The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 17, 2014

Tava Lou Bontrager

Published 1-17-14

Enid News and Eagle

CHEROKEE, OK — Tava Lou Bontrager passed on to her heavenly home on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. She was born to Charles and Frances Newlin on Feb. 28, 1948, in Cherokee, Okla.

She graduated from Dacoma High School in 1966, where she was known for her basketball skills, as well as her beauty. Tava attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University and graduated with a BA degree in elementary education in 1969.

She taught school at Cherokee Elementary for 31 years.

Tava married Steve Bontrager in Dacoma on June 27, 1969, and they shared 44 years together. They moved to Cherokee in 1972, and along with their daughters have lived in the same home for the past 36 years.

Tava was a devoted wife and dedicated mother and grandmother, always putting the needs of her family above her own.

She especially enjoyed family gatherings and cooking Sunday dinner with mac and cheese and roast and mashed potatoes.

Her favorite time of the year was Christmas. She also loved spending time with her family in Red River, N.M.

Tava used her witty sense of humor and creativity to motivate her students, plan parties and inspire her daughters’ basketball teams to always play their best.

She loved cheering at her daughters’ and grandkids’ sporting events, where the officials were always aware of her presence.

She is survived by her husband, Steve of Cherokee; her daughters, Stephani Yunker and children, Britton and Briley of Enid; Keli Woods and husband Kyle and children, Kaylen and Kacey of Alva; two sisters, Betty Means and husband Terry of Carmen and Sue Lord and husband Paul of Woodward; one brother, Charles Newlin and wife Wanona of Hopeton; sister-in-law, Sherry Canning of Guthrie; brother-in-law, Stan Bontrager of Cherokee; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; an infant sister; nephews, Greg Newlin and Ron Martin; father-in-law, Murel Bontrager; mother-in-law, Maycel Bontrager; and brother-in-law, G.W. Canning.

Service to celebrate her life will be at First Christian Church in Cherokee on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2013, at 2 p.m., with the Rev. Tom Stanley officiating.

Burial will follow in Cherokee Municipal Cemetery, with arrangements by Lanman Funeral Home Inc., Cherokee.

Viewing will be 5-7 p.m. today, Jan. 17, with the family present. (

Memorials may be given to First Christian Church Women’s Fellowship through the funeral home.

(Submitted by family))