Cheatham is Grandmother to all
The SHERO campaign (female heros), sponsored by Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, aims to shine a light on Oklahoma’s every day female heroes who serve as role models in a state that ranks low in quality of life for women. The campaign runs through Mother’s Day. The Beckham County Record will feature the lives of a few of our local SHEROs until the culmination of the campaign.
One can’t talk about SHERO’s unless they look in their own backyard. White-headed Irl Deane Cheatham, at 85-years old still heads out to work two days a week and substitute teaches as she is needed. Many kids look to her as their grandmother, and she seems to embrace the sentiment.
Cheatham works for Elk City Regional Adult Learning Center as a teacher’s aide and gives the HiSet test. As a learner comes into the building she is the first one who greets them and they seem to gravitate to her friendly manner. It seems like she never gives up on them and they return the favor by giving her a friendly hand when she needs it.
She was originally from Kansas, moving around the state with her family. Her father raised and trained Golden Palomino horses on Start Lane Farms. She was a young horsewoman, showing in the Kansas City Royal Stock Show. She graduated from Shawnee Mission High School and went on to Kansas University where she met her husband, Larry Cheatham.
Larry was there on a track scholarship, breaking a high school track record at Beloit High School. He graduated from KU with ROTC. The couple had their first daughter, Randie in Beloit and second daughter, Sheryl at Great Lakes Navy Hospital in Illinois. After they completed their stint in the Navy the family moved to Colorado Springs, where their parents had relocated.
That is where their son, Scott was born. Irl Deane and Larry traveled due to his job with Sears. They lived in Ft. Worth, Amarillo, Omaha, Oklahoma City and ended up in Phoenix. Upon his retirement they returned to Colorado Springs and opened their own shop called the Mountain Artisan. The two ended up in Elk City after Larry had two back surgeries and ended up in a wheel-chair with spinal stenosis.
Irl became his care-taker. She took him to doctor’s appointments and made sure he was taken care of while she also helped raise her twin granddaughters, Randie and Jacquie, daughters of Scott.
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