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Paula Gene "Dusty" Stivers Branstetter
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Birth: Dec. 25, 1931
Creek County
Oklahoma, USA
Death: Nov. 17, 2011
Perry County
Arkansas, USA

age: 79 yrs 10 mos 22 days

The Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach and his assistant were killed when the single-engine plane transporting them on a recruiting trip crashed in steep terrain in Arkansas, the university said Friday.

Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna died in the accident Thursday afternoon in the Winona Wildlife Management Area near Perryville, about 45 miles west of Little Rock.

The pilot, 82-year-old former Oklahoma state Sen. Olin Branstetter, and his 79-year-old wife, Paula, also died when the plane sputtered, spiraled out of control and nosedived into the forest.

There were no survivors.


Former Senator Olin Branstetter and his wife Paula "Dusty" Stivers Branstetter, went together to be with the Lord on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011.

A service will be held to celebrate their lives at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at Ponca City Assembly with Pastor Micah Wells officiating. The family will hold an inurnment service at DeBolt Cemetery in Arnett, Okla. Services are under the direction of Trout Funeral Home & Crematory.

Paula Gene "Dusty" Stivers was born on Dec. 25, 1931, in Sapulpa, the daughter of Ovid and Eugenia Masters Stivers. She grew up in Sapulpa, where she received her early education. After graduation from high school she enrolled into Oklahoma State University. While at OSU, Dusty was active in the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and served as secretary to the president of the University.

While at OSU, Olin met Paula Stivers at an "I like Ike" meeting.

In June of 1952 Olin joined the United States Army and served our country in the Korean War. That same year Olin married Paula "Dusty" Stivers in Sapulpa and the couple moved to Virginia, where they made their home. They lived in Fort Belvoir, Va., Fort Hood, Texas, St. Joseph, Mo., Jefferson City, Mo., and then moved the young family to Ponca City in 1963.

Olin and Paula both have their instrument and private pilot license. Olin also has maintained a commercial license and instructor's license to enhance his skills and experience as a pilot. He has also owned and piloted aerobatic aircraft.

Their favorite aircraft was the white and gold piper, Cherokee 180, N7746W, which seated four passengers. They enhanced this aircraft with many extras for safety and comfort including wing tips, cap seals, gyros, redundant Nav and com radios, auto pilot, wing leveler and booster headphones. The New Testament always rode on the dashboard and prayers of praise were recited before every take off and after ever landing as part of an unwavering pre-flight routine and checklist. They would love so deeply to be remembered by the thousands of hours they spent helping others and their lives of achieving extraordinary things is a inspiration for others to follow.

In 1984, the Branstetters and their son, Jack Branstetter, flew over the magnetic North Pole making Dusty the first woman to accomplish the flight. Paula's father, Ovid Stivers Sr., was the first aircraft owner in Sapulpa in 1928, a beautiful biplane.

Paula's hobbies were sewing, embroidery, letter writing, camping, traveling, dog walking, flying and aviation and she was a sports fan. She was active in Aviation boosters (as a Pink Lady), Pioneer Woman of Aviation Group and had served as a Marland Mansion Tour Guide.

She was also named Pioneer Woman of the Year in 2004.

Olin and Dusty were longtime members of Ponca City Assembly and they loved their church family.

Their four sons, Olin, Paul, Jack and Henry all graduated from OSU as well as their daughter-in-law, Janice. Their oldest granddaughter Kristen currently attends OSU.

Olin and Paula's marriage was like "salt and pepper." They were together all the time and always complimenting the other. They consistently uplifted others with encouragement, prayers and positive thinking philosophy. They enjoyed sharing inspiration through written notes, clever poems and ditties. They showed outward love and respect as a shining example. Paula's favorite scripture is Romans 8: 38 -39. Olin's life philosophy was "ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things."

The Branstetters should be remembered for their thousand acts of love. They established and have awarded over 50 college scholarships and they have selflessly given their time and money to the Salvation Army and Gideons International. They established a regular weekly ministry to benefit the male and female inmates in county jail. They both piloted many, many "angel flights" which transport sick children to doctors and hospitals far from their homes. The scholarships they already established five years ago include the Paula G. Branstetter Aviation Scholarship, Education College, OSU, Branstetter Licensed Practical Nurse Scholarship, Pioneer Technical in Ponca City, Olin R. Branstetter Oklahoma Farmhouse Scholarship in Stillwater. They also sponsored many other charities such as Cal Farley's Boys Ranch, Cal Farley Girls Home, Baptist Home for Girls, Gideons International, Marland Children's Home, Salvation Army, Full Gospel for Businessmen and Fellowship, Hospice of North Central Oklahoma, Billy Graham Evangelistic ministries and Global Outreach Mission.

Family members include three sons, Paul Branstetter of Davis, Okla., Jack Branstetter and wife Janice of Ponca City and Henry Bransetter of Eureka Springs, Ark; and their grandchildren, Kristen, Nicole, Truly and Paris. Olin is survived by one sister, Audine Word and Dusty is survived by one uncle, Claude Masters.

The couple was preceded in death by their parents and one son, Olin DeWitt Branstetter. Olin was also preceded in death by one brother, Max Henry Branstetter. Dusty was also preceded in death by one brother, Ovid Stivers Jr.; and daughter-in-law, Phrely "Freely" Branstetter in 2011.

Phrely's sons, Brandon and Brent McNiel, reside with their families in Mannsfield, Texas and Houston, Texas.

Honorary casket bearers will be Tom McCoy, Roy Branstetter, Rex Branstetter, Brent Word, Brad Word, Bruce Word, Don Stivers, Earl Bales, George Giffin, Eric Seeliger and Steven Grother.

Memorial contributions may be made to Gideon's International, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 32714-0800; Salvation Army, 711 South Third Street, Ponca City, OK 74601; Marland Children's Home, 1300 Summers Place, Ponca City, OK 74601; Campus Crusade for Christ, 100 Lake Hart Drive, Orlando, FL 32832; or to Hospice of North Central Oklahoma, 1904 North Union, Suite 103, Ponca City, OK 74601.
Family links: 
  Ovid Dewitt Stivers (1907 - 1957)
  Eugenia Masters Stivers (1909 - 1995)
  Olin Richard Branstetter (1929 - 2011)
  Olin DeWitt Branstetter (1953 - 1994)*
  Ovid Dewitt Stivers (1930 - 2009)*
  Paula Gene Stivers Branstetter (1931 - 2011)
*Calculated relationship
Debolt Cemetery
Ellis County
Oklahoma, USA
Created by: Marilyn
Record added: Nov 18, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 80656529
Paula Gene Dusty <i>Stivers</i> Branstetter
Added by: Marilyn
Paula Gene Dusty <i>Stivers</i> Branstetter
Added by: Peg Herriage
Paula Gene Dusty <i>Stivers</i> Branstetter
Added by: Peg Herriage
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