Billie Marie Gann Gritts belonged to the Wolf Clan of the great Cherokee Nation. Billie Gritts raised five boys and was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Clifford Gritts, and their son Joe Wesley Gritts. She is survived by Joe’s family, her four other sons John Clifford, Tommy, George Lee and David Lewis and their extended families. She was a loving and proud grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great- grandmother.
Billie and Clifford moved their family away from their home in Sallisaw, OK when their sons were young in the hopes that they would receive a good education. They raised their sons to be proud of who they were and where they came from.
The seed of a strong faith in God was planted by her mother Grandma Gann when Billie was young. While Billie was growing up, Grandma Gann would take her children to Indian Church, walking with them through the woods, telling them stories, singing and teaching in Cherokee. The seed of faith was watered by the many pastors they learned from in the churches they attended. Her husband, Clifford, was the leader of the family. One of the first decisions made when they moved to a new town was to find a good church for their family.
Billie went to Haskell Institute, Lawrence, KS, studying to be a linotype operator for newspapers. Her first job was working for editor Wheeler Mayo at the Sequoyah County Times in Sallisaw, OK around 1944. It was there that she met her future husband Clifford. Their first date was to a rodeo. She once shared with her sons that she felt sorry for Clifford “because he had a hole in his britches.” Sometimes, when she was asked how boys she had raised, she would laugh and say “six” - including her husband. Both Billie and Clifford were proud of their sons’ accomplishments. They taught them manners, respect, and taught them to be gentlemen. There were two words that could always put fear in her sons and were never doubted. “Momma said.”
Billie taught her sons how to play baseball and basketball. Because Clifford was coaching the team, she would often “warm her boys up” before a game. One day, as the boys got older, she told Clifford, “You better start warming the boys up. They are throwing too hard now.” Billie would also school her sons playing “horse” in basketball.
Billie and Clifford were faithful members of the churches they attended. She read her Bible daily, and was a “prayer blanket” for her family and the members of her church, offering a prayer every day for them. “Now our prayer blanket is gone.” Billie loved being a Sunday School teacher, some would say she was a Bible scholar. Billie loved everyone and younger children were very special to her. She enjoyed teaching them Bible stories. When the church doors were open, Billie was always faithful to be in her spot. She was considered an icon by those that knew her.
Billie is survived by: son, John Clifford Gritts and wife Page Lambert of Golden, Colorado and children Brian Winner, Jeromie Gritts, Carleton Gritts and Kj Jacks; son, Joe Wesley Gritts and wife Sharon K. Tsatoke Gritts of Tulsa, Oklahoma and children Larissa, Sue and Clifford; son, Reverend Tom Gritts and wife Gail Rowland Gritts of Wolverhampton, UK and children, Sally (AKA Billie JoeAnna), Chad, Carrie, Gregg, and T.J.; son, George Lee Gritts and wife Judy Wagner Gritts of Phoenix, Arizona and children Regina, Lucas, Jesse, and J.D.; son, David Lewis Gritts of Hominy, Oklahoma and children Katie, John, and Becky; our sister, Becky Christian Hogue and husband Michael and children, Mattie and Macie Gann.
Billie is preceded in death by: parents, Joe and Katie Gann; son, Joe Wesley Gritts; grandson, Danny Joe Gritts; grandson, Trevour Joe Gritts; great-grandson, Frank Ordell Kohler Jr.; siblings, Cynthia Gann Weavel, Sally Gann Hopkins, Cherokee Gann Bear, Woodrow Gann, John E. Gann, Hoolie Gann, JoeAnna Gann Christian, and Finis Gann.
Visitation will be at 3:00PM-6:00PM, Monday, January 11, 2021 at the Powell Funeral Home Chapel. Services for Billie will be at 10:30AM, Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at the First Baptist Church in Hominy, Oklahoma with Mark Formby officiating. For those who are unable to attend, services will be live streamed on Facebook from the FBC Hominy page.