters said there was never a child or dog that didn’t love him.  Shelly and Kelly say they won the “Dad Lottery” when they got him for their daddy.

He met Betty Dean Kelsay in Pennsylvania around December 9, 1950 and 14 days later he married her on December 23.  Betty (17 years old) was a waitress at a diner and Bill (22 years old) was working on a pipeline.  She said she fell for him when he asked, “Do you have any jelly?” in his southern accent.  They were married 72 years.  They were married by the Justice of the Peace in the back of his Barbour Shop.  Bill brought Betty to Idabel and discovered he had draft papers waiting for him, so he left her with his sister, Ella Clampet, to take care of her when he left for the Army.  Thankfully Bill didn’t have to go to Korea and served his country stateside. 

On June 17, 1952, they had their first child…Shannon Kelsay (Kelly) Jennings who was born at Carswell AFB in Texas. 

When dad was discharged from the Army he went back to working on the pipeline and Betty joined him.  On August 10, 1955 they had their second child…Sheldona (Shelly) Lin Jennings who was born in Rocksprings, Wyoming. 

The family stayed together and traveled all over the central US (Kelly actually attended 32 schools up to 7th grade).  In 1964 Bill returned to Idabel and started a land clearing business to provide a stable home for his family.

As if they didn’t get enough time living in a trailer, Bill and Betty bought a motorhome and traveled into every state in the US, including Alaska, and through every province in Canada and a lot of Mexico.

Bill loved serving and helping others…founding member and Deacon of Trinity Baptist Church, Kiwanis Club, Masons, City Counselman, Littler River Conservation District.

Bill became a pilot and owned a Cessna 210.  He walked away from a fiery crash and said he just wasn’t ready to go to heaven yet. 

Bill is survived by:

Betty Dean Kelsay Jennings (Tulsa, OK)

Kelly Jennings (Tulsa, OK)

Shelly Jennings Thomason and husband Daryl (Broken Bow, OK)

Tanner Thomason (Atlanta, GA)

Taryn Thomason Grippando, husband Jordan and daughters Harper and Havyn (McAlester, OK)

Taylor Thomason Sharp, husband Coleton, daughter Jennings and sons Bowman and Walker (Goldsby, OK)

One sister, Dorothy Jennings Blocker (Rhome, TX)

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 17, 2023 at the White Family Chapel in Idabel, OK with Bro. Doug McClure officiating. Entombment will follow at the Denison Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Friday, June 16, 2023 at the funeral home.

The family requests no flowers but would rather you make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association or a charity of your choice.

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June 16, 2023

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
White Family Funeral Home
3 NE 3rd Street
Idabel, OK 74745

Funeral Service
June 17, 2023

10:00 AM
White Family Funeral Chapel


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