Fern Marie (Martin) (Bishop) Peery, a retired McLish Grade School teacher, died Saturday, April 29, in Tulsa. She was 89.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Christian Church of Ada under the direction of Criswell Funeral Home with a graveside service to follow at Rosedale Cemetery.
Fern Marie Peery was born March 24, 1928, in Morris to Hallie Lee (Tracy) and James Franklin Martin. She grew up in the oil field and attended school at Bald Hill and Twin Hills schools north of Morris, as well as Dunham School in Creek County. She was the salutatorian when she graduated from Bowlegs High School in 1945.
She attended Phillips University in Enid from 1945 to 1947 and then worked full time for the Highway Department to earn enough money to return to college. She worked part time throughout her college years and completed her bachelor’s degree in business education at East Central University in 1950.
She married Thurston A. Bishop in 1951, and they made their home in Ada. She worked at Home Federal Savings & Loan, Ebey McCauley Insurance Co. and Lake Oil Co. before leaving the workforce when their two children, John and Mary, were young.
She then earned her master’s degree in education in 1969 and taught elementary grades at McLish from 1970 until her retirement in 1990.
After her husband’s death in 1991, she married Woodrow W. Peery in Ada. He died in 2001.
She was a longtime member of the First Christian Church of Ada, where she had been a children’s Sunday school teacher and was active in the Christian Women’s Fellowship and Wimodausis. A longtime choir member and vocal soloist, she also occasionally played the violin in worship, having learned to play the instrument as a child. In all, she played the violin for more than 80 years, including on live radio shows during the 1930s.
She also was a member of the Oklahoma and National education associations, the Pontotoc County Retired Teachers Association, the American Association of University Women, the Mature Fellowship group and Prime Timers, serving many years in various leadership roles.
In addition, she was a volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program, the Valley View Regional Hospital Auxiliary, a local hospice and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, through which she was a nursing home ombudsman and served at the Senior Citizens Nutrition Center.
She was one of two Pontotoc County women who were included in “A Portrait of Breast Cancer,” a photographic exhibit that was displayed at the 1995 Oklahoma State Fair, at the state Capitol and at other venues across the state. Her writings about her experience with cancer were published in The Ada Sunday News in 1995 and in the book “A Portrait of Breast Cancer,” published in 1996 by the American Cancer Society’s Project Woman Committee.
She moved from Ada, where she had lived since 1947, to Broken Arrow in 2014.
She is survived by her children and their spouses, John and Malinda Bishop of Seminole and Mary and Sharon Bishop-Baldwin of Broken Arrow; two granddaughters, Kristen Bishop of Norman and Catherine Pollock of Seminole; a grandson-in-law, Joshua Pollock of Seminole; five great-grandchildren, Karlee and Korbin Pollock of Seminole and Cash, Julian and Jozia of Norman; a brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Oma Martin of Nebo, N.C.; and a cousin who was like a sister, Mary Arnold of Broken Arrow.
Memorial donations may be made to the Stonewall-McLish Education Foundation, which awards college scholarships to graduating seniors and grants to teachers, or to the American Cancer Society.
Criswell Funeral Home, Ada