Thelma Lometa McFarland Sexton was born on July 16, 1922 in Butler, Custer County, Oklahoma. The first daughter and third child of Arthur Quintus and Eva Mae (Wilbanks) McFarland.
Thelma attended elementary and High school in Butler, Oklahoma where, by chance, at a basketball game, she met a young player from Pie Flat High named Allen. At that first meeting he told her that sooner or later, she would be his. After she graduated in 1940, she was working at the 5 and Dime. She saw an ad looking for people wanting to go west to California. There was only one seat left, and she took it. Her friends in Oklahoma asked her to call upon their family that lived in Burbank. Once she arrived in California, she made contact and was invited over for a visit. When she arrived, the same young basketball player, from years before, was sitting on the couch. Thelma and Allen then started dating.
With war looming on the horizon, Thelma got a job at the Lockheed Martin Aircraft Factory in Burbank, California. There she became one of the ladies dubbed as "Rosie the Riveter" as she built B-17 bombers.
On November 23, 1941 Thelma married the love of her life, Allen Sexton in Las Vegas. The first years of their marriage were spent apart, as Allen was drafted into the Army to serve in the European Theatre. Shortly after Allen went off to war, Thelma returned to Oklahoma to live with Allen's family in Oklahoma City. When Allen returned from Europe, the couple resided in Butler, Oklahoma. While there, the two of them enjoyed competing in the rodeo where Thelma was a barrel racer.
The two then moved to Idaho in 1957 where they bought a farm. Over the years they grew alfalfa and grain. They also had many animals including cows, pigs, horses, goats, geese, cats, dogs, and two donkeys named Ketchup and 7-up.
Thelma was never blessed with children, but she had a hand in raising several of her nephews and nieces, including Victor Glider, David Gilliam, and Alice Andrea )Pam( Gibbs. She kept a watchful eye from across the street, on her brother Kenneth's two kids, Kenneth A. and Tara Ann, to see what mischief they found. Thelma also took care of her mother for several years.
Thelma worked various jobs in Idaho. She was a waitress at the Valley Café and at Durfee's Café. She was also a cosmetic representative for Merle Norman and Avon. Thelma was active in the local Grange and the Order of the Eastern Star. She also regularly attended the Southern Baptist Church in Rupert, Idaho with Allen and her brother Kenneth. She enjoyed Pater Oliver Lusk's sermons. After Allen passed away in February 1998 and her brother Kenneth in August 1998, Thelma sold the farm in Malta and moved to Burley Idaho for a couple years. She then moved to Santa Maria, California to live with her sister Shirley Rehder. In 2012 Shirley surprised Thelma with a 90th birthday party.
Thelma was preceded in death by her parents, Arthur Quintus and Eva Mae (Wilbanks) McFarland, three brothers, Arthur Quintus Jr. (Loretta) McFarland, Kenneth Albert McFarland, Ivan Cleo McFarland, and her husband Allen Sexton. She is survived by her sister Shirley Lou McFarland (Tom)Rehder, and many nieces and nephews, and a two sisters-in-law, Janet McFarland and Violet McFarland.
She was loved by many and greatly missed.
Thelma passed away on July 1, 2020. Services will be held in Santa Maria, California on Thursday, July 9, 2020. Graveside Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at the Valley Vu Cemetery in Malta, Idaho. Local arrangements are under the direction of Morrison Payne Funeral Home in Burley.
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