Edith (Edie) Rusden

Edith Rusden was born in Tulsa, OK on October 2, 1924 to Carrie(Pruitt) and Dewey R. Coulson. She passed quietly into the arms of Jesus on May 18, 2018 in the home of her Daughter Jean, with her family around her.

She was a much-loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend. She is survived by her three children, Jean A. Fawcett of Oologah, OK, Peggy L. Harris, Tulsa, OK. And John W. and wife Donna (Holt) Gay of Eureka Springs, AR. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, twenty-three great grandchildren, nine greatgreat grandchildren, one brother, Joe C. Coulson of Atlanta, GA. And countless nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family.

She was preceded in death by her parents, one brother, Robert (Bob) Coulson, two great-granddaughters, Chrystalynn Fetzer and Candice Kirchner.

Her mother Carrie died when she was six years old, so family moved to Kansas City, MO where they opened two Coulson Meat Markets, which were wellknown. Edie worked there as a young girl into young woman-hood and learned the grocery business.

Her father moved them back to Tulsa and opened a restaurant near Archer and Admiral Place, where she learned the restaurant business.

She attended Webster High School in Tulsa. She then went to work at WC Norris Company and later at the Douglas Bomber Plant at the Tulsa Airport as a “Rosie the Riveter”, making bombers during WWII.

She married William L. Gay and become a homemaker and had her three children. Lots of little league, YMCA softball, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Sunday School teaching, Church Choir, and mom duties. She was always, from beginning to end a wonderful mother and just a great human being.

She eventually went back to work and using her restaurant knowledge, managed the school cafeterias at Park Elementary and the Riverview Elementary. She eventually moved on to an administrative position at the Tulsa Education Service Center.

She left there to work in the office of Edison High School when that school opened and then to Charles Wheatly Company, Frank Wheatly Company and lastly Tesoro Energy.

She was the long-time lunchtime ping-pong champion at Charles Wheatly, taking on all comers.

She was a single mom for many years. She met Charles (Charlie) Rusden at church and he became the love of her life and was adored by all her family. After her marriage to Charlie, they moved to Oologah, where Edie was very involved in the United Methodist Women’s organization at Oologah United Methodist Church. In addition, she was also involved in the Oologah Historical Society and the Oologah Chamber of Commerce.

She and Charlie enjoyed an early retirement and moved to Bella Vista, AR, and became very involved in that community. She was president of the Bella Vista Noon Lions and she and Charlie both received the “Melvin P. Jones Award” for outstanding service to Lion’s club. Charlie sang in the Bella Vista Men’s Choir and Edie and Charlie sang many duets together for all sorts of occasions.

Edie’s life was a full one, with many, many experiences. Charlie worked for American Airlines, so they were able to become world travelers, traveling to London to visit Charlie’s aunt, Hawaii, and numerous places around the U.S. and the world.

Edie and Charlie started a clown group in Bella Vista that ministered to Alzheimer’s patients, They were also trained in and participated in hospice ministry through the Bella Vista Methodist Church. These were the activities they were involved in when Charlie died suddenly in 1995.

Going into her eighties, Edie carried on her volunteer efforts by continuing to clown, do hospice work and utilizing her restaurant and cafeteria knowledge, she cooked for approximately seventy-five people each Wednesday at the Methodist Church. In her advancing years, she left Bella Vista and returned to the Tulsa area and lived her final fourteen years with her daughter Peggy. Our entire family thanks Peggy for her sacrifice and the very diligent, wonderful care she gave Edie, no doubt extending her life by years.

Edie was part of the “Greatest Generation” and was a person who never gave up. She trusted in God’s promises, always got back up when she got knocked down and set a wonderful example for her family to follow. She prayed for her children and their families daily and with God’s help surely caused them to avoid many unknown pitfalls and received many unasked-for blessings. Her legacy is a truly wonderful one and she will be sorely missed by her family and all who knew her. She will be loved always.

The viewing will be on Wednesday, May 23rd from 3 to 8 pm at Advantage Crematory and Funeral Services located at 31st and Mingo in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Graveside Services will be at 11am on Thursday, May 24th at Rose Hill Cemetery at Admiral and Yale in Tulsa. A memorial service will be held on June 4th at Garnet Baptist Church located at 7th and Garnet in Tulsa.

Oologah Lake Leader


109 S. Maple Street, Downtown Oologah
PO Box 1175, Oologah OK 74053-1175
Phone: 918-443-2428
Fax: 918-443-2429