Wanda Sue Lowe Matula, known lovingly by her family as “Bunky”, Mom, or Nana, returned to her heavenly home on Saturday, September 12, 2020. She was 76 years old.
Wanda was born in Prague, Oklahoma, on December 9, 1943, to the late LeRoy William Lowe and Marie Virginia Brown Lowe. She was the eldest of four children raised near Meeker, Oklahoma. She lived most of her childhood in a cement block home built by hand by her parents. She attended Valley View School, a one-room country school with no running water, and Meeker High School, where she graduated as the valedictorian of the class of 1962. Wanda had many fond memories of her rural childhood, which included attending Morning Star Baptist Church “every time the church doors were open”; playing red rover, kick-the-can, and Simon says; dressing up to travel to Oklahoma City with the FHA; and competing in scholastic tournaments.
The summer before her senior year, Wanda met Richard Matula. They married shortly after she graduated, on June 1, 1962. During the 1960s, they had two children, Karen Kay and Brian Richard. The couple also ventured into business together: a short-lived laundromat near S.W. 44th and Western and an apartment building near N.W. 5th and Classen. Together, they made their home in Oklahoma City and Moore. Their loving marriage lasted nearly 47 years, until Richard’s death in 2009.
Wanda was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She also enjoyed a very successful career. In 1972, Wanda joined the Oklahoma Publishing Company as a part-time clerk typing classified ads. In 1973, she took a full-time position in the payroll department. For 32 years, Wanda devoted her working life to OPUBCO; its owners and executives returned that loyalty. Wanda soon became Payroll Manager, where she was recognized for her hard work, attention to detail, and utmost discretion. She later became the Benefits Manager, implementing the company’s first 401(k) program. Wanda ultimately became OPUBCO’s Director of Human Resources. She retired from the company at the end of 2004. She was an outstanding teacher and mentor to many. Wanda was proud to work for The Oklahoman and enjoyed working for many other Gaylord family businesses. She had fond memories of business trips to the Grand Ole Opry and The Broadmoor; and of handling payments to the cast of Hee-Haw and other country music performers.
Following her retirement in 2004, Wanda spent precious time with her beloved grandchildren. She and Richard also traveled, including trips to the Czech Republic and Hawaii, and trips with their friends, David and Patty Acree. Wanda was a faithful and active member of Southgate Baptist Church, where she undertook several volunteer roles and worked, until her second retirement, as the church’s financial bookkeeper. Wanda was active in the Southside Senior Center where she made many friends playing Hand and Foot Canasta.
Wanda was also a beloved sister, niece, and aunt. A cornerstone of her family, she hosted Thanksgiving feasts, organized the best Easter egg hunts, and planned games for her family’s Christmas Eve gathering. She looked forward to the annual Brown family get-together and she hosted a Lowe family reunion. She dearly loved family.
Wanda was predeceased by her parents; her husband, Richard; and her daughter Karen. She is survived by her son, Brian Matula, and his wife, Sandra Kirkpatrick. Wanda’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren were especially dear to her. They are Audrey Shobert Shroll and husband Jeremy Shroll; Bryson Matula; and Weston Matula. Audrey and Jeremy blessed Wanda with two wonderful great-grandsons, Jay Shroll and Nolan Shroll. Also surviving are her siblings, sister Marilyn Nicely and her husband, Johnie; sister Joyce Grizzle; and brother Danny Lowe and his wife, Debbie; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. She is also survived by her uncle, aunts, and many cousins.
Per Wanda’s instruction, because of the pandemic, no public funeral services will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorial donations in Wanda’s name to Special Olympics Oklahoma, 6835 S. Canton Ave. Tulsa, OK 74136; or to Southgate Baptist Church, 740 SW 4th Street, Moore, OK 73160.
**Wanda specifically told us not to have a service for her during this pandemic. She didn't want to risk your (or our) health, which is typical of Wanda. Another thing that is typical of Wanda is that before the pandemic, she had written out plans and thoughts for her memorial service. In those notes, she expresses a desire for a celebration of her life. Her exact words are " If I thought I could get by with it, a parade would be fun. You know how I love a parade." Wanda's family thanks her friends who 'paraded' Wanda to her final resting place. We appreciate your demonstration of love for her and for us.
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