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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Jesse Donely (Cotton) Lyall was born September 10, 1933 to Harold and Ila (Smith) Lyall in Maize, Oklahoma. He moved on to glory December 8th, 2020.

Cotton graduated from Tonkawa High School and Northern Oklahoma College. He married the love of his life, Willa Mae Chambers, October 25, 1953. Soon after that, he was drafted into the Army and spent 16 months and 12 days in Korea. Cotton had two daughters, Diana and Dana.

After returning from Korea, he worked at Wetmore Co., Williams Oil Tool and Mertz before starting as a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service. He eventually became the Postmaster at Tonkawa, serving the community for thirty-three years.

Cotton was always very active in his church, taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, always fixed anything that needed fixing and served as a deacon.

He had a great love for sports and always talked about the good old days playing catcher. Then as his knees grew a little weak he started playing racquet ball with a vengeance. He also enjoyed swimming at the NOC Pool. Even more that these sports, he loved watching all his grandkids participate in their school athletic programs.

He loved his farm and his horses and having cattle around. His greatest delight was having a paint horse foal.

Cotton was a man that people trusted and he would do anything for anybody. He was a caregiver and spent countless hours taking the elderly to the Dr. and assisting anyone who needed help. He always said, “I’m not good help, but I’m cheap”.

He was a great supporter of education by serving for five years on the Fountain School Board, and helped build cabinets for the Tonkawa elemen tary and high school. He faithfully worked for the Blood Drive and was a past president of the Lions Club. In 2017 he was named Tonkawa Citizen of the Year. He was such a good friend of the Tonkawa Public Library that the librarians named their cockatoo in his honor.

He always had a joke to tell and loved to laugh. He spent much time in his woodshop creating bowls or “gazintas” and gave them away to anyone who would accept.

Cotton is survived by his two daughters and their spouses, Diana and husband Rod Reese and Dana and husband Melton Edminsten. He is also survived by six grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren, brother Guy Lyall and wife Lois, sister Veda Tull and sister-in-law Emmy Lyall.

He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Willa Mae Lyall, brothers Harold Lyall Jr. and Max Lyall, sister Jeraldine Hurst, brother-in-law Ike Hurst and brother-in-law Jim Tull.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Youth at First Baptist Church, 212 North Main, Tonkawa, OK 74653

No service is planned at this time but there are hopes to celebrate his life with friends and family in the future.