The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 6, 2014

Claudine “Dena” J. Willis

Published 4-6-14

Enid News and Eagle

PERRY, OK — Claudine “Dena” J. Willis was born Jan. 18, 1929, in Perry, Okla., to Claude Herbert and Laura Etta (Nida) Kennedy and was raised in the small town of Lucien, Okla. In 1969, she moved to Norman, Okla. She went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Norman.

Dena attended grade school in a two-room school house in Lucien and later graduated from Perry High School in 1947, where she was PHS Band Queen. After graduation, she attended Oklahoma State University, where she received a B.S. degree in elementary education in 1951. She continued her education at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Okla., and received a master of science degree in education.

Dena was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority and the Kappa Delta Pi Honorary Education Fraternity at OSU. In 1950, she was an attendant for the OSU football homecoming royalty.

Dena was a public school teacher for 20 years, teaching two years at Snyder Public School and 18 years at Noble Public Schools. She was a member of National Education Association and the Oklahoma Education Association. In March 1992, Dena was named one of the 29 “Oklahoma Best Teachers” in the state of Oklahoma and was honored by Channel 5 news television station.

Dena was baptized in Lucien at the First Methodist Church as an infant.

On Oct. 20, 1950, she was united in marriage to Fay M. Willis at First United Methodist Church in Perry, Okla., and to this union, three children were born, Ronald, Karen and Kathryn.

At the time of her passing, she was a member of McFarlin Methodist Church in Norman.

Dena was a former member of “Registry” Dinner-Dance Club and “Women of the Moose.”

She enjoyed playing the piano and big band music. Dena also loved to dance, play bridge, birdwatch and travel.

Dena is survived by two children, Ronald Wayne Willis and wife Stephanie of Enid, Okla., and Kathryn Ann Cochran of College Station, Texas; eight grandchildren, Kristin Lind (Josh), Kerri Brackin, Wade Willis (Heather), Allison Pennington (Michael), Kent Cochran (Nicki), Julie Durham (Jason), Carter Cochran (Elyse) and Alexander Kroll; and six great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents and one daughter, Karen Dawn Brackin.

 Graveside service will be 2 p.m. Monday, April 7, 2014, in Grace Hill Cemetery, Perry, Okla. Visitation is 1-8 p.m. today, April 6, with the family receiving friends from 4-6 p.m.

Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Perry in care of Brown-Dugger Funeral Home, 1010 N. 7th, Perry, OK 73077.

Condolences may be made online at

(Submitted by family)