Services to honor and celebrate the life of Ardyth Buttram will be 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at Inverness Village.
Ardyth Ann Grover Buttram, longtime resident of Ponca City and more recently of Tulsa, died Wednesday morning October 31, 2019, at St. Francis Hospital, Tulsa, Oklahoma, from complications of a fall. She was 91 years of age.
Ardyth was born in the home of her maternal grandparents, the Stevensons, in Lenapah, Oklahoma, on June 7, 1928, to Grace and Clifford Grover. Her paternal grandparents also lived in Lenapah. Ardyth was the oldest of their five children - Ardyth, Margie, Kay, Bill, and Jim - born across a twenty-year period.
Living across the road from Lenapah’s Methodist Church, she and her sisters played the piano for church activities and practiced on the baby grand that filled most of the family living room. The sisters also cared for their ornery, much-younger brothers. One of the ways Grace Grover kept Ardyth and her other children busy was having them hand-crank ice cream on a regular basis during the warmer days.
Ardyth had lots of fun with family and friends while growing up, but her serious approach to academic achievement led to her become high school valedictorian. As much as she loved her school and its teachers, she later expressed disappointment in the limited curriculum available in her small school and bemoaned the limited preparation for post-secondary education.
During high school, she worked at her father’s dusty grain elevator. Enrolling in Oklahoma A&M College as a Home Economics major, she fell ill late in her first semester with significant respiratory symptoms. A faulty x-ray from the campus infirmary led to a mistaken diagnosis of the dreaded, contagious tuberculosis. Ardyth was forced to leave school prior to final exams that fall, resulting in the loss of an entire semester’s credits. She developed a respect for the importance of nutrition from her course work and applied it quite seriously to meal planning for the benefit of her family.
Ardyth attended the University of Colorado the following summer to take advantage of the air quality presumed to be available there, returning to Stillwater the next fall and changing her major to Commerce. She loved living in the campus dormitories and making new girlfriends, attending campus dances, and making the most of her academic opportunities.
She married fellow student and World War II Army Air Corps veteran Jim Buttram in her parents’ living room during the first few weeks of her senior year at Oklahoma A&M College. Jim was late to the wedding because he was opening a new service station on Hospital Hill in Ponca City that same day. Ardyth and Jim established their first home in Ponca City while commuting to finish their Commerce degrees in 1950. Ardyth became the second generation of her family to graduate from Oklahoma A&M, although now four generations have achieved this.
Ardyth helped support the family through employment at Conoco, first in the Credit Department and later with the scientists in the Geophysics Research Department. When she became pregnant with her first child, her fellow staff members helped her keep her condition confidential for as long as practical since company policy did not permit pregnant employees. Ardyth and Jim played bridge regularly with these men and their wives for many years. Ardyth also played women’s bridge and golf.
Jim’s expanding entrepreneurial endeavors brought long working hours and extensive travel by car and even private plane. With this, Ardyth carried lots of extra family responsibilities. She kept in touch with Jim via his car phone that filled almost the entire trunk of every car. Family vacations happened every summer, but they could never be pre-planned since it depended on the status of the pipeline and buried telephone cable construction jobs. Ardyth typically packed up the family with just a few hours’ notice and made sure her family had this treasured time together. They also built their first, rustic vacation home at Lake Hulah with her sister Margie and her husband Russ. Later Ardyth and Jim established homes at Grand Lake and in Vail, Colorado that the family greatly enjoyed.
Ardyth took great pride in establishing and co-owning The Honey Tree, a children’s clothing store in Ponca City, but her participation in Jim’s extensive entrepreneurial and community leadership activities throughout 49 years of marriage was a focus. She supported Oklahoma State University athletics and academics both financially and as a fan for over fifty years. PEO was her favorite women’s organization, including chapters in Ponca City and Tulsa, and the friendships and experiences made there were very important to her. She was a member of First Methodist Church and then St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Ponca City and Faith Methodist Church in Tulsa. Her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were very important to Ardyth, and she demonstrated this with loving and intuitive support. She traveled throughout the US and enjoyed many trips to Mexico, Canada, Scandinavia, eastern and western Europe, and Asia.
Some years after her husband’s death, Ardyth moved to the new Inverness Village of Tulsa - living in a cottage at first, then moving to an apartment, assisted living, and skilled nursing. While her health permitted, she joined enthusiastically in the diverse activities offered in the Inverness community and established many new and renewed friendships with other residents. Many staff at Inverness were also special to her.
Ardyth is survived by her daughter Kathy Adkins (Lee), son Alan Buttram (Pam), and daughter Chris Beck (Dwight). She is also survived by six grandchildren: Jason Bolstead (Sarah), Allison Buttram, Aaron Buttram, Alex Buttram, Kathryn Beck Sears (Ryan), and Jimikaye Beck Courtney (Lee) and by two great grandchildren: Jayme Bolstead and Carly Bolstead.
Ardyth is also survived by sister Kay Barnett Word, brothers Bill (Shirley) and Jim Grover (Beverly) and their children and grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sister Margie Magee Neal, and nephews Dave Magee, Rob Magee, and Cliff Magee.
Donations in Ardyth’s honor can be made to the OSU Foundation (Women for OSU) or PEO (Cottey College).
To send flowers to Ardyth's family, please visit our floral section.