The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 16, 2014

Velma Lee Bonnett

Published 4-16-14


Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Lee was the first child, and only daughter, of A.C. “Bert” and Mabel (Schwandt) Hafner born on Oct. 2, 1926, in the rural Kansas community of Winkler.

At the age of six, her parents and younger brother, Roger, moved to the Hunter, Okla., farm where she grew up. Some of her longest and closest friendships were formed with her classmates at Hunter High School. The Class of 1944 continued to remain in touch and Lee was instrumental in planning their reunions.  

She attended Phillips University, but her high school sweetheart had a bigger impact and they married in 1944. The oil field activity in western Oklahoma and Kansas lured them to various towns, where they spent their young married years, finally settling in Hoisington, Kan.

Lee was an assistant manager at the Griffin Hotel. Her hotel career ended with the birth of daughter Lynn and within 13 months, the draw of home brought them back to the Hunter area, where they farmed and founded an independent oil contracting business. Son, Bradford was born in 1954, and the family was complete.

Through the years, Lee’s passions would always be her children, her fabulous rose garden and anything having to do with birds. She established an Audubon Nature Club for Hunter grade school students and taught at various church camps.  For years, she gave of her time to her church, her community and was the right hand of her husband, Clifton.

In later years, Lee moved to Enid, where she reconnected with an old high school friend and found that they had a lot in common. They married and had some wonderful years of gardening and bird watching — as well as cooking for friends and family. After Gene’s death, she moved to Tulsa to be near daughter Lynn and it was there that she passed away on April 2, 2014.

Lee is survived by brother, Roger Hafner (Velva Jean); daughter, Lynn Hildabrand Wheatley (Richard); son, Bradford Hildabrand (Annette), and two “favorite” grandchildren, Britton Skarky and Ashley Wheatley Higgins (Matt); as well as the joy of her last few years, great-grandchildren, Jackson and Sophia Higgins. Also surviving are three nieces and their families.

An infant son predeceased her in 1945.

The family is especially grateful to Griswold Home Care and Grace Hospice for their special touches and care. Cancer is a vicious disease and we would encourage any who wish to donate to the cancer division of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in lieu of flowers.

A celebration of Lee’s life will be 2 p.m. Friday, the 18th of April, at Ladusau Evans, 2800 North Van Buren in Enid. If you cannot attend, please share remembrances with the family at www.ladusauevans.com.

(Submitted by family)