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OKG Newsletter


Transplanted native Oklahomans leave legacy

By Gazette staff April 21st, 2007

Two transplanted native Oklahoma women died this week. Although neither woman was necessarily a household name, their influence philanthropically or through literature leaves a legacy for future generations.

Helen Robson Walton, a University of Oklahoma graduate and wife of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, was born in Claremore in 1919. She married in 1943 and eventually moved to northwest Arkansas which is where she died.

Walton had been president of the Walton Family Foundation. According to, in 2005, the Foundation granted about $158 million through 771 grants, including $38.98 million to Northwest Arkansas entities, $5.82 million to the Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi, $8.79 million to environmental groups and $79.98 million to K-12 education reform.

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel, dubbed the Okie Poet who wrote more than 25 books of poetry, was born in Stroud and relocated to California in the late Thirties.

First published in her 50s, she was the subject of a documentary "Down an Old Road: The Poetic Life of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel." She became the poet laureate of Tulare, Calif.

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