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Vettra was the kind of person everybody, relatives, and friends, depended on. Regardless of the demands before her, she would dig in and help: with the paperwork if you needed to meet some deadline or accomplish some tasks. She’d sit by your bedside for hours and comfort you with conversation or silence if you were sick. Vettra passed, Wednesday, January 18, 2023, of cancer shortly after being admitted to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City. She was born to Sammie Ford and Kathleen (Owens) in Coffeyville April 10, 1957. Her first school was Cleveland School, but she lived in several places as she grew up. Attended high schools in Herndon Virginia, El Paso Texas and Independence Sr High. She was, by profession, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She graduated with a bachelor’s in social work from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, then onto to advanced degrees: Master of Arts in Child, Family, and Community Services from the Southern Illinois School of Medicine and Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas. She taught social work at the University of Kansas as an adjunct professor, as well as at the Kansas City Community College. She mainly worked as a private contractor for both state government and private entities. She was licensed to practice in Kansas, Virginia, and South Carolina. She loved helping people and during her more than 40-year career helped countless clients improve their lives. She has one daughter, Asia Ford, of Cincinnati, Ohio. She was preceded in death by her parents, —by two brothers: Sammy Ford, Jr and Otto Lewis, Jr, —by two sisters: Mavis Lewis Scott and Elaine Ford Staton. Elaine passed December 26, 2022, at the age of 94. Elaine and Vettra were very close in life. Living siblings include sisters Peggy Lewis Kennedy of Douglasville Georgia and Denise Ford of Midwest City Oklahoma. And brothers Donald Lewis of Phoenix Arizona, Albert Dean Lewis of Kokomo Indiana, Jesse Dixon of Port Saint Lucie Florida, and Sam Ford of Washington DC. She has five grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. Vettra was a Cherokee Freedman descendant, whose African ancestors in the 1830s walked the Trail of Tears with the Cherokee Indians—slaves of various Indian families—when the US government forced the Cherokees from their homes in the East. The Freedmen were made Cherokee citizens by treaty after the Civil War, and Vettra, in recent years, was among the strongest opponents of some in the tribe who have moved, so far unsuccessfully, to kick the Black Cherokees out of the Nation. She may have single-handedly gotten more of her African American family members registered as Cherokee citizens than anybody else. On Saturday January 28, 2023, her ashes will be interred at Hickory Creek Cemetery, near South Coffeyville, Oklahoma which the Cherokees now claim as part of their heritage. She will be laid to rest next to her father Sammie Ford and uncle, Henry Ford, following 11 a.m. services Saturday January 28th at Webb and Rodrick Funeral home in Independence.
Saturday, January 28, 2023
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
Webb & Rodrick Chapel
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