Charles Etta Owens McPeters
Funeral for Charles Etta Owens McPeters, 104, will be at 11 a.m. Friday, July 13, 2018, at Barnett Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 3421 Abilene Drive, in Lawton, with the Rev. Dr. Michelle K. Moulden, pastor, officiating.
Mrs. McPeters died Wednesday, July 4, 2018, while in Washington, D. C.
Burial will be in Highland Cemetery, Lawton, under direction of Howard-Harris Funeral Services, Lawton.
Viewing/visitation will be from 1-5 p.m. Thursday, July 12, 2018, in the funeral home chapel, 1005 SW C in Lawton; and from 10-11 a.m. Friday, July 13, 2018, at Barnett Chapel A.M.E. Church prior to funeral services.
She was born Oct. 18, 1913, to the late Dr. Charles Clinton Owens and the late Mary E. Baker Owens in Smithville, Texas. She was a twin to a brother. Charles Etta attended Smithville Colored Elementary School and graduated from Smithville Colored High School in 1928. Because Smithville Colored High School only went to the 10th grade and she and her brother were so young, their father enrolled them in Samuel Houston College in Austin, Texas, to complete course work for the 11th and 12th grades.
After completing course work, Charles Etta entered Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Later, she pursued graduate work at Prairie View A&M College, in Prairie View, Texas, where she earned a Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Charles Etta pursued further graduate study at Colorado State University in Greely, Colo., and Oklahoma University.
After graduating from Fisk University in 1935, Charles Etta accepted a teaching position in LaGrange, Texas, where she taught first grade until 1939 when she accepted a teaching position at Douglass Elementary School and moved to Lawton at the insistence of her two aunts, Ruth Baker Houston and Jennie Baker Swindel, who were already teachers at Douglass Elementary School.
In 1956, Charles Etta and her family moved to Hanau, Germany, where she was the first African American to teach at Hanau American School. She taught first grade at Hanau American School for three years and traveled extensively throughout Europe. Charles Etta returned to Lawton and resumed her teaching career at Douglass Elementary School. Charles Etta returned to Douglass at a time when plans were being made to integrate Lawton Public Schools system's faculty. In 1965, Charles Etta was transferred to Geronimo Road Elementary School, at Fort Sill, where she again was the first African American to teach at Geronimo Road Elementary. In 1966, Douglass High School closed and the high school faculty was assigned to other schools within the Lawton Public Schoosl system.
Charles Etta was a devoted teacher who took great pride in teaching her students and encouraging them to work to their full potential. She did not hesitate to spend extra time with students who needed more attention to grasp the concept of the lesson or to learn to read. She was very proud of her students when they excelled. Her career as an educator in Lawton spanned a period of 37 years until her retirement in 1979. During her career as an educator, Charles Etta was selected to participate in the Southern Association's Cooperative Study in Elementary Education at Peabody College and Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn. The purpose of the study was to dignify the elementary school and to determine if every child in the South has received equal educational opportunities.
Charles Etta served as representative to the Classroom Teachers Association in Hanau, Germany; as Parliamentarian to the Lawton Classroom Teachers Association; conducted hearing tests in the Lawton Public Schools system; was hired to teach in the Head Start Program the first year the program was implemented in Lawton; was a member of the Oklahoma Educators Association; the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association, and the Comanche County Retired Educators Association. Charles Etta also was an active member of her community. She was a member of "The Group", an organization that advocated for civil rights for African Americans during segregation; the NAACP; served as a Model Cities of Lawton Board member; was a member of Barnett Chapel A.M.E. Church where she was an active member of the Lula M. Peyton Missionary Society, the Stewardess Board and Usher Board.
Survivors include one daughter, Mary Etta McPeters Byrd, Washington, D.C.; one son, Charles Edward McPeters, Smithville, Texas; three grandsons: Dr. Micheal Charles Byrd (Benita), Houston, Texas; Dr. Miles Eugene Byrd (Maura), Tallahassee, Fla.; and Edward Ellington Byrd MSMPH, Nashville, Tenn.; six great-grandchildren: Gabrielle Byrd, Houston, Texas, Lauren Byrd Houston, Texas, Benita Alexis Byrd, Houston, Texas, Jasmine Byrd, Houston, Texas, Madeliene Byrd, Tallahassee, Fla., and Miles Byrd Jr., Tallahassee, Fla.; one nephew, Dr. Charles Clinton Owens (Dianne), Lawton; two nieces: Carolyn Owens Westbook (Carl), Tyler, Texas, and Rosalyn Mason (Harvey), Los Angeles, Calif.; her cousins, Dennis Baker (Norma), Oklahoma City, and Vivian Baker, Kingfisher; and many other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her two brothers; her twin brother, Dr. Emery R. Owens and Dr. Eugene A. Owens; and her sister Jennie Owens Lacy.