The fair is also dedicated in memory of Norma Slakey, who died earlier this year.
Jeanette Bowles was born in Stillwater to Larry and Emma Heard. She was raised on a farm in Pontotoc County. Her parents operated a large dairy and beef cow ranch. They had row crops and alfalfa hay. Jeanette has one sister and twin brothers. She helped her dad in all areas of the farming operation, from operating machinery to working cattle.
At nine years old, Jeanette decided she wanted to show lambs. The 4-H project started with three lambs. The following year, she took out a loan at Production Credit Association and bought 21 ewes and a ram. She was now in the business.
Jeanette had a very successful time in showing lambs all over the state of Oklahoma and at the American Royal. She always raised her own lambs that she showed. One of her most memorable moments was when a boy that she had sold a lamb to beat her in the Grand Champion Drive. He had the Grand Lamb and she had the Reserve Grand Lamb. She said the she will never forget the look on his face. She wouldn't have had it any other way. By the time Jeanette graduated from Roff High School, she had acquired 250 ewes that were producing club lambs.
She met Teman Bowles at a club lamb sale in 1986 and they were married in 1990. They traveled all over Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas attending sheep and goat sales. Together they built up a commercial sheep and goat business along with the club lamb business. In 1999 they had their first child, Toby, and in 2002, they had Teddy. Today Jeanette and Teman own a commercial sheep flock, a feedlot operation, raise boar goats, club lambs, and dairy goats. They also operate a sheep and goat buying station where they purchase around 5,000 head of sheep and goats a year.
Teman runs Bowles Service Station in Colbert with his dad and brother. Jeanette and Teman are active members of the First Baptist Church in Colbert where she enjoys being in charge of the crafts for Vacation Bible School every year. Teman and Jeanette put on an annual pumpkin patch and Easter egg hunt for the Colbert school children at their farm and she enjoys judging FFA speech contests. Jeanette enjoys helping children in any area where there is a need and hopes that she can instill in her own children as well as others the importance of honest, upstanding values and morals.
Jeanette has been a member of the Bryan County Free Fair Board for 13 years, and has served as secretary of the fair board for 10 years. She enjoys making and bringing desserts for the members at each of the fair board meetings.
The Bryan County Free Fair salutes and thanks Jeanette for her dedication and service to the fair and the youth of Bryan County.
Norma Springer Slakey was born on Dec. 29, 1927, in Blue. She married Coy Slakey in 1946. Together they raised two children, Kay Simpson of Durant and Rick Slakey of Gunter, Texas. She and Coy were blessed with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a loving wife and mother and she influenced all those with whom she came in contact.
Norma was very active in her church, New Life Assembly of God, as well as contributing to her community with her love and talents. She was also active in a number of other organizations.
She participated in the Calera Pink Rose Garden Club. Her talent for flower arranging was well known to those who knew her. She would tell everyone that it was “so easy, you just stick them in the vase.”
In 1951, while living in Utica, Norma joined the Home Extension, now known as Oklahoma Home and Community Education. When she moved to Calera, she continued her affiliation with this organization by joining the Calera Group. She served as the group Chaplain for a number of years. She could always be counted on to do her part in any activity or project the club decided to do.
Norma was a soft spoken woman. She was very compassionate and dedicated to serving others around her in her community and county activities. She put in hundreds of hours helping as a volunteer with the Bryan County Fair.
She was a multi-talented lady. Besides being able to make beautiful floral arrangements, she sewed, made quilts, embroidered and depicted the perfect homemaker.
Calera Group of the Oklahoma Home and Community Education is proud to have made the nomination to have the Bryan County Free Fair honor Norma Slakey with this dedication.