Cover photo for Nina Gay Ferguson's Obituary
Nina Gay Ferguson Profile Photo

Nina Gay Ferguson

November 26, 1936 — October 14, 2022

Nina Gay Ferguson

Nina Gay Flanagan was born on a blustery, cold Thursday, November 26, 1936, in Norman, Oklahoma. She was the oldest child of Howard and Frances Hendrix Flanagan. Nina Gay would later be joined by siblings Kathleen and Thomas Flanagan. She would grow up in a big Irish Catholic family surrounded by aunts and uncles and lots of cousins that she held dear to her heart up until her death.

Because her father was a member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Nina Gay lived in many small communities throughout the state during her formative years before her dad was transferred to Pawnee, Oklahoma, in 1950. Nina Gay was in the 8th grade at the time and often said she had begun to dread each new move. She soon found that not only did the town of Pawnee steal her heart, but a classmate and neighbor she met named Larry Ferguson did as well. Their first date was at the 8th grade banquet. Coincidentally, Nina Gay (from a Democratic family) had campaigned for Larry’s dad, Jo Ferguson, when he ran for Oklahoma governor the summer before she moved to Pawnee and met the Ferguson family.

While in high school in Pawnee, Nina Gay was Pawnee’s sweetheart. She was a queen or attendant every year in high school, sometimes more than one per year. She never missed an athletic event to attend or a club to join. She participated in band throughout school and was a proud Black Bear drum majorette. She led the band in game performances and parades frequently, including during annual reunion events. She graduated at the top of her class and considered herself a Pawnee Black Bear until the day she died.

After high school Nina Gay attended the University of Oklahoma, where her family had long attended college. Nina Gay, in her customary style, threw herself into all things OU. She was active on campus and in her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. She loved living in Norman as it brought back many memories of living there while growing up and riding her bike and skating all over campus.

On June 9, 1957, Larry and Nina Gay were married in Pawnee, Oklahoma. They made their first home in Norman, where both were students at OU. While finishing up school, their oldest child, Lori, was born in 1960. After graduation, the young family would move to Lawton, Oklahoma, where Larry was stationed at Ft.Sill. Their second child, Rustin, was born there in 1961.

In 1962, the growing family moved to Cleveland, Oklahoma, when Larry took over the Cleveland American with the family newspaper business. In 1964, the couple’s youngest child, Kari, was born.

Nina Gay was quickly active in Cleveland just as she had been throughout her earlier years in different towns. She helped out at the American in any job where Larry needed help. She was active with her Catholic church and later her First Christian Church. She was baptized at First Christian Church in 1964 and it and her Christain faith were the center of her life. She served funeral dinners for the church for over 50 years, sponsored youth events, had youth over, helped with Vacation Bible School, held church swim parties, and attended the Church every time the door was open.

Nina Gay would eventually become a real estate broker, passing her tests on the first try. She remained active with her children and sponsored or attended everything they each participated in. She was known throughout Pawnee County for her hospitality and love of family and holidays.

Nina Gay also loved to travel and did so frequently throughout the United States and abroad. She traveled the world and loved the countries of Ireland and Israel the best.

She never gave up her love for participating in clubs, events, and community. She passed that love onto each of her children and grandchildren. She considered it a civic duty and part of building stronger families and communities

Many of the groups she was involved with were PEO club, Philomathic Study Club, Gamma Phi Beta alumni club, Legislative Wives Club, retired Real Estate Brokers, County Chairman for the Republican party, County chairman for Red Cross, Swimming lesson coordinator through Philomathic and Red Cross, Cleveland Planning Commission, American Legion Auxiliary, Hospital Auxiliary, Friends of Pawnee Bill Ranch, Pawnee County Historical society, Pawnee Alumni Association, Class of ‘55 Boosters, Cleveland Board of Education, Christian Church Women’s group, Friends of the Pawnee Bath House, FCC Building Program and the University of Oklahoma alumni. In each of these clubs she served as president, vice-president, or coordinator at one time.

No matter how active Nina Gay was, the love of her life, Larry, and her three children were always her epi-center. As her family continued to grow in number through the years, she was extremely vocal about how proud she was of her large family. She was known as Nonnie to 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren (with two more due in March). Her family was her north star, her pride and joy, her everything. She loved gifting them, entertaining them, hosting them and most importantly, praying for each of them every single day.

Nina Gay entered the Gates of Heaven on Friday evening, October 14, surrounded by family. Her earthly presence will never be replaced, but the thoughts of her whole again, in Heaven, bring untold comfort.

Nina Gay is survived by her husband of 65 years, Larry, and her children and their spouses, Lori and Tim Lucas of Guthrie, Rusty and Deana Ferguson of Cleveland, and Kari and Hardy Watkins of Edmond. Her grandchildren Fielding and Kelly Lucas of Seminole, Annie and Geoff Wilkerson of Moore, Taylor Lucas and partner Rashad Atkinson of Midwest City, Libby and Sol Bayouth of Cleveland, Coulter and Tiffani Lucas of Guthrie, Luke and Bri Lucas of Long Beach, Calif., Lincoln and Lauren Ferguson, Landon and Bethany Ferguson and Layne and Hannah Ferguson all of OKC, Ford Watkins of Davidson, NC, and Caroline Watkins of Norman, OK. And the great grandchildren: Leightyn and Addie Lucas, Cora Kate, Leif and Leo Wilkerson, Behr Atkinson, Larson and Jordyn Lucas, Kai and Lennon Lucas, Sullivan, Sawyer, Seth and Layla Bayouth and Lincoln and Theo Ferguson.

Also, her brother Tom Flanagan and his wife Carla, Duncan, OK and her sister Kathleen Keeton, Jackson, MS and many many nieces and nephews, cousins, and life-long friends.

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© 2022 (Chapman-Black Funeral Home)

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

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Thursday, October 20, 2022

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Highland Cemetery

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