Remembering A Century In The Making

Author: CL Harmon
Category: People | Uniquelahoma
Date Published: July 14, 2017

Two years ago on this day, a very spe­cial lady passed away. She was not famous or rich, but to many, she had a great impact on their lives. She embod­ied a life of strug­gles and faith that should be a reminder to all how we should live our own lives. For 100 years she expe­ri­enced the dif­fi­cul­ties, sor­rows, and joys of this life, nev­er giv­ing up and nev­er giv­ing in. Below is a sto­ry I wrote a few months before her death. I felt that on this anniver­sary of her pass­ing would be the per­fect time to share with Unique­la­homa read­ers the sto­ry of an Okla­homa woman who made this state a lit­tle bet­ter just by mak­ing a life here. I miss you, Grandma!

A Century In The Making

Only 14 years after the inven­tion of the first mod­ern car and just 12 years after the first flight by the Wright Broth­ers at Kit­ty Hawk, she came into this world. Now 100 years lat­er in an age where there is a nuclear pow­er, much speed air­craft, an Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion and com­put­er tech­nol­o­gy that process­es an unfath­omable amount of infor­ma­tion with­in the blink of an eye, she remains a wit­ness to it all.


Her name is Mar­guerite Pease Den­ni­son, and on May 15, 2015, she became a cen­tu­ri­on. In her home in Cleve­land, 186 fam­i­ly mem­bers fun­neled in to pay their respects to this fam­i­ly patri­arch who raised four chil­dren while doing her small part of forg­ing a nation the rest of us call home. She sup­port­ed the war effort…and her fam­i­ly dur­ing WWII as a “Rosie the Riv­et­er” work­ing at McDon­nell Dou­glas and then an inspec­tor at Spar­tan. She would go on to hold oth­er jobs, be active in her children’s edu­ca­tion through the PTA and take care of her moth­er and moth­er-in-law as their health declined.


She was raised in an era where work was the fun­da­men­tal prac­tice of the day. And she has spent the major­i­ty of her cen­tu­ry work­ing on one aspect or anoth­er. As any moth­er worth her salt can attest, rais­ing chil­dren is not only a labor of love but a love of the labor it takes to teach chil­dren how to be suc­cess­ful, pro­duc­tive cit­i­zens in soci­ety. She accom­plished these efforts while being a wife to her late hus­band Charles (Kih-ek-ah) and was rec­og­nized for hard work in 1950 as KOTV’s Moth­er of the Year. Her daugh­ters Char­lene and Mary rec­og­nized how spe­cial their moth­er was and wrote a let­ter describ­ing her com­mit­ment to her entire fam­i­ly to the sta­tion for a con­test. They fur­ther explained that her gold­en rule to her chil­dren was always to treat oth­ers the way they wished to be treat­ed. The sta­tion too rec­og­nized her efforts and she was award­ed her prizes and hon­ors on the Bill & Dot­tie Show. The rest is his­to­ry as they say.


Begin­ning in 1949, she went to work for the First Nation­al Bank in Tul­sa as an ele­va­tor operator…yes I wrote “ele­va­tor oper­a­tor.” Peo­ple didn’t always push their own but­tons. An inter­est­ing foot­note to that job was her being a wit­ness to the first esca­la­tor installed in Tul­sa. Her daugh­ter Sam­mie recalled vis­it­ing her moth­er at work on the day it was com­plet­ed and was one of the first to ride on the new contraption.

Before all of that though, she was a mem­ber of the first grad­u­at­ing class of Monte Casi­no com­plet­ing her eighth-grade edu­ca­tion. She would go on to com­plete the tenth grade at Chero­kee High School and even attend­ed Draughn’s Busi­ness School.


It’s no won­der this woman under­stands the true mean­ing of fam­i­ly. This Osage mixed cen­tu­ri­on was raised with 17 sib­lings, one of which shared the lime­light with the likes of Will Rogers, Ben John­son, and oth­er famous cow­boys. Bar­ton Carter’s celebri­ty came after win­ning the World Rop­ing Cham­pi­onship in 1925 at Madi­son Square Gar­dens. She had a lit­tle sliv­er of fame in her own right too by play­ing a role in the movie “The Pris­on­er” as a young girl. Her moth­er owned a movie stu­dio and made movies with Cecil B. DeMill…well it’s who you know in Hol­ly­wood as the old say­ing goes.


Sad­ly the Depres­sion would come, and the stu­dio would go. But she was okay with that. God had dif­fer­ent plans for her, and they were ones that would allow peo­ple to remem­ber her with­out a movie screen. She fol­lowed God and her moth­er back to her birth­place of Okla­homa on her mother’s Osage allot­ment in Osage Coun­ty. He then put her on a path that has led to 125 descen­dants, mem­o­ries of help­ing count­less fam­i­ly mem­bers and friends over the last cen­tu­ry and the respect that is earned by doing what is right even when the world around her is doing wrong.


Mar­guerite was recent­ly hon­ored by the Osage Tribe with the Sacred Eagle Fan Cer­e­mo­ny. This was done in hon­or of her 100 years in this life. The Osages believe that the eagle is the only crea­ture that can fly to the right hand of God and then return to earth.
Also, OSU inter­viewed her for its Cen­te­nar­i­an Project.

“I am very pleased that OSU inter­viewed me for their project. I have grand­chil­dren and great-grand­chil­dren who went to school there, and I know it must make them proud of me.”
By the way, did I men­tion that this remark­able woman is my grand­moth­er? As a lover of his­to­ry, I must say that I am in awe each time she and I vis­it. Not just by what she teach­es me about a world that exist­ed before me, but by the per­son she has helped mold in me through her count­less exam­ples of how a cen­tu­ry of life should be spent.





A Grand­moth­er To All

Kel­ly B. Todd: Help­ing Chil­dren One Ses­sion At A Time


  1. George Pease III

    Always remem­ber Aunt Marge as smil­ing and a great sense of humor. I remem­ber Grand­pa Pease and Uncle Sam Pease teas­ing her, I think she was both their favorite.


    Inter­est­ing post. Ill be stick­ing around to hear more from you guys. Thanks!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is Uniquelahoma?

You’re a Uniquelahoman when you love Oklahoma, maybe because you were born here or because you love what Oklahoma has to offer. There’s just one thing standing between you and have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the state you love so much: finding those hidden gems of stories and tucked away places. That’s where we come in. The hearts and minds behind Uniquelahoma are brimming with that appreciation and are always looking for new ways to share it with you. We will bring you those stories and find those places that you always wanted to know about you just had no idea. Stick around. Find something unique.

Recent Stories