On June 30th, 2023, Rita Wanell Fargo Click left this world for her heavenly home. She was surrounded by her family in prayer and with hymns of glory playing, as she surely reached a welcoming embrace from those who have gone before her.
Proverbs 20:27 says, “The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life, searching the innermost parts.” This is the story of her life.
She was born on March 21, 1943 in Fort Smith, Arkansas to Woodrow Wilson Fargo Sr. and Nellie Orel Mize Fargo. Though she spent her last four years with family in Olathe, KS, her life was lived on the corner of Highway 64 and Cottonwood Road in Muldrow, Oklahoma.
It was there she grew up the daughter of an entrepreneurial WW2 Army veteran and a prominent school and Sunday School teacher. It was there that, under her mother and the First Baptist Church’s leadership, she learned about Jesus and became a follower of Christ. It was there that she became a supportive sister to her brother, Wilson. It was there she discovered the value in investing in your community, where she graduated from Muldrow High School in May of 1961. It was there she met and married her husband, Tommy, on September 15, 1961. It was there she became a mother of her own two children, Karen and Rodney. It was there she became the loving grandmother to five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. And it was there Wanell embraced her God-given creativity and heart and served her family and friends faithfully for 76 years.
Wanell’s first venture after high school was cosmetology school, where, after graduation, she opened a shop in her newly built home. She served there as a Saturday-morning beautician for loved ones for many years. And during this time, she also took pride in her primary role of homemaker as Tommy operated a gas service station on the same corner.
After Tommy left the station to run Rural Water, Wanell went to work as a Special Education Para at Muldrow Middle School. She later moved to the elementary school and became the library assistant. Sharing stories with others was both her passion and gift, and she fell in love with this opportunity. God used this time to bless both her and the students she engaged. God also began to use her artistic talents in this time to craft book-related displays, plays, and whatever else she could find to make the stories come to life. She worked for Muldrow schools for over 20 years and then retired to the next phase of service, where she became the caretaker for both of her parents and two of her aunts until their passing.
One way Wanell found joy was through the arts. She painted acrylic portraits and ceramics. Most of her work can be found on the walls and shelves of family members’ homes. She baked and decorated custom cakes for her family for many different occasions throughout the years. She was a seamstress. Her daughter Karen’s wardrobe was nearly all custom clothing until junior high, and she made her three homecoming dresses and her wedding dress. But others in the family reaped the benefits of this talent too, as she also made dresses for her sister-in-law’s, Vicki and Judy, her mother, her nieces, her granddaughters, herself, and even made a few suits for her son, Rodney. She left a legacy in the form of quilts that members of the family will always have to keep. And lesser known to most, she was also a pianist.
In line with her love of the arts and story-telling, it’s no surprise that Wanell also held a deep affinity for pictures and bibles. Throughout the years, she has crafted and gifted many photo albums for her family, both nuclear and extended. As of late, she took advantage of photo-sharing social media and inevitably found ways to document and print what was shared with her. In fact, she had been working on albums for her great grandchildren up to her passing, a project that frustrated her to leave unfinished. She has a large collection of bibles, varying by translation, font size, and family member of which it originally belonged. With her picture collection and her family bibles, she was naturally established as the family historian.
Wanell maintained church membership with the First Baptist Church throughout her life. For many years she was an elementary Sunday School teacher. Once again, she followed the call of the Lord to use her gifts to teach children through stories and arts. She frequently crafted flannel boards and displays to help illustrate the lessons. After she retired from teaching Sunday School, she continued to pass her faith to the next generation by teaching her grandchildren and great grandchildren about God and His word. In Psalm 78, it says that God’s people should teach the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done, to the next generation so then they would put their trust in God. This has been Wanell’s life calling and she was faithful to heed the call.
In February of 2019, Wanell moved to Olathe, KS to live with her daughter. She originally didn’t want to leave her corner, the corner where she spent her first 76 years. She began praying about it, then Rodney announced he was moving to PA, and she continued praying about it, then she said the Lord showed her in Genesis 12 where He tells Abram to go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. So that settled it, she was moving, the Lord had shown her what she should do. In 2020, she was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, and would require oxygen, many trips to the doctor and extra help daily. Praise the Lord, she was right where she needed to be…with great doctors all around her and steps away for Karen to help. God is good!
Wanell was preceded in death by her husband, Tommy and her parents Woodrow and Orel. Her survivors include one brother, Wilson Fargo and wife Judy of Fort Gibson, OK: two children, daughter, Karen Page and husband Steve of Olathe, KS and son, Rodney Click and wife Tammy of Muldrow, OK, five grandchildren: Nicole Standige, Tyler Page and wife Brittney, Nicole Page, Hattie Murry and husband Elijah, Woodrow (Woody) and wife Maddie, nine great grandchildren: Jayson Standige, Esme’ Standige, Ella Webster, Clay Page, Katherine Grace Murphy, Beau Murphy, Tamzyn, Legacy, and Gwenivere Click, several cousins, nieces and nephews, and brothers/sisters-in-laws.
Funeral Service will be at 2:00 PM on Friday, July 7, 2023 at First Baptist Church in Muldrow, Oklahoma. Burial will follow at Memory Garden Cemetery in Muldrow, Oklahoma under the direction of Agent Mallory Martin Funeral Service, Inc.
Viewing will be 7 – 9 PM Thursday at Agent Mallory Martin Chapel in Muldrow, OK.