Wilma Ruby Rhoten Dobbs Gossvener
Services for Wilma Ruby Rhoten Dobbs Gossvener, 97 of Healdton will be 10:00 AM Saturday October 1, 2011 at the First Baptist Church in Healdton, with Rev. Jeff Flowers officiating. Interment will follow at Mount Olive Cemetery, under the direction of Roberts Funeral Home. She passed from this life September 27, 2011. Wilma Rhoten Dobbs Gossvener was born in Izard County Arkansas August 9, 1914 to George and Amanda (Gray) Rhoten, the youngest of four daughters with her mother Amanda marrying again later with two more sisters and three sons being born into the family. Wilma, at age six, along with her mother and older sisters left Arkansas by train, and the thing that bothered Wilma the most was leaving behind a mother goose and her little babies. To a six year old, leaving behind something you loved was a hard thing to do.
The family first settled in the Wayne, Oklahoma area with Wilma telling that Earl LeVally’s dad was a mail carrier for McClain County, and she loved to climb up on the running board of his mail car to see if the family had gotten any mail. Wilma also said she learned to drive when she was about 13 in a 1924 Ford. The family later moved to Oklahoma City, with Wilma attending school at Capital Hill, but she dropped out in the tenth grade because times were so hard.
Wilma married Arthur Dobbs, and they moved to Hobbs, New Mexico, where Arthur worked in the oilfields, but he was killed in a car wreck when their son, Jerrell was four years old. Wilma and Jerrell later returned to Oklahoma City where Wilma’s mom and other sisters and brothers got in on the raising of Jerrell, helping out with some of his whippings while Wilma worked.
Wilma married John Dana Gossvener, and they moved to Healdton in March of 1952, with their three children, Dana, Karen and Jerrell, to begin the Ozarka bottled water distributing company with the name later changed to Spring House, which is well known in Oklahoma and Texas towns and cities with the Spring House blue trucks heading out daily to provide good drinking water, delivering to customers in their homes and to grocery stores, plants and other businesses. Wilma could be found most days working at the plant with other family members or out delivering the 50-pound glass bottles of water to people in Healdton, carrying heavy bottles on her shoulders. Amanda King, Wilma’s mother, also moved to Healdton to be closer to family members.
Wilma was saved when she was 18 years old and says she can still remember the feel of the mud between her toes when she was baptized in a farm pond. Wilma joined the First Baptist Church in Healdton in July of 1952 with her three children being saved and baptized and attending church with her, and her husband later coming into the church also. J.D. passed away in August 1972 with cancer.
Wilma loved her church and always attended and loved to work in Bible School for 25 or 26 years. She was also a church hostess for many years and she and Novella Cole were responsible for helping the younger women plan big meals for funerals, church dinners and fellowships. Wilma was well known for her cakes, cookies and pies that she made. People would call and tell her what they needed and the kitchen would become a busy place. One day she had an assembly line going with 19 cakes that had been ordered. She also always entered the county fairs in Ardmore and the Healdton Pecan shows and always brought home blue ribbons, which now hang in her sewing room. Wilma says if she has blessed and made a difference in one person’s life, while she has been on this earth, it has been worth it. Most everyone could get in line and hug Wilma because she has touched so many with her cooking, her down to earth words of wisdom and her stories of growing up when times were so hard for large families with everyone working, living together and sharing what they had. Two of Wilma’s favorite songs are “He Touched Me” and “Blessed Assurance”. She was 97 years old on August 9, and Wilma you have touched many lives, and be assured you are loved and respected in Healdton, America.
Wilma was preceded in death by her parents, two husbands Arthur R. Dobbs and J.D. Gossvener, five sisters and two brothers.
She is survived by sons Jerrell A. Dobbs and wife Barbara, Healdton and Dana Gossvener and wife Cheryl also of Healdton, a daughter Karen Wellman and husband Dewayne, Madill; a brother Cecil King, Oklahoma City; 17 grandchildren and 15 great- grandchildren. Pallbearers will be Brandon Gossvener, Zain Gossvener, Donny Hacker, Chris Fields, Ryan Smithee and Lucas Jacobson. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Baptist Church in Healdton.