Friday, December 1, 2017

Cleta Sharp Ortloff

Cleta Sharp Ortloff came into this world on January 12, 1918, and passed away at 99 years of age on November 25th, 2017. She was one of eleven brothers and sisters who were the children of Cleveland and Zora Sharp, two of whom were infants who went to Heaven before the age of two years. She was preceded in death by her parents, Cleveland and Zora Sharp, her husband John E. Ortloff, her sisters Lucille, Mozelle, Maurine and Gwen along with brothers Byron, J. T. and Jones. She was also preceded by an infant daughter, Elizabeth Gayle. She is survived by her sister, Geraline Auerbach of Denver, CO, as well as two children, Donald John Ortloff of Point Blank, TX, and Joan Rochelle Ortloff Steinhoff of Dallas, TX. She is also survived by three grandchildren, Eric Steinhoff, Erin Faflik, and Carrie Blankenship, as well as three precious great-grandchildren, Levi, Connor, and two-week-old Blake.

She graduated from high school at the age of 16 as salutatorian of her class in 1934 and from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1938. One of her special memories from her high school years was when she won 3 gold medals in one day in an Interscholastic League contest for the southern Oklahoma district. She received her Masters degree in English from the University of Tulsa in 1965. She began her teaching career in Locust Grove, OK, when she was just 20 years old. In 1941 she was offered the job of administrative secretary to the controller of the Douglas Aircraft plant in Tulsa where they manufactured B-24s and A-26s for the war. She did move to Tulsa and went to work at Douglas Aircraft. While working in Tulsa, she met and fell in love with John Ortloff, the man who would be her husband for the next 64 years. They were married on October 16, 1943, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at Boston Avenue Methodist Church in the Rose Chapel. Together they lived and traveled the world and visited all of the continents with the exception of Antarctica. They were long-time members of the Wedding Band class at Chapelwood Methodist Church in Houston serving in various capacities including president. They were active members of the Hey Lollies square dance club. Their children, Don and Joan, were raised in Tulsa, and Cleta went back to teaching English when they were in high school. In 1965, John was transferred to Houston with Exxon, and Cleta began teaching English and Creative writing at Spring Woods High School in the Spring Branch School Independent School District until she retired many years later. They spent 1968 living in Tiburon, California while John was on a special assignment with the Bureau of Mines and Mineralogy, and Cleta enjoyed her year away from teaching, being able to explore San Francisco and the Bay area. When back in Houston, they were active in bridge clubs and were also both recognized as life members of the Board of Stewards at Chapelwood Methodist Church Houston, TX. They were charter members of the Buckingham Retirement Community before John passed away in 2007. Cleta relocated to Dallas to be close to her family in 2014.

Cleta was involved with many civic and church-affiliated organizations. Some of the many organizations Cleta was involved with were Den Mother for the Cub Scouts, Camp Fire Girls Leader, Delta Kappa Gamma, the Church Library and as a circle leader of her church circle. Her passions were reading, playing bridge, knitting and quilting, sewing and worldwide travel. She loved to line dance until the age of 98. She was always very physically fit and used to walk the halls of both the Buckingham and Edgemere.

She will always be remembered for her fabulous smile and living life to the fullest. Cleta was loved by her family and her caregivers and by many people at Edgemere Retirement Community. She was a voracious reader, sometimes reading as many as five books a week. She had a very sharp mind and an infectious laugh. She smiled at all of the people whom she came across while living at both the Buckingham and Edgemere so many people knew who she was. She was hard-of-hearing in her latter years, but if she couldn't hear what a person was saying she would just smile and nod.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to her caregivers (Becky, Cynthia, Doris, Jennifer and JoAnn) and to the staff of Edgemere for all their loving care. John, who was in charge of nursing care, was especially kind to Cleta, whom John referred to as Flotus.

Both family and friends were planning a 100th birthday celebration for Cleta's birthday. She came very, very close to being able to celebrate that very special occasion here on earth, but she will be dancing in Heaven on that day.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday December 3rd in Fellowship Hall at Fellowship Bible Church Dallas, 9330 N Central Expy, Dallas, TX at 2 p.m. with Gary Brandenburg officiating, following a private family viewing at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home. Cleta will then be buried in Houston next to her husband at Memorial Oaks Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions be made to Methodist Children's Home, Waco, TX, or to the John E. and Cleta Sharp Ortloff Scholarship Fund at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK or to a charity of their choice.