McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 17, 2013

Jewell Lott (Butler, Heskett) Smithson

By James Beaty
Senior Editor


Jewell died Feb. 8, 2013, in Durango, Colo. at age 91. She was born Sept. 16, 1921 to Waldo and Effie Holcomb Lott.

Survivors include six sons and daughters-in-law and one daughter and son-in-law, Eugene and Kris Butler, of Fresno, Calif., Clyde Joseph Butler, Dolan Springs, Ariz., Jim and Helen Butler, of Arpelar, Okla., Larry and Karen Butler, of Sanger, Calif., Darrell and Judy Butler, of Clovis, Calif., Roger and Amanda Butler, of Ft. Smith, Ark., and Tracy and Don Cornutt, of Durango, Colo.; stepdaughters, Carolyn Conner, of McAlester, Linda Sims, of McAlester, and Vicki Mixon, of Oklahoma City; a special friend, Victor Willis, of Dolan Springs, Ariz.; brothers and sisters-in-law, George and Oleta Lott, of McAlester, Jesse and Pat Lott, of Scipio, and Roy Lott, of Scipio; grandchildren, Corky Butler, Shelly Chavira, Stan Butler, Jesse Martin, Daryl Martin, Donna Rowell, Lori Hudgens, Brandi Fleming, Monica Moore, Carlene Simpson, Ben Lowrey and Krista Graham, and numerous great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Waldo and Effie Lott; sisters, Ruby, Della Mae, Brine and Berniece, and brothers, Calvin, Dave, Burton, Glover, Elbert and Vernon.

I want to say a few words in memory of my mother. First, like Mom, I’ve always had something to say and second I’m the only one here to say it.

Mom has been living elsewhere for many years, the older people still living will remember her well, some of the younger ones not so well.

Mom was born in Corona, New Mexico. She was the oldest of fourteen children. Being the oldest child and bearing the responsibility of  your younger brothers and sisters will make you stronger and more mature at a younger age. Mom carried these traits her entire life. Everyone who ever met Mom, young and old, says she had a great influence and inspired much of their life.

At the age of fourteen the family moved to Scipio, to what is known today at Lott Bottom. Throughout the years, the sand and cactus of New Mexico continuously pulled at Mom’s heart strings.

Jewell and Stan Butler had six sons. By number six, Mom had given up on having a daughter. In our early years we moved around a lot, living in different states. Usually everything we owned was in the car, sometimes a borrowed car at that.

There’s not much room left after you stick six kids in there. Mom’s  youngest brother and sister sometimes went with us; by this time Grandma Lott has passed away.

When we worked in the fruit camps of California, we traveled Rte. 66. There was no I-40, Love’s Travel Stops or inside restrooms. Traveling was hardest on women and little babies. Mom cooked on the road over an open wood fire when us boys could drag up some wood. I can’t remember not having something eat, somehow Mom always managed. In the camps we lived in tents, once again a wood fire and maybe a Coleman stove that never seemed to work. By daylight, Mom had breakfast and lunch fixed. We worked in the fields till dark, then she came in and cooked supper.

The only ones who worked on Sunday was the women in the camp. They washed clothes and bed linens in tubs. They cleaned tents and washed fruit jars for canning if we could find the jars. Mom liked to can peaches. Mom cut all us boys hair and anyone else who wanted it.

The kids would run through camp and climb fruit trees, to the farmers dislike. The men usually sat around talking, smoking and drinking to a certain degree. My Dad was a good man, like a lot of men were. It’s just the way it was in those days.

It wasn’t until years after I was grown that I saw the hardships my Mother endured for her family. When its over and too late, you wish you would have helped carry her load. I think all Mothers understand this though. God sees to that.

After Dad died, Mom married a childhood friend named Charlie Heskett. Two years later, Charlie would die of a heart attack while we worked in the fruit fields of Yuba City, Calif.

In 1961, Mom was working as a waitress at Toot’s Diner in old North Town. A good looking carpenter came in to eat lunch. His name was Roy Smithson and soon to be husband number three. As God would have it, Mom was blessed with Tracy, the daughter she had always wanted. Mom had many good years with Roy. By the time the boys left home, she had the time and money to enjoy fishing, bowling and bingo. Sometimes she won in bingo, she couldn’t recall the times she didn’t.

Throughout her life, Mom never forgot to give God credit for all the good things in her life.

Mom lost a younger brother in the war. She said she was blessed to have six sons going into the military and all coming home.

After Roy’s death, Mom and Tracy grew even closer. They traveled a lot together, both stateside and abroad.

In her last years, Mom moved from Arizona to Durango, Colorado to be near Tracy and her husband, Don. She resided in an assisted living center. The family would like to thank Tracy and Don for helping Mom. Mom requested cremation. We will have memorial services Easter Sunday in Fresno, Calif. She will be laid next to Roy.

There’s a statue of the “Pioneer Woman” somewhere up around Claremore. I remember seeing it one time. That statue was built to honor my Mother and others like her. Through their compassion, perseverance and the love of their families, they hold it all together when times get hard. God Bless them.