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Barbara Sue Edmunds Tunnell was born November 11, 1940 in Wilburton, OK and passed away August 18, 2020. She was the youngest of seven children. Sue proudly referred to herself as a genuine coal miner’s daughter and fondly recalled spending as much of her childhood as possible up in a tree reading a book.
Sue graduated from Wilburton High School in 1958 with many achievements. She attended Eastern Oklahoma State College, and in 1959 she met and married Joe Tunnell. They continued their education at East Central University in Ada, OK. Joe coached various sports and Sue taught elementary school in Ada, Davis, Dover and McAlester. Sue and Joe settled in Pauls Valley in 1976 with their sons Bart and Bates.
Sue and Joe were happily married for twenty-four years, until his passing in 1984. Sue had many happy years raising her sons and spending time with her “pride and joy” granddaughters Amanda and Ariel. Sue’s love of teaching and literature led her to complete a Master’s Degree in Library Education. She met Bill Cummings and he became her companion for twenty-seven years until his death in 2012.
Sue loved living in Pauls Valley. She treasured her close friendships at Jackson Elementary and all the children who passed through her classroom. Teaching children to read was her greatest joy and she was proud of every child she taught. Sue also loved cooking for others, sharing family recipes and making big holiday meals. She will be remembered for her tremendous love of reading, vast collection of music, and most of all, her adoration of children.
Sue was preceded in death by her parents, Herb and Maud Edmunds; brothers Tom Edmunds, Bates Edmunds and Keith Edmunds; her sisters, Jean Edmunds Anderson and Betty Edmunds Dillion; her husband, Joe Tunnell and her later companion Bill Cummings.
Sue is survived by her immediate family: Bart and Penny Tunnell of Norman, OK, Bates Tunnell, and granddaughters Amanda Tunnell and Ariel Tunnell both of Los Angeles, CA. She is also survived by her sister Wanda Edmunds Burger of Tulsa, OK, her dear sister-in-law Billie White of Wilburton, OK and one beloved nephew and many adored nieces.
The family would like to thank the many caregivers that looked after Sue the past seven years at Autumn Leaves in Edmond, Arbor House Reminisce and Medical Park West in Norman.
In honor of Sue’s life and legacy, the family requests that those who knew Sue donate to one of the following organizations:
Nora Sparks Warren Library- https://paulsvalley.okpls.org/
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library https://imaginationlibrary.com
Kristin (Rude) Smith says
I’m sure you will get many such messages but my life was greatly impacted by Mrs. Tunnel as my second grade teacher. She told me I could go to college, and I did! She believed in me so I believed in myself. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.
nancy mcgee says
My entire family loves Sue. Her heart is golden. She taught my girls things they will never forget. What a special lady!
Robin Jemison says
Sue was a special lady! She was my mentor in teaching. I had many wonderful years teaching with her. She was a fabulous cook and she could whip up special dishes in no time.
One year we went to a workshop at Quartz mountain in Altus. My mom fixed cookies for us to take with us and we ate every one of them before we got to Altus! She loved music and was always telling me about a tape she had. I will miss Sue. My condolences to Bart and Bates!
Amy Somers says
I was blessed to have Mrs. Tunnell as my second grade teacher and she had such an impact on my life. She always made me feel loved and helped me gain confidence in myself. I remember her pinning notes to our shirts to tell our parents something awesome we did that day. I remember how much she loved reading and playing music for us to listen to in class. What a special lady she was! I know she touched the lives of so many. My deepest condolences to her family.
Hank Johnson says
I wasn’t lucky enough to have Mrs Tunnell as a teacher, but she still had a impact in my life. She did teach my sister and brother. My family thinks a lot of her. She has touch so many lives here in Pauls Valley. She will be missed! Prayers for her family.
Mrs. Tunnell used to hold my face in the softest hands I’ve ever felt and say, “you are the apple of my eye,” when I was in her K-1 class. I’ll never forget the way she made me feel loved and her gentle smile and warm hugs stay with me. She was the first adult who truly saw me. She was a gem.
Aimee Arnold says
You gave me so many gifts….classical music, poetry, love, and compassion for a little girl who struggled to read. It’s because of your passion I am the teacher I am today.
Your memory will always live on every year when I tell my students stories about you sitting cris cross on TOP of your desk reading shel Silverstein and ‘Twas the night before Christmas. Finding that I learned how to have a love and passion for reading. You touched so many lives. Thank you for the precious memories of visiting you when I visited my granny. It was a complete honor and privilege to read Shel Silverstein Twas the night before Christmas to you as an adult. You have touched my life so and you will be missed
Sherri Poteet says
Mrs. Tunnell, you were an amazing teacher and a friend to all. What an awesome place Heaven must be right now! Thoughts and prayers to the family.
Belinda Stevenson says
I’m so sorry to hear of Sue’s passing. She was a good friend to me the years I taught at Jackson Elementary. I still have cd’s & cassette tapes of music she shared with me, and I still crave another bite of the delicious cake she made me when I had surgery. She was a wonderful teacher and friend.
Peggy Patton says
She was the best teacher!! I worked at Jackson School for several years and came to know her love of teaching the little ones. She had a gift for teaching them how to read and also taught them the joy of reading.
Charlane Hein Jackson 1972 says
Best Teacher ever RIP I know you are up there I Heaven Teaching those little ones to read
Teri Patchell says
Eddie and I both loved Sue and Joe! We had wonderful times together. Our world was blessed to have them both. My children adored her and so did my grandchildren.
Jana Pullen Hickman says
Loved Sue. She helped raise us basketball girls In Davis, Ok Love and prayers to Bates, Bart and all family. Wonderful lady and loved her laugh! She is missed!
Mrs Tunnel had all three of my boys and they love having her for a teacher she was kind and treated my boys like they were aa prince if I had any problems I could call and she work it out.When my sister would run for county clerk I could call Sue and she let my sister put a sign for Gina.Brenda(Sumner)Robyroby
Linda Lawton says
Mrs. Tunnel was a sweet and kind person. She enjoyed visiting and praising God with my churc family. Her and Mr.Cummings were loved by the Bethlehem Church family. My prayers are sent for the family and friends.