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Story written by Steve Robinson for the Claremore Museum of History in conjunction with Women’s History Month at the MoH 2024 along with excerpts from her obituary written by Pat Reeder for the Claremore Progress.

Ocie Mayberry’s name was synonymous with club work.  She was a member of a pioneer Rogers County Indian Territory family. When Bertha Ocie Denbo was born on 22 October 1903, her father, Oceola Oce Carter Denbo, was 22 and her mother, Dora Dean Patrick, was 20. She married John Ovid Mayberry on 15 November 1928 in Claremore, Oklahoma. 

Ocie Mayberry’s more than half a century of dedication to Claremore and women’s clubs has been perpetuated in Ocieleta and Jr. Ocieleta Clubs named in her honor.

Symbolic of club work in Claremore, she is credited with clubs, especially Federated Women’s Clubs being involved in total community. She was not satisfied with club meetings as social gatherings, but rather pushed for community involvement – formation of the Claremore hospital auxiliary, park improvements, school aids and other benevolent and social needs.

It has been said that Ocie is synonymous with Club Woman.  As organizer of six Federated Women’s Clubs in Claremore and one in Chelsea, she was also credited for organizing Claremore’s Girl Scouts and Brownies.

Beside her namesake Ocieleta Clubs, she also organized the Aladdin and Cotillion Clubs and started the city’s Federation Council with representatives from each Federated club. She was a member of Quest Club, Claremore’s oldest Federated club and served as president.

Ocie was just as active in her church, United Methodist.  She was a Sunday school teacher, sponsor of Epworth League and superintendent of a young people’s group. President of Rotaryanns and charter member, she also aided in organizing a Rotary wives group in Pryor.

Her family said she started organizing when she was 14. As a girl during World War II, she organized young people into Red Cross units to roll bandages. She also stood up to be counted when fund drives were conducted in Claremore. Although her real dedication was to the American Cancer Society, she also took a leadership role in the blood drive and American Heart Association fund drive.

In 1979, she and her brother shared the limelight at the Claremore Chamber of Commerce annual banquet. John Denbo was named “Citizen of the Year” and Mrs. Mayberry was awarded for a “lifetime of achievements.”

There is a popular country song that has the line, “every town needs a grandma’s house”.  To those that knew, respected and admired Ocie Mayberry, we’d say “every town needs an Ocie Mayberry”. She died on February 17, 1988 at the age of 84, and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Claremore Museum of History© 2024