Sadie Mae Brehm
Sadie Mae Byrd Brehm, loving wife and mother, died quietly at home Sept. 19, 2019, following a long battle with bladder cancer. She was 89. Sadie was known for her quick and sharp wit, a characteristic of the Byrd family.
The youngest of 10 children, Sadie was reared by her mother, Ida Ethel Cook Byrd, in Lookeba, a tiny town in western Oklahoma. She credits her eldest sister, Winifred, with making most of her clothing and her eldest brothers with helping to provide for her and her mother. The large Byrd family continues to congregate at a reunion held annually since 1960.
In 1948, she graduated high school from Lookeba-Sickles High, where she was a starter on the basketball team. Following graduation, she moved to Clinton, Okla., then the largest city in the western part of the state, to work as a telephone operator at a time when all calls had to be placed through an operator. She said she enjoyed the challenge of connecting long-distance calls, which sometimes required speaking with multiple operators in different parts of the country.
She met her husband, Samuel Earl Brehm, a few years later when he came home on leave from the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Two of his sisters also worked at the telephone company; Sadie and one of them, Norma Jean, had become close friends. The couple married Dec. 21, 1953, at the Brehm family home, where Sam's father lay bedridden following a stroke. The couple remained married until her death.
After a year in Fort Worth, Texas, Sam and Sadie moved to Oklahoma City and then to Ponca City, where their three children were born. Sadie worked in the home as a full-time wife and mother for the next 10 years. The family moved to Oklahoma City for two years before settling in the eastern part of the state on a small farm outside of Okmulgee, Okla. There Sam worked as a butcher and grocer and Sadie worked for the municipal school system as a teacher's aid and then as secretary to the assistant superintendent of schools. Her responsibilities included ordering textbooks for the city's multiple grade schools, as well as the junior and high schools.
At the same time, Sam raised beef cattle and Sadie managed a quarter-acre vegetable garden, while working full time and caring for her family. She froze, canned and preserved the homegrown produce, as well as bushels of peaches picked each year from a nearby orchard. The couple also had a pecan orchard, from which they harvested, shelled and sold or froze many pounds of nuts each year. She was insistent on maintaining a clean home, cooking all the meals, and even starching and ironing the family's clothes. "The volume of work that she did was phenomenal," said Scott, her youngest son.
In 1979, they purchased a small grocery in Beggs, 10 miles north of Okmulgee. Together they ran the store for 13 years, becoming a beloved part of the community. "The increased income from the store allowed us to finally travel, a longtime dream of Sadie's," said Sam. They took a cruise to Alaska, and made trips to Hawaii, Switzerland and Germany. They also joined a square dancing club, attending dances in many towns in eastern Oklahoma, and performed regularly in a local nursing home. She was also particularly fond of playing cards, especially Hand and Foot. They regularly attended services at the First United Methodist Church.
Sadie and Sam sold the farm in 2007 and moved to a home in Joplin, Mo., to be closer to their son Scott, his wife Martha and their children: Rachel, Sam and Joshua. There they became active members of the First United Methodist Church, enjoyed playing cards with their many friends, and actively participated in the lives of their grandchildren. They also made frequent trips to visit their son Steve, and his wife Joy and their daughter and son Chessi and Talon in Grover Beach, Calif., and to Boston, Mass., to visit their daughter Denise, and her cats: Sherman, Harlan, Taylor, Evie and Pearl Ann. In 2018, Sam and Sadie moved to Concordia of Bella Vista, a retirement community in Arkansas.
In addition to her husband, children and grandchildren, Sadie is survived by three great-grandchildren, Broxton, Poppy and Lincoln; a sister-in-law, Betty Stevenson of Raleigh, N.C.; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Leonard and Leta Brehm of Tulsa, Okla.; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation hours are Thursday, Sept. 26 from 4-6 pm at Parker Mortuary, 1502 S. Joplin Avenue, Joplin, Mo. A funeral will be held at noon, Friday, Sept. 27 at the First United Methodist Church of Joplin.
Published on September 22, 2019


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Joseph Magrini
Sep 26, 2019
Roses and Moonlight Bouquet was purchased for the family of Sadie Mae Brehm by Joseph Magrini.  Send flowers
Marcia & Michael Ward
Sep 22, 2019
Our sweet memories of Aunt Sadie will be cherished, forever and always. The precious times spent with her will be fondly remembered - her laugh, her smile, her kindness, and most of all...her love. We will miss her greatly.