Shirley Jo Komma was born April 5, 1933, to John and Rose (Downey) Komma, and she was promoted to her eternal reward on October 13, 2016. She married Johnny Eslinger on April 19, 1952. Johnny was the love of Shirley’s life, but he died unexpectedly at a young age in 1969. But if you knew Shirley for any length of time since then, you would have also known Johnny for she often talked of and told stories about him.
After graduating from Owasso High School in May 1951, she then went to Burroughs Business School in Tulsa for two weeks’ training as a comptometer operator. A comptometer was a large adding machine of the day used in bookkeeping. She put those skills to good use in the bookkeeping department at Douglas Aircraft in Tulsa, then known as the “bomber plant.” After being laid off after seven years, she went to work for Wonder Bread at 11th and Memorial in Tulsa where she worked for 25 years, again in the bookkeeping area. She left Wonder Bread to take care of her aging parents. After their deaths, Shirley worked in the retail shops at Tulsa International Airport for another 8 to 10 years.
Shirley was an only child and never had children of her own. But she had a huge family of aunts, uncles and cousins in the Downey, Hart, and Johnson families in and around Owasso and the Lloyd family of Skiatook.
Shirley also had an amazing number of friends, and many of those were life-long friends whose friendship was measured in decades rather than years. I dare not attempt to list them for fear of leaving out many of them. She was blessed with some of the finest neighbors up and down her street that one could hope for. Again, almost all of them were her friends as well as neighbors for decades. They looked out for her as she did them.
Shirley was a life-long resident of Owasso and always lived within a half of where she was born, went to school, and grew up. Her mother had been in the grocery business with another person before she and her husband built their own store in 1928, which is now the site of the Owasso Historical Museum. Her mother operated the store until it closed in 1958. This is now the site of the Owasso Historical Museum. From the stories told to her by her parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles and her view of the world from the little grocery store on Main Street, she recorded in her memory much of the early history of the little town of Owasso.
Although my mother, Muriel Hart, was eight years older than Shirley, they were more like sisters than first cousins. While growing up they spent many days and nights together at each other’s homes. I learned a lot about my mother and grandparents’ lives and times simply by listening to the Shirley’s stories about them.
You couldn’t be around Shirley for very long before hearing one of her stories of the past. We learned not only of the history of early Owasso, our families, and many other things, but we learned about ourselves as well. If you her for any length of time, she probably had one or more stories about you. If we could have recorded all of her memories that dealt with both the important events and the minutiae of life in the tiny little back-water town that encompassed her universe, we would have a highly interesting and detailed history of early Owasso – entertainingly told as only Shirley could. Unfortunately, many of those stories have been lost with Shirley’s passing.
One such story that I recently retrieved from her memory bank was of the lobbying effort during the 1950’s that went into getting approval for the building of Highway 169 from Tulsa to Owasso. Her dad, John Komma, made numerous trips to the Governor’s Office and Capitol Building in Oklahoma City. Each time Shirley’s dad would recruit different ones to go with him including my grandfather, Floyd Hart. We have had the evidence of their success running through the center of our city for almost six decades.
I think most the cousins of my generation and later called her “Aunt” Shirley even though she was technically a second or third cousin. But whatever the title, she was a loved member of the family, and it was always such a joy to see her and spend time with her.
I’m not sure I have all my theology right, but I really believe that my mother and many family members and friends are sitting in heaven right now listening to all of Shirley’s stories, news about family and friends, and the happenings down here in Owasso. Their gain is our loss. She will be missed. (By Larry G. Johnson)
Funeral services were at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, October 18, 2016, at First Church in Owasso with Reverend Ben Killion and Larry Johnson officiating. Serving as casket bearers were Victor Koening, Bill Eslinger, Charles Hodges, Curtis Johnson, Jeff Barentine, and Jerrod Barentine. Interment was at Fairview Cemetery in Owasso. Arrangements and services were entrusted to Mowery Funeral Service of Owasso.
— , Saturday – October 15, 2016
I WILL MISS YOU MY FRIEND. REST IN PEACE UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN I KNOW OU JUST LOST A FAITHFUL FAN LOVE NORMA
— NORMA HOLLAWAY, Saturday – October 15, 2016
Shirley was a strong, smart, and loving neighbor for 31 years. I will miss her fantastic stories of the history of Owasso as seen through her eyes growing up in her family’s grocery store. What a tough woman!
— Terry Hodges, Sunday – October 16, 2016
Shirley was a wonderful person who would help out where ever she was needed. It was always fun being around her and you just never new what sayings she would deliver. I will always miss you. Rest in Peace.
— Sharon Mudd (Mozingo), Monday – October 17, 2016
Shirley… so much fun to be around she was such a blessing. I enjoyed the history she told of Owasso as well as her enthusiasm to say the least for OU ..Boomer Sooner!
— Jerry A Johnson, Monday – October 17, 2016
Mowery Funeral Service
9110 N. Garnett Road
Owasso, OK 74055
Monday – October 17, 2016
4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
10100 North Garnett Road
Owasso, OK 74055
Tuesday – October 18, 2016
East 76th Street North, East of Hwy 169
Owasso, OK 74055
Tuesday – October 18, 2016