Obituary for Wallace Officer

Ponca City Now - January 28, 2023 7:56 am

Wally Officer

January 30, 1923 – January 24, 2023

On January 24, 2023, Wallace Neal Officer passed away 6 days before his 100th birthday. You are invited to celebrate Wally’s life on Saturday, February 4th, 2023, at 2:00 PM at Community Christian Church, 2109 W. Grand Ave, Ponca City, OK 74601, with Reverend Tom Howard officiating. Burial will immediately follow at Odd Fellow’s Cemetery, Ponca City. Arrangements are under the direction of Trout Funeral Home & Crematory, 505 W. Grand Ave., Ponca City, OK, 74601.

Known as Wally or Golly Wally to his friends and as “Ooloo” to his high school football and wrestling buddies, Wallace was also gifted with assorted nicknames by his wife, Vera Jean (many of which should not be repeated here). His two children Candy and Becky, and their spouses, knew him as a loving Dad and his 5 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren were always excited to spend time with Grandpa Wally or “Golly Wally.” Wally was a wonderful man with legendary energy and a keen, sometimes unique, sense of humor. He was loved dearly by his friends and family, as well as countless others who knew him over the years.

Wally was born into that “greatest generation” on January 30, 1923, to John and Pauline Officer in Ponca City, OK. He was raised on North Sunset in Ponca City and attended Lincoln Elementary, East Junior High, and Ponca City High School. At Ponca City High School, Wally participated in football and wrestling and was honored with an All State designation in both sports.

Wally married the love of his life, Vera Jean, on June 9th, 1942. After Wally attended welding school, he and Vera moved to Houston, TX where Wally worked in the shipyards to help build vessels for the war effort. Called to help defend his country in 1943, Wally joined the Navy. He was initially stationed at the naval training station in San Diego, CA where he served as a welding instructor. Throughout his life, Wally often talked of the calisthenics the solider’s completed every morning on the parade grounds. Wally later shipped out of San Francisco to the island of Guam where he was stationed for the rest of the war.

After the war, Wally began working at Conoco Oil Company in Ponca City and he remained with Conoco for 39 years. His family was entertained nightly at the dinner table with stories of his days at Conoco, embellished with nicknames he gave to his fellow workers. Outside of work, Wally and Vera Jean enjoyed and excelled at all kinds of dancing including swing, two step, waltz, line dancing and square dancing. His daughters, grandchildren and their friends often benefited from Wally and Vera’s dance lessons in the family room, but none seemed to catch the magic that was Wally and Vera Jean dancing together. Wally also enjoyed camping and fishing with anyone who would go with him, including his and Vera’s camping club, friends, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Wally was a member of Community Christian Church in Ponca City where he helped with youth groups and building committees, served as a choir member and board member, and was awarded the honor of Elder Emeritus. He was also a member of Ponca City After Five Lions Club where he served on the committee to provide eyeglasses for children and donated his time to many festivals and celebrations, often flipping burgers in the Lions Club food truck.

Our family wants to thank the many caregivers who, along with the calisthenics and dancing, helped Wally almost make it to his 100th birthday. He loved his family at Via Christi Assisted Living and later Memory Care. We are forever indebted to the Via Christi staff that made it possible for him to Zoom twice a week with his “precious daughters” (his greeting at the beginning of each zoom session) and son-in-law Jerry Sossamon during Covid. We also thank angels Denise, Suzanne, Jackie and Kim at Aspen Health and Rehab Broken Arrow for their sincere and loving care of Wally.

Wally was preceded in death by: his beloved wife, Vera Jean or “Jeannie Pal” as he sometimes called her; son, Neal Thomas; parents, John and Pauline Officer; sister, Velma Shreffler, Houston, TX, and son-in-law, Ron Smith, Ponca City, OK. He is survived by: his daughters, Candy Smith, Bixby, OK, and Becky Sossamon, New Braunfels, TX, and Becky’s husband, son-in-law, Jerry Sossamon. Wally also leaves a lasting legacy with his grandchildren, Mendi Sossamon, Robert Smith and wife Cheryl, Ryan Smith and wife, Melinda, Brent Sossamon, Melanie Martin and husband, Phillip, and great-grandchildren, Dylan Smith, Austin Smith, Makenzie Sossamon, Madelyn Sossamon, Josh Sossamon, Andrew Martin, and Stella Martin. Wally is also survived by a large and extended family, including his beloved nieces and nephews.

A memorial fund will be set up in Wally’s name at Community Christian Church. Wally would also love it if you had a cup of coffee to connect with a friend or if you took time to go to a nursing home to chat and laugh with the residents.

Source: Trout Funeral Home