Journalist – Long time Claremore Progress writer and Will Rogers Memorial Public Relations Director
Born and raised on a rocky hillside of her father’s Cherokee allotment, overlooking the Verdigris River bottom, northeast of Nowata Oklahoma, Patty Reeder was the daughter of Jim and Juanita Shaw Riley.
Except for a short time in Coffeyville, Kansas, Patty spent her school years at Nowata, where she graduated in 1954. Ironically one of her few low grades was in typing. She graduated from Coffeyville Community College with a major in journalism while living with an aunt and uncle and working afternoons and Saturdays. It was a time when, despite her intense efforts, there were few jobs in journalism for women so she continued her search and classes from Pittsburg (Kansas) College evenings on the Coffeyville campus.
Then along came love and marriage and a bouncing baby boy (Tandy) and a move to Claremore. While she came kicking and screaming, it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. After another baby, another boy (Tracy), and other circumstances, she was able to land a job at the Claremore Progress in 1968 that turned into another “best thing”.
Another turn of good fate was when Michelle Carter offered her a job as Will Rogers Memorial Museums public relations director the day I retired from the Progress in 2004. She is now into 2023 in another “job” that has been a life’s pleasure. Who could be easier to promote than Will Rogers and “his place” on the hillside he purchased before his death as a future homesite, now his final resting place?