Community supports family of late longtime educator

·3 min read

Jul. 16—A longtime educator in southeast Oklahoma will be remembered for her leadership, smile, her favorite quote and so much more.

Donna Curry taught at Frink-Chambers Schools for 25 years before she died suddenly in recent weeks from a brain aneurysm. Her son, Cameron, said community support overwhelmed the family as people shared their stories of how the dedicated teacher and school counselor impacted them.

"It's been such a blessing to have so many people that cared about her," Cameron said.

Community members and businesses showed support for the family after Donna's death.

Facebook posts, cards and other messages poured in to the family with their prayers and favorite memories of Donna. Vicars Powersports started a GoFundMe account and auctioned off a vehicle to benefit the family.

Common Roots owner Kristen Lloyd started a T-shirt fundraiser at the request of McAlester High School senior Reed Marcum to support the family with $10 from every shirt sold. The shirts have Donna's familiar saying emblazoned across the front: "Make it a great day! Or not, that choice is yours."

Lloyd said the McAlester store does fundraisers for various charitable causes and the Donna shirt event has been the biggest one because the longtime educator was "everybody's biggest cheerleader."

"Everybody loved her," Lloyd said. "She was just one of those people who embraced everybody, no matter who you were."

Donna was born on Nov. 29, 1965 in Clinton and grew up in Custer City, where she graduated high school and was an all-state basketball player.

She earned a bachelor's degree in education from Oklahoma State University and later earned a master's from East Central University in Ada.

Donna and Curtis Curry married on March 11, 1989 before making McAlester their home in 1997.

They bred and raised Hereford cattle — with the matriarch becoming a member of the Oklahoma Hereford Women and the National Hereford Women, where she served on the Board of Directors.

The Hereford Association is working to honor her through starting the Donna Curry Memorial Scholarship that would award a $2,500 scholarship to the winner each year.

Anyone seeking to donate or for more information can contact Colton Pratz at 405-385-1054 or Austin Perry at 405-338-5870.

Cameron said his mom prioritized her faith and family — and she loved raising cattle, going to Lake Eufaula, and spending time with him and his sister, Staci.

"Whatever we did, she was part of it," Cameron said.

Donna started as a kindergarten teacher at Frink-Chambers in 1997 and soon earned a counselor's certificate — serving as the school counselor for 25 years.

Many said she connected with students and thought of them as her own kids even after they went on to high school.

Angie Miller said she and Donna were longtime friends, but grew closer as she mentored her son, Reed Marcum, through 4-H.

She said Donna motivated Reed and all her students to do their best as they tried new things — and to have confidence doing it.

"She's just that kind of person and she's going to be missed," Angie said.

Greg Owen, Pittsburg County OSU Extension Educator in 4-H & Youth Development, said Donna set an example as a local leader in 4-H with her volunteer work and community involvement.

Donna was awarded with the 4-H Leader of the Year in Pittsburg County, Southeast Oklahoma, the state, and the Southern Region before finishing as a national finalist in her 12th year being involved with 4-H.

Greg said Frink-Chambers often enrolls more 4-H students than most counties in the state — and Donna made sure to have fun while being competitive in local and state contests.

"She always made things fun, she made things enjoyable, and the kids just adored her," Owen said.

Contact Adrian O'Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com