Gail J. Ditmore, age 81, died Sunday, May 12, 2019 at Creekside Village, Ponca City, Ok.
Friends and loved ones may pay their respects at the funeral home in Tonkawa from 12-8pm Tuesday, May 14. A funeral ceremony to gratefully celebrate Gail’s life will be held at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at the First United Methodist Church in Tonkawa with Kevin Ditmore officiating. Following the ceremony, Gail will be laid to rest next to her husband Jim at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Tonkawa. Arrangements are under the direction of Trout Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Tonkawa.
Gail Janis was born July 22, 1937 to Joe and Helen (Kunau) Crain, in Okeene, OK. The first few years of her life, they also lived in Hitchcock and Dover before moving to Oklahoma City where both Joe and Helen worked in the defense plant. Gail said one of her most vivid memories was the day the WWII ended in 1945 and how everyone was so happy and excited.
When she was 9, Joe moved the family to Tonkawa where they became member of the First United Methodist Church. She attended Tonkawa Public Schools and graduated in May of 1955. In July of that year, she married James E. Ditmore.
As Jim pursued his degree and began his career in engineering, Gail began what she called her hearts desire – being a wife and having children, welcoming three sons to the family, Kris, Kent and Curtis.
She said she loved living in the city because there were so many things to do – but especially the shopping! Due to Jim’s position with Southwestern Bell, in 1963 they moved to Hutchison, KS, then on to Topeka, Kansas City, and then to St. Louis, MO where they lived until 1973 when they returned to Tonkawa. She often said if you want to see what you’re made of – move 3 teenage boys out of a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom to a one bedroom, 1 bathroom house!
Gail worked 2 years at Moore’s Department Store before going to work for her mother-in-law, Mary, at Mary’s Cafe. When Mary passed away in 1985, Gail and Jim purchased the cafe where she carried on the tradition of providing delicious, home style cooking to Tonkawa and the surrounding communities. She liked having the cafe – and loved her customers, becoming friends with so many of them. Gail was known for being able to throw a party together on a spur of the moment basis, and was an excellent hostess.
She loved playing bridge, and enjoyed many evenings of playing the game with friends. She and Jim traveled extensively, and liked telling about their adventures at Mardi Gras! Gail enjoyed sporting events. She was a loyal supporter of the Tonkawa Buccaneers and the Oklahoma University football and basketball teams. As an avid fan of the OKC Thunder, she showed her love of the team by dressing as a Thunder Girl for Halloween.
Gail was preceded in death by her parents and husband, Jim. Survivors include her three sons, Kris of Wichita, KS, Kent and wife, Dianna, and Curtis and wife, Kevin, of Tonkawa, two grandchildren, Christa Ramey, and husband Quentin, and Leah Kelle and husband, Josh, both of Tonkawa, Nolan Meyer and wife Angie of Rochester, MN, and seven great-grandchildren, Kaelyn, Landri and Coehn Ramey, Kade Ditmore, Brodie, Hayes and Mila Kelle, all of Tonkawa and Levi Meyer of Rochester, MN, niece and nephews: Valorie Buss and husband Dennis of Tonkawa, OK; sons: Steven Thompson and husband Terry Steele of Tulsa, OK; and Eric Thompson and wife Shelly of Anadarko, OK, as well as several cousins and dear friends.
Memorial donations in Gail’s honor may be made to the NOC Foundation Nursing Division – Gail Ditmore Memorial Fund, PO Box 310, Tonkawa, OK 74653, or Humanity Hospice, 1109 N. Bryant Ave., Suite 100, Edmond, OK 73034.