BY Associated Press
Feb 23, 1988
11/16/09 at 12:15 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – Those who knew Angie Debo said Monday that the noted Oklahoma historian who died Sunday will be missed by people from her home town of Marshall to scholastic centers around the world.
“Angie Debo was one of Oklahoma’s grand ladies,” said Gov. Henry Bellmon. “She has distinguished herself through her long life in many, many ways and will be sorely missed by all who knew her.”
She wrote 13 books and hundreds of articles about Indian and Oklahoma history.
Miss Debo came to Oklahoma by covered wagon when she was 9 and became known as “The First Lady of Oklahoma History.”
She died unexpectedly Sunday at age 98.
“Angie is the first lady of Oklahoma history. She’s number one and her passing will be felt personally and professionally from her home town of Marshall, Oklahoma, to the centers of scholars around the world,” said J. Blake Wade, interim executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Miss Debo was the first woman to have her portrait hung in the rotunda of the Oklahoma Capitol.
Attorney General Robert Henry, who was one of those who worked to have a woman added to the list of honored Oklahomans whose portraits hung there, said it was clear as research was being done that Miss Debo should be the first woman honored.
When the minister in Marshall had to go off to war, she filled in at the pulpit in her town, Henry said. She donated property and part of her library for the creation of a library in Marshall, he said.
“She is the most remarkable pioneer woman-scholar that there has ever been,” Henry said.
He said he was “very grateful that she had 98 years, because she needed all of it to get things done.”
“One of the highlights of my career as governor was the opportunity to sit next to her and visit her when she was honored at the state Capitol – when they unveiled her portrait,” said former Gov. George Nigh.
“I had always admired her, but on that day I became convinced of what a truly great lady she was.”
In a personal letter to artist Charles Banks Wilson after the portrait was completed, he said Miss Debo had this to say:
“It is not beautiful. That is correct. I have never been beautiful … But it shows the characteristic that I now know dominated my life … It was drive. It carried me through my whole lifetime.”
“To me, this was a woman of authority,” Wilson said. “I tried to characterize that dominant personality that she had.
“The people of Marshall really considered her a city treasure.”