Laura Bennett died August 28, 2021 in Purcell, Oklahoma at the age 66 years 8 months 21 days. Memorial Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, September 25, 2021 at Saint Michael’s Church, 1601 W. Imhoff, in Norman, Okla. Online condolences may be made at www.wadleysfuneralservice.com.
Laura Bennett was born on December 7, 1954 as Stephanie Jean Clayton in Salt Lake City, Utah. After the death of her older brothers in California in 1956, her mother gave birth to her younger brother Bruce, and due to circumstances, she gave both up for adoption. In 1960, Stephanie and Bruce were adopted by Warren Hook and Louise (Caldwell) Cooper, a couple from Midland, Texas. They renamed her Laura Ann Cooper and her brother was renamed Warren Mark Cooper.
Laura was Baptized into the Episcopal church of Odessa, Texas, August 20, 1961, and then confirmed a child of God on May 15, 1966. She was a fervent Hippie, who believed in Jesus’ call to love others. Laura ran away from home in 1972 to join a Free church in the Paseo district of Oklahoma City. She strongly believed in Love, and married the father of her children in 1974.
After their divorce, Laura earned her GED, and began working as a surgical tech at Presbyterian Hospital. Here she met and married Richard Wikel, who unfortunately passed from cancer within a few years. In her grieving process she discovered a passion for psychology and helping others.
As a single mother, Laura worked her way through junior college, earning an accounting degree, to try and make tuition for classes at UCO. Laura worked at Radcliff’s Bookstore as an accountant, and then an accounts manager. Unfortunately, Laura had a breakdown in 2000, seeking help, she checked in to the state hospital. She moved to Norman, Oklahoma, to be close to her daughter.
While working at Walmart, Laura met John Bennett, and after a whirlwind romance, they married. She moved to Purcell where John lived. During this time she began working for the Chickasaw Nation as a title 31 trainer. Laura was passionate about educating her students, and about seeing each one as an individual.
John added three stepchildren, Mike, Phillip, and Amber, to her love list, as well as many grandchildren. Laura was an amazing grandmother, who drove to Norman weekly to see her ‘city’ grand-kids. After retiring due to health reasons, Laura spent time volunteering in Purcell, taking care of cats. She was the ultimate cat mama, feeding and medicating strays and trying to train feral kitties for new homes.
Laura was preceded in death by her parents, Warren and Louise Cooper; and her husbands, Richard Wikel and John Bennett.
Survivors include her daughter. Melissa Gray and husband, Zane, of Norman; her son, Christian Peel and wife, Micah, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; her seventeen grandchildren; and her orange kitty named Ginger.