Jetta Marie McIlree, 80, passed on May 30, 2022, in Olathe, Kansas. Jetta was born on July 24, 1941 to Vernus Nowell and June (Sutherlin) Nowell in Searcy, Arkansas. Jetta was the oldest of five children, with three sisters and one brother.
Jetta attended Austin High School in El Paso, Texas. She was on the tennis team, active in drama, won a best actress award and scholarship to the University of Texas in El Paso. Jetta studied drama at the University of Texas for one year, then transferred to San Diego State University where she graduated early with a BA in mathematics.
After graduation, Jetta worked for Univac computers on missile guidance systems. In January of 1965, she transferred to the White Sands office, where she met Charles Lawrence McIlree. They were married on August 21, 1965. Jetta was a talented seamstress and made her own wedding dress and the Maid of Honor's dress.
Jetta and Charles moved to Kiowa in 1971. Jetta enjoyed gardening, reading, embroidering, and raising a variety of pets. She often said she wanted to make her own Secret Garden, like the one in the novel. Jetta had three children and loved working with children and teaching them. In 1978 Jetta returned to college to earn a Master of Education from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, which she completed in May of 1982.
Jetta began a new career as a teacher, which she enjoyed immensely. Jetta taught special education and always took pride in having a very engaging classroom, filled with plants, hermit crabs, and hamsters for the students to interact with. Jetta gave her time outside the classroom as well, serving as the President of the CEC, Council for Exceptional Children for several years.
Jetta is preceded in death by her husband, Charles; her parents, June and Vernus, and her husband's parents, Dorothy and Clarke.
She is survived by her three children, James, Karen, and Donna; her grandson, Reeve; her sisters, Donna, Tanya, and Pam, and her brother, Sam.
A viewing will be held Sunday, June 5, 2022 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Lanman Funeral Home
in Kiowa. Funeral Service for Jetta will be held Monday, June 6, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at the Kiowa United Methodist Church. Arrangements are by Lanman Funeral Home, Inc. of Kiowa. www.lanmanmemorials.com Facebook: Lanman Funeral Home Inc.