Aleta Jo Tyra peacefully passed away the morning of Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the age of 91. She was born July 11, 1922, in Rising Star, Texas, to the late Dewey and Jewel Large.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Clarence "C.D." Tyra; the couple's youngest son, Clarence Wesley; her brothers, Oscar and Dean Large; brothers-in-law, Junior and Harris Tyra; and sister-in-law, Evelyn, and her husband, Frank Kenyon.
Aleta spent her childhood in Texas and New Mexico. She attended the Masonic School of Nursing in El Paso, Texas.
While in nursing school, she met C.D. at a Halloween party.
"He was doomed from the moment I saw him. I told myself, This is the man I'm going to marry,'" Aleta said.
The two were married in her parents' living room on April 4, 1941, and spent 67 years together. The couple had wonderful adventures while C.D. worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad in New Mexico and Central and Southern Arizona.
C.D. served with the Merchant Marines during World War II. Upon his return, they went into business with friends running fishing cabins, a gas station and store at Coolidge Dam.
People would come from miles around to have Aleta's ham salad sandwiches.
C.D. joined the Arizona Highway Patrol in 1949 and the family moved to Casa Grande.
Aleta worked as a receptionist in a doctor's office, sold tickets at the picture show, and wrote for the Casa Grande shopping guide. She was a Cub Scout den mother and president of the PTA. In one of her fundraising efforts, the PTA made $1,400 in 2½ hours hosting the town carnival. One of the main attractions was tossing an embroidery hoop over the head of a live goose! She was given a lifetime membership to the PTA.
The family moved to Kingman in 1964, where Aleta was active at the First Southern Baptist Church serving on building committees, a member of the Women's Missionary Union, and volunteering many years to help with Vacation Bible School.
She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and served as Worthy Matron in 1971, held state offices for the Order, and served several years as the chapter's treasurer. She was also a governing board member for the local Rainbow Girls Assembly.
She had a passion to teach people to read and was active in the Kingman Literacy Council tutoring students in her own home.
She was a member of the Kingman Democratic Women's Club and served as president. She earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the state organization.
Aleta was honored with a Women Making History Award in 2010.
She is survived, and will be dearly missed, by her sons, Jerry (Betty) Tyra of Kingman and Gary Tyra Sr. of White Mountain Lakes; four grandchildren, Gary Tyra Jr. of Kingman, Tammie (Jeremy) Steffensen of Phoenix, Clayton (Beth) Tyra of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Richard (April) Tyra of Las Vegas; eight great-grandchildren, Jorie, Ashlynn, Logan, Davis, Colin, Eli, WesLee, and KimberLynne; brother-in-law, Joe Ben (Terrell) Tyra of Carlsbad, Calif.; sisters-in-law, Georgia (Eddie) Page of Douglas, Ariz., Vivian Tyra of Sussex, N.J., and Bette Large of San Antonio; and many nieces, nephews and wonderful friends.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at First Southern Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be donated to the First Southern Baptist Church Kids Camp or the Church Building Fund, 3120 Hualapai Mountain Road, Kingman, AZ 86401-5304.