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Joan Lee (Cook) Whitford

January 17, 1932 ~ October 12, 2021 (age 89)

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Joan Lee Whitford

January 17th, 1932-October 12th, 2021

Joan Lee Cook Whitford, age 89, Beloved Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, and Aunt; died peacefully in her sleep to go home to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on October 12th, 2021, in Nowata, OK.

She was the first of three daughters born to Ira Jewel Cook and Nina Jean Mitchell Cook on January 17th, 1932, in Nowata, Ok. She spent her childhood dancing tap and ballet with her younger sisters Judy and Jeri; and enjoyed time reading and singing, as well as being a responsible older sibling and helper to her mother and father.

She met and eloped with the love of her life, William C. ‘Bill’ Whitford after he served in Japan during World War II. They married on October 30th, 1948, in Bentonville, AR. They welcomed three loving and rowdy boys into their family beginning with eldest son William Alonzo. ‘Bill' Whitford in April 1949, followed quickly by sons John Cook Whitford in October 1951, and Michael Lee Whitford in May 1954. Joan loved watching them playing outside the kitchen window as they grew up and became a friend and close confidant to them when they became adults.

Joan loved to be a homemaker and enjoyed cooking, cleaning, and re-arranging furniture over and over again until she felt it was ‘perfect’ (for that day at least). She also adored decorating her home, buying gifts, and preparing special family meals for the holidays.

Joan loved music and singing and was a vital member of the Nowata First United Methodist Church Choir for 50 years; as well as being a member of the church most of her life. You could always find her in her designated Soprano chair on Sunday mornings ready to belt out hymns. She was also known to be a huge fan of Big Band Music, and she and Bill would “jitterbug” as a young couple when they went out dancing. She also loved the music of Lionel Richie and could be caught by her grandchildren turning up the music loud and cleaning after Bill had left for work.

She was an avid reader of Danielle Steele books, loved doing daily crossword puzzles in the newspaper, and she enjoyed sending cards with special sentiments underlined to her loved ones often.

Joan immensely enjoyed playing golf at the Nowata Country Club during the 1970’s-1990’s. She was President and a member of the Nowata Women’s Golf Association and won many tournaments during her time playing the sport. She and Bill also relished their time playing golf with her sister Judy and friends at Dawn Hill Country Club in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

Joan and Bill liked to travel during their empty nesting years, and especially enjoyed their time in Mexico with their best friends.

Joan was an immense lover and owner of many pets throughout her lifetime, including dogs, but especially adoring cats. She also had fun playing in a weekly Bridge club with her lifelong friends.

When her grandchildren came along, she was an extremely doting and loving ‘Nana’ to Heidi, Hunter, Jordan, Ashley, and Spencer. They knew her for making them cinnamon toast on weekend mornings, staying up late watching tv movies, taking them for rides in her golf cart, and sending them back to college with plenty of extra helpings of her famous “Nana's Noodles”.

Joan was preceded in death by her mother and father, husband Bill Whitford of the home, her sisters Jeri (Cook) Duffy of Emporia, KS and Judy (Cook) Kauffman Nutting of Siloam Springs, AR; and her youngest son Michael Lee Whitford,of Nowata, OK.

Surviving family members include Son Bill Whitford and his wife Jan, of Nowata, OK; Son John Whitford and wife Julie of Claremore, OK; Grandchildren: Heidi Whitford of Muskogee, OK; Hunter Whitford of Stillwater, OK; Jordan Whitford of Muskogee, OK; Ashley Jones Whitford of Moore, OK; Spencer Whitford and wife Jentri of Oklahoma City, OK; Christi Morgan of Owasso, OK and Chip Orndorff and wife Dawn of Chesapeake, Virginia.

She had 4 great-grandchildren and many loving nieces, nephews, and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to the Nowata First United Methodist Church or the Alzheimer's Association.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan Lee (Cook) Whitford, please visit our floral store.


October 19, 2021

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Benjamin Funeral Chapel (Nowata, Oklahoma)
Guaranteed delivery before the Visitation begins

Funeral Service
October 20, 2021

11:00 AM
First Methodist Church
109 W Shawnee
Nowata, OK 74048
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