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Leona's Story

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Leona (Belcher Coats Palmer) Johnson, 91, of McAlester, died Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Tahlequah.
Visitation will be on Wednesday with the family welcoming friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Brumley-Mills Funeral Home in McAlester. Additional viewing will take place on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to service time at Brown's Funeral Home in Atoka.
Funeral services will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at Brown's Chapel in Atoka. Burial will follow at Butler Cemetery in Lane.
Pallbearers will be Curtis Belcher, Darrell Coats, Pam Davenport, Jan Jones, Jimmie Schardein and Donald Sanders.
Honorary pallbearers will be James Belcher, Lucretia Echols, Brenda Walker, Thomas Sanders and Bob Belcher.
Leona Johnson was born on Sept. 3, 1926, in Lane, to Slater W. and Artie (Goff) Belcher, the first of their six children. She graduated from Atoka High School in 1945 and, the same year, married Robert "Buck" Clinton Coats. To that union was born Karen Anita on Dec. 16, 1947.
After 20 years of marriage, Buck died of a heart attack at the age of 42 in 1965, leaving a 38 year old widow and a daughter who was a senior in high school.
Four years later Leona married A.D. Palmer, a career military officer. That marriage lasted 12 years until his death in 1981.
In 1996 she married James P. Johnson, and after 15 years of marriage, James died in 2011.
For most of her adult life, Leona was a working wife and mother. Some of her employers included the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the USPS in New Mexico, and in McAlester she worked at Komar's, the McAlester Police Department and Kaser Jewelers.
During her 12 years at the police department, she was a member of the Oklahoma Sheriff and Peace Officer Association and served as secretary to a succession of four police chiefs.
Other organizations she was affiliated with include the National Federation of Business & Professional Women's Club, Inc., the Golden Years Club, and the Prime Timers at the First Baptist Church, where she was a member. She was also a member of the McAlester Regional Health Center Volunteers and logged over 1500 hours volunteering.
After her retirement in 1991, at 65, she kept busy managing to travel some with Travel Tour Groups in between her volunteering and visits with family and friends.
Leona is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Karen (Coats) and Dennis Reimer, of Tahlequah; a granddaughter, Kelley Reimer; a great grandson, Grady Reimer; her sisters, Virginia Lou Johnson, of Fort Gibson, Phyllis Sanders and her husband, Don, of Denton, Texas, Lucretia Petty and husband, Curtis, of Argyle, Texas, Pamela Davenport and husband, Randy, of Blanchard, and Mary Kirk, of Plano, and a brother, Stephen Belcher and wife, Tina, of McAlester. Nieces and nephews include Brenda Walker and Ronnie, Jan Jones and Jeff, Raylene Belcher, Ray Sanders and Ailie, Russell Sanders, Curtis Belcher and Kim, James Belcher and Nancy, Bobby Belcher, and David Belcher and Christine.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her step-mother, Pat Belcher; three brothers, Delmar (Ray) Belcher, Gene Belcher and Hubert "Buddy" Belcher, and a grandson, Clinton Reimer, and his wife and child, Summer and Cali Dawne.
Published on January 9, 2018
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