Gwendolyn Marie (McQuirk) Harrison was born on Halloween in 1935 to Helen Elizabeth McQuirk and Thomas Arthur McQuirk in Blackwell, Oklahoma.
She passed away at her home on July 15, 2019 at age 83 surrounded by her children.
Gwen graduated from Perry High School in 1953 and married Glen Troy Stotts. The couple moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma where Gwen became a homemaker and housewife. Together they raised four children: Glenda, Tim, Tony and Susan.
She loved her children dearly and was happiest when with her family. Gwen always felt for the suffering and the needs of others less fortunate. As a young housewife she volunteered her time and work to help poor families and children, a theme that would dominate her entire life.
Gwen always loved learning and education. At the age of forty, after her children were grown, she decided to go to college and become a teacher. With most of her classmates half her age, Gwen excelled academically and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma in 1980 with honors from the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. She then received a scholarship to study in Oxford, England. During her studies in Oxford, she traveled all over the country and studied English literature and history, but her first love was the English language.
After returning to America, she completed a master’s degree in education from OU in 1982 and earned a teaching credential. During this time, Gwen wrote and created a workbook to help students increase their vocabulary and reading skills called Vocabulary Dynamics which was published by Time Warner. She taught for several years as a public school teacher in Texas and gained experience.
Gwen then moved to California and worked with Foster Youth Services, a government sponsored program designed to help with the educational needs of underprivileged children in foster homes. There she found her true calling as a professional tutor. Tutoring students with special needs became Gwen’s passion in life and she thrived in it.
Gwen eventually returned to her native Oklahoma working as an educator and tutor for the Gary Miller Canadian County Children’s Justice Center, an alternative school where she tutored disadvantaged children from poor or broken homes. While working there, she met teachers and staff whom she loved and never forgot them.
Gwen retired in 2008 and decided to revise and expand her book, Vocabulary Dynamics, which has been recently republished. She remained active politically and supported programs that helped the needy and hungry.
Gwen was a member of St. John of Nepomuk Catholic Church.
She was preceded in death by her first husband and father of her children, Glen Stotts, son, Tony Stotts, parents, Helen and Thomas McQuirk, brother, Patrick, and her husband Robert V. Harrison.
Gwen is survived by her daughter, Glenda Scott and husband Bobby, son, Tim Stotts, daughter, Susan Stotts, granddaughter, Lauren Stotts, brother, Robert McQuirk, his wife, Rosemary, nieces and nephews, and dear friends Eva McRee and Sue Wood.
Gwen’s caring and loving influence in the lives of so many was immense. She loved Jesus and believed that death was not the final reality but only a change to a continued and eternal life and a reuniting with loved ones and with God who is love. We miss her terribly but are consoled by her faith and the love that she believed in and gave to all who knew her. We will always remember and love you, Mom.
A celebration of her life will be held July 27 at Yanda & Son Funeral Home Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made in her name to Pets & People Humane Society, Compassionate Hands, Inc., or Yukon Sharing Ministry.
Online condolences may be signed at www.yandafuneral.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Yanda & Son Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Yukon, Oklahoma.