Rosa Leonora Slusher
March 21, 1926 - December 30, 2015
Rosa Leonora Slusher, 89, of Midland, Texas, passed away on Wednesday, December 30, 2015. She was encircled by the security of her family’s presence in her final hours. Graveside services were held at 11:00 AM Saturday, January 2, 2016, at Evergreen Cemetery in Paris, Texas, with Don Shelton officiating.
Leonora was born March 21, 1926, in Paris, Texas, to Jim and Dora Gladden. She married her first grade sweetheart, Jack Slusher on December 27, 1942. In May 1943, Leonora graduated from Paris High School after her hubby signed her final report card. They were married for 67 years.
Their life in Paris was similar to Andy Griffith of Mayberry. They were surrounded by a supportive family, extended family, and life time friends. After five years of marriage, their first born, Peggy, had center stage since she was the first grandchild on either side of the family. In 1952, Leonora and Jack received the surprise of their lives when the twins, Dana and Deborah were born. Life was good. A roping arena on their property was a joy to both of them. Jack loved to rope and train cutting horses while Leonora enjoyed socializing with friends.
In 1954, they moved from the lush woodlands that surrounded Paris, Texas, to Midland for the opportunities offered in the oil fields. There was abundance of job opportunities if one was willing to work hard in mud and oil. The first sighting of the West Texas landscape affirmed that the family had found the “end of the earth”. However, Jack found job working on a pulling unit and the family found a church home at First Baptist Church. Leonora and her family were blessed with many enduring friendships through the Myrtle and Ezekiel Sunday School Classes. FBC was and still is the family’s buoy during life’s storms.
Leonora’s friends and family called her their “Fry Queen”. Saturdays were the best because she packed a picnic of fried chicken and chocolate chip cookies for her loved ones who were wearing“greasers” topped with oil from their hard hats to their steel toed boots. Many fond memories were made in the shadow of a rig.
At home, Leonora answered the company phone and radio, kept the house free of sifting sand and welcomed any stray animal, whether it was tamed or wild, into their abode; dog, cat, chicken, javelina pig, ora fawn.
In the 60’s, the family moved to the Odessa Country Club Estates. Life was great! There were horses to ride and golf courses to play. Leonora learned to play party bridge and developed a passion for the game. Then the price of oil plummeted and so did their life style.
In 1965, the family moved to Big Lake, Texas. The security of a job was the good news; the bad news was there was no housing. The only available space was in the Mustang Motel. The family lived there for six months. Leonora prepared delicious meals, using a toaster oven and electric skillet. Jack always called Leonora his “desert rose”, but she had the tenaciousness of a “cactus flower”. Shortly after settling into their home in Big Lake, Leonora was introduced to duplicate bridge and became a Certified Bridge Director and a board member of the Sue Barber Bridge Club in San Angelo, Texas. She loved every aspect of the game. Especially the tournaments, she and her friends attended them in the U.S. and internationally. She won several Regional and National tournaments and was honored to compete against players such as: Oswald and Jim Jacoby, Bob Hammon, Bill Gates and Omar Sharif. But her proudest moment was at a 1980 Regional in Fort Worth, Texas where her Midland Team played her daughter’s Fort Worth Team in the Flight “A” Finals. Of course,Leonora’s Team won.
After fourteen happy years in Big Lake, the family was transferred back to Midland. Leonora continued playing bridge at the Allison Bridge Center where she created lifetime friendships and achieved the ranking of Silver Life Master. She also served on the Allison Board and the Midland Tournament and Ethics Committees for twenty years. She will always be remembered for her competitive will to win and her strong ethics.
Leonora would remind her children she was not their friend, she was much more. It did not matter the circumstance, when the children participated in games, sports, dance, cheerleading or band; she was always there.
Cherished memories fill the void of our loss.
Survivors include: daughters, Peggy Cook and Deborah Brookins, and son, Dana Slusher and wife, Melissa all of Midland, Texas; sister Willetta House and husband, Jerry House of Burnett, Texas;grandchildren, Jim Slusher and wife, Catey of Houston; Ryan Slusher of Midland, Texas; Robin Parker and husband Phillip of Austin,Texas; Alana Arguello and husband Jose of Coronado, California;James Cook and wife Lorie of Houston, Texas; Jacqueline Cook and husband Burl of Ft. Worth, Texas; and 8 great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents, Jim and Dora Gladden of Paris and her brother, James Gladden of Paris.
Pallbearers will be: Ryan Slusher, Phillip Parker, Gary Ingram, Kenny Don Ingram and Jim Bell.
Honorary Pallbearers will be: Jim Slusher, Jose Arguello, Dr. Kyle House, Jerry House, Shelton Smith, Jackie Gibson, Gary Bell, David Gist, Denton Dee Jones, and B.J. Avance.
Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Midland, 911 West Texas Street, Midland, Texas 79701, or call (432-682-2855).
Arrangements were under the direction of Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home in Paris, Texas.
Online condolences can be made at: fry-gibbs.com