a eulogy by Carrie Sullivan
Who was Winnie Jones?
To begin with, Winnie was one of the biggest animal lovers to grace the planet. It is impossible, when thinking of the woman, not also to think of all the happy dogs and cats she gave her home and love to over the years—and one very protective Chihuahua in particular who was a permanent fixture on her lap. I'm certain that her beloved pets who have passed on are now overjoyed to see her again.
Winnie was fearless and quite the tough cookie. If you had to choose anyone to have your back during a fight, you'd want to pick her. Tiny-framed woman that she was, she was also a force to be reckoned with, and loyal to the end.
Winnie was my Easter Bunny. For a number of years, her daughter, Misty, and I celebrated Easter together. Though we were teenagers, Winnie always had an Easter basket waiting for us at the house. She even hid Easter eggs out in her fabulous gardens for Misty and me to hunt. It didn't matter that we were way too old for that by society's standards. I always looked forward to those baskets filled with candy, eggs, and a smiling fuzzy stuffed animal.
Winnie was a source of patient warmth. She never minded if I wanted to spend the night with her daughter. I was always welcome. She enjoyed it when Misty and I dressed up in our home-made costumes and paraded around Lawton making our amateur movies—she'd even sit down afterward and watch the final product, fully engrossed, a true fan. She was one of the "cool moms" who let us stay up as late as we wanted, even if it was a school night. She gave us free-rein of the entire living room during our Academy-Award-watching nights and helped to start our Oscars tradition that Misty and I still do today.
Finally, Winnie was a devoted mother. Many years ago, she was willing to open her home to a little girl who would later become my best friend. She not only adopted Misty in name, she chose to love her throughout the years as her own daughter. That love transcended the common bonds of blood. She watched Misty grow from a child, to an adolescent, to a teenager, and finally to a woman with her own children. And her adoration for her daughter and grandchildren never wavered for an instant. They were part of her family. Period.
Winnie was all of these things and more to those of us who knew her. When we think of her, let us remember the way she loved. Let us remember her strength. And let us remember her generosity of spirit. She will not be forgotten. She will be greatly missed.