Letha Faye (Sumpter) Johnson was born July 26, 1932, in Wagoner County, near Hulbert, and died on February 17, 2021, in Muskogee, OK, at the age of 88 years. She was the sixth of six children born to Lee Noah and Harriet Elde (Dunaway) Sumpter.
In 1945 the family moved to Tahlequah, and that’s where Letha graduated high school in 1950. She was a saxophone player in the band, a majorette and, in her senior year, was elected Football Queen.
In 1951 she married James Edward Sanders and to this union was born three children: Jim, Janus and Joe.
On June 16, 1973, Letha married Ernest Johnson, and they enjoyed 40 years together before Ernest’s death in 2013.
Letha had worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in Tulsa and then in Tahlequah. She returned to Northeastern State University and gained first a Bachelor’s degree in education, then a Master’s degree and a Reading Specialist certification. She taught third grade in the public schools here for 24 years before retiring in 1990. She continued to be active in the Retired Teacher’s Association of Oklahoma, serving as local president and volunteering to teach adult literacy at the city library. In 1997, she was elected “Retired Teacher of the Year” for Oklahoma and traveled to San Diego, California, for the 50th Anniversary of the National Retired Teachers of America.
Letha grew up in churches of Christ and was baptized into Christ at the South College Church of Christ. She and Ernest were dedicated and faithful members of this congregation. For many years, Letha helped with the Tuesday evening community dinner that was served by the church until the virus lockdown.
Letha stayed very active, walking every day, working in her flower beds, reading and sewing. She was well known for her outspoken opinions, but was always deeply loved for her kindness and selfless attitude.
Letha was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, Helen Hatfield and Margie Watson, one brother, Alan (Bud) Sumpter, one son, Jim, and her husband, Ernest.
She is survived by: Two sisters: Bernice Lawhorn, of Tulsa, OK, Virgina Carr, of Tulsa, OK, One son: Joe Sanders, and his wife Cathy, of Locust Grove, OK, One daughter: Janus Farar, and her husband, Berton, of Tahlequah, OK, Ten grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family, church family, and many friends.
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