Born to Harold and Jeanne (Gann) Gibson on New Year's Day 1952, in her youth, Glenna Gay Gibson was an All-Conference guard for the Elmore City Lady Badgers, played piano at the Methodist Church, and was a Santa Fe Winner to National 4-H Congress and 4-H Hall of Fame recipient.
Glenna attended Oklahoma State University and tackled campus life with the same zeal that defined her childhood. A Student Senator, Collegiate 4-H'er, Vice-President of the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Home Economics Student of the Year and Top Ten Graduating OSU Senior, she wowed her husband-to-be, Sam Ott, when Dixie Shaw introduced them for a "Milk Date." Her bid for Homecoming Queen was thwarted when despite acing the interview, she didn't know who the Cowboys faced on the football field that Saturday. Undeterred, she went on to earn bachelors' and master's degrees in Home Economics.
Glenna made youth development her life's work. She served on the state 4-H staff in both Oklahoma and Georgia, and worked as Cleveland County 4-H Extension Educator. Glenna truly lived out the club motto: she "made the best better." She later served as president of the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, traveled nationally as co-creator of the "Building Better Boards" resource guide, and coordinated national organizational development workshops.
Glenna believed in taking part in the community. She and Sam were active in their chosen hometown of Norman, attending McFarlin Memorial Church for over 30 years and serving in a variety of leadership roles and recently traveled to Cuba on a church mission. Glenna served as a member of the board for the Norman Arts Council and Center for Children and Families and was active in Junior League and Assistance League. For more than a decade, she championed Norman's May Fair Arts Festival and her efforts insured that it received the Governor's Award as the "Best Event in Oklahoma."
After complications, due to an emergency surgery that revealed advanced stage cancer, she quietly slipped these mortal bonds surrounded by family, childhood friends, college buddies and people she loved. A celebration of her life will be held 10 a.m. on Monday, January 23, at McFarlin Memorial Church in Norman, Oklahoma. Donations in her honor can be made to the Gibson Family Memorial Scholarship through the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation.
Glenna adored her husband, Sam Ott; taught her son, Derrick Ott invaluable life skills; enjoyed talking with her daughter in law, Stephanie Lewis; and loved spending time with her grandson, Samuel Byram Ott. She was preceded in death by her parents Harold & Jeanne Gibson, and grandparents James & Amanda (Raines) Gibson and Ottis & Ila (Needham) Gann.
Byram and his GG had an extraordinary bond and we are certain he will want to know more about her in the future. When you can take a minute and share your favorite Glenna 4-H, church, college and community tales with him at TellByram@GlennaStories.com.
Glenna's family will remember her as an amazing mother, doting grandmother and a genuine force of nature. In her honor, we ask you raise a glass of Braum's 2% milk and remember, you never need a ruler because "a dollar bill is six inches long."
Published on January 18, 2017