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Goins Celebrates 100 years of Life Featured

Written by  Monday, 10 September 2018 23:42
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Florance (Huddleston) Goins of Poteau celebrated her 100th Birthday September 6, 2018. She was born Sept. 6, 1918 in Poteau to Vander Bell and Pollie (Gibson) Huddleston. She was an only child and lived in this area all her life. She remembers hoeing and picking cotton as a young girl in her dad's fields and remembers the Great Depression.

She attended first through eighth grades at Meadow View and ninth through twelfth at Poteau High School graduating 1936. During this time, her dad and another man went to Ok City and worked to get the first school bus route started for Poteau School District. After H.S. graduation, she stayed home the·following 4 years.


In 1940 she went to Ft. Smith Beauty School. She could cut, perm and fix hair becoming a professional at "finger waves". After saving her money, in the fall of 1940 she enrolled at Wilburton College to pursue an educational degree due to her Dad's encouragement. She and her cousin, Louise (Hale) Gregory, walked from their appartment about one and one-half miles to class and back.


They kept eggs in a bucket on a window sill to stay cool and had to go outside to the toilet. They stayed about a month then moved back home and started carpooling. May 1941, she got on a train at Poteau, went to Stillwell and got on a bus to downtown Tahlequah. She enrolled at Tahlequah College (N.S.U.) Florance began her teaching career early in 1942 with a WW II Emergency Teaching Certificate. In the summer of 1943, she had saved enough money to go back to Tahlequah and stay in the dorms. May1944 she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and a Minor in Home Economics. Going home, she had all her things in the back of her Da d 's truck. It came a bad storm and they stopped at an old adobe hut where an old man lived and had a bunch of dogs. He was friendly and gave them shelter.

Florance met Bill Henry Goins at her Aunt Lona (Gibson) Hale's home during the late 1930's He was drafted into the army on October 9, 1942 during WW IL They wrote to each other for four years. After Bill's honorable discharge, January 12, 1946 with 2 purple hearts, he went to work for the Gas Company in Poteau, purchased the "Grover Peck'' place with 80 Acres from Mr. Twyman and began a courtship with Florance. She made their wedding announcement. They married 2 years later on August 19, 1948 in the parsonage at the South Side Baptist Church in Poteau by Pastor Watson (a fami ly friend). They spent 53 years together working hard and enjoying family. They had one child, Peggy. She married Warner L. Baxter June 4, 1971 and they had 2 sons: Tim Baxter (Air Force Lt. Colonel) who married Elaine (Jones) and they have 2 daughters . Merna Goins is so proud of great - granddaughters Emma Renee' age 4 and Everly Rose age 9 months. Her other grandson, of whom she is also proud, Cody Baxter (PhD Chemical Engineering) works and lives in Ruston, LA.

Florance was a member of the Alpha Chi Sorority while in College and later Alpha Delta Kappa International Teacher's Sorority and the Retired Teacher 's Association. Also, F.C.E., Extension Homemakers "Poteau Pearls" and the Laughing Ladies Quilting Club.

She is a retired teacher of 34 years. Her total years teaching includes; 2 years at Fairview, 16 years at Midway, 1 year at Hackett (during the time Midway consolidated with Monroe) and 15 years at Monroe where she retired in 1980. Through the years when she would see a former student she would remember them by looking into their eyes.


She enjoyed working in her flowerbeds and always had a green thumb, enjoyed reading, sewing, crafts and cooking which she did very well! She also loved to send greeting cards to family and friends.

Florance accepted Christ as a teenager during a revival at Sugar Loaf Church and attended church at Fairview School House where her mother taught Sunday School. At age 29, she was the secretary, treasurer and Sunday School Teacher at Fairview. Since November 1956, she became and remained an active member of the Double Branch Baptist Church. She is the oldest living member of 62 years.


Happy Birthday!

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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