Oct. 2, 1922 – Feb. 23, 2018
Helen Flanagin was born Helen Segroves in Ardmore in 1922. She was the second youngest of eight children and the last remaining of her siblings.
She graduated from Ardmore High School in 1940. The following year after the U.S.’s entrance into World War II, she traveled to Southern California to reunite with her high school sweetheart, Jim Payne. In 1942, they married in Hollywood, Calif. She found work during the war years and had her first child, Jimmie Ellen, born just a few weeks after the war’s end in 1945.
With the end of the war, they returned to Norman, Okla., while Jim attended the University of Oklahoma law school. It was there that her second child, Robert Dale, was born in 1948.
Helen and the family moved back to Ardmore after Jim completed law school and she worked in accounting and admin for the telephone company and in the petroleum industry. It was also around this time that she also took on the role of coordinating her husband’s political campaigns, resulting in two successful terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and two terms as Carter County Attorney.
In 1974, she married George Robert Flanagin and lived in Oklahoma City for most of her life. She went on to work for a series of prominent oil companies as a highly skilled and trusted executive assistant until her retirement in the late 1980s.
Helen participated in many clubs and organizations, and often took on leadership roles for groups such as Jaycee Janes, Ardmore Main Street, Beta Sigma Phi, Toast Masters and Desk and Derrick.
Helen was a masterful coordinator of social, professional and family events. She loved music,
dancing, cooking and entertaining. An excellent game player, she had a reputation as a ruthless competitor amongst her bridge partners. She stayed fit and active most all her life, exercising regularly. She boasted that she could do headstands into her 60s. Most of all, she adored her friends and family and expressed it with extraordinary thoughtfulness throughout her long life.
Helen was funny, vivacious and loving. Through tragedy and hardship she emerged with grace, humor and resilience. Her positivity and infectious laughter uplifted those around her. Although she will be missed greatly, she served as a wonderful model of a life well lived by all those lucky enough to know her.
Helen was preceded in death by her mother, father, five brothers and two sisters. She was also preceded in death by her two husbands, her beloved daughter, Jimmie Ellen Roberson, and very recently by the untimely death of her granddaughter’s husband, Glenn Keawe. She is survived by her son, Robert Dale Payne, his wife Teresa and by her son-in-law, Max Roberson.
She leaves behind five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and many nephews, nieces, cousins and friends of all ages.
Two gatherings will be held for friends and family to share memories and celebrate the life of Helen Christine Flanagin on Saturday, April 7, at 2 p.m., at the Westside Christian Church 10145 Northwest Expressway, Yukon, OK 73099 and 2 p.m., Sunday, April 8, at the Holiday Inn Express Banquet Room, 2207 N. Rockford Road, Ardmore, OK 73401.