Nelma Jean Massengale September 23, 1932 – June 2, 2018

Filed under: Life,Obituaries |

Nelma Jean (Coker) Massengale, age 85, was born September 23, 1932 in Durant, Oklahoma to her parents Noah and Mamie Coker. She passed away Saturday, June 2, 2018.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Albert and sister Neoma and brother-in-law Robert Shepard.

She is survived by her brother Dwayne and Phyllis Coker; children Sharon and Jeff Balthrop, Scott Massengale; grandchildren Rachel and Fernando Mendoza, Sarah Balthrop, Josh and Allison Balthrop, Chance Massengale, Kristin Massengale, Aaron Avrett and Kevin Weiche; and 13 great grandchildren Chloe, George, Moriah, Sherrod, and Aila Balthrop; Aurora, Sofia, and Nathan Mendoza; Nevaeh and Lilliana Massengale; Taylor, Madison, and Dakota Avrett; and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews, and friends.

Nelma Jean was a country girl at heart having grown up in Pirtle, Oklahoma among a large family of cousins since both of her parents had nine siblings each. She grew up helping on the farm and spoke of picking cotton with the family, which she did not like because it was painful on the fingers. She did not like gathering the eggs from the chickens either. But she did love the vegetable garden and the wonderful veggies that came from it, perhaps the reason why she loved a vegetable plate at restaurants. She was also known on occasion to eat a tomato sandwich or a fried okra sandwich.

She was a shy child and spent much time delighting in reading books. This must have influenced her knowledge, as she was an outstanding scholar, graduating at age 16 as valedictorian of her class of 19 students having always studied by lamplight since they did not have electricity on the farm. She was particularly fond of English, grammar, spelling, and excelled in her business classes of shorthand and typing. After two years of college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, she used those skills to seek out work in Dallas.

“When I came to Dallas from Durant, OK, to look for a job, I was scared to death,” Jean stated. “I applied at the telephone company. They wanted me to go to work but needed my birth certificate that same day and I didn’t have it with me. Lone Star Gas wanted me to go to work for them too, but they didn’t need the birth certificate that day. So that’s the job I took.” 47 years later, she was still at Lone Star Gas.

Jean started her career as a junior stenographer in the land department. After several years as a stenographer, she became secretary for the superintendent of operations in the land department and later was named a senior clerk. In 1968 she moved to the gas supply department and became a division order analyst. In 1980, she became manager of that department and pored over many a gas supply contract. She retired from Lone Star Gas Company after 47 years of service. Her retirement memory book contains the sentiments of many coworkers who commended her for her knowledge, dedication, kindness, and patience with employees. Many proclaimed her to be their favorite boss.

At age 19, she married Albert Massengale also from Oklahoma and a Korean War veteran and they had two children Sharon and Scott. She continued to maintain her Oklahoma family ties though she lived in Dallas and made a habit to speak with her favorite sister Neoma every Saturday and brother Dwayne whenever possible. The Massengales made frequent visits back to Oklahoma where the cousins played happily together. They all especially enjoyed visiting Lake Texoma.

She was very active in her church serving in the church library for many years as well as assisting in the children’s Sunday School department. Along with several dear friends, she made the rounds of nursing homes visiting residents to brighten their days. She was an active Bible studier and considered herself blessed to be able to go through Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) curriculum twice. She loved the old hymns and made a point to use them as lullabies for her children and grandchildren.

Jean also enjoyed sewing and crocheting creating many beautiful items as well as sewing her own and her daughter’s clothes for many years. She discovered genealogy in later years and continued to enjoy crosswords, games, and puzzles. Another of her favorite hobbies was cooking and she collected more recipes than anyone could cook in a lifetime.

Her other favorite hobby was traveling. She traveled as often as she could with family and friends and eventually visited 47 of 48 continental states. Jean also collected postcards and would ask friends and family to send her postcards from their travels as well.

She was most proud of her children and grandchildren and eventually great-grandchildren. She loved them well and sacrificially supported them in many ways her entire life helping with homework, attending many softball games, sending care packages to college, and providing babysitting with joy. She never failed to send birthday cards and encouraging words when needed.

Nelma Jean loved her Lord Jesus Christ and wanted all to come to the realization of their need for Him, knowing He was the source of her strength through the years. Her legacy of love, kindness, and generosity will be felt by generations to come.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at Jaynes Memorial Chapel, 811 S. Cockrell Hill, Duncanville, TX 75137.

Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m. that same morning.

Burial will be at a later time at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. No graveside service is planned.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association to support those who are currently suffering and help find a cure for this insidious disease.