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Oklahoma City woman, 99, honored with paver at state Capitol

The son of Gladie Barnwell, 99, purchased a paver at the Oklahoma Capitol in her honor.
By Steve Gust, For The Oklahoman Published: April 12, 2014

One of the engraved names on the front of the Capitol Plaza came to life this week as Gladie Childers Barnwell received recognition from family and well-wishers, including Gov. Mary Fallin.

Barnwell, 99, basked in the attention on a bright sunny Wednesday in front of the state Capitol, answering questions on how it felt to receive the honor.

“It’s all so wonderful,” she said.

Life has been a full journey, as she has experienced nearly 100 years in Oklahoma.

Her only child, Douglas Barnwell, wanted to honor his mother with a $300 engraved paver at the state Capitol. The 15-by-15 inch granite paver enshrines the memory of a woman who has been around for most of Oklahoma’s history as a state.

“I first got the idea to honor her like this about three or four months ago,” said Douglas Barnwell, a retired state Department of Human Services employee.

The pavers are part of an effort by Friends of the Capitol, a private nonprofit organization. The group is dedicated to improving the beauty of the Capitol building and its works of art. Gean Atkinson, of Friends of the Capitol, said biographies of the honorees are kept inside the Capitol.

Honored by governor

The highlight for Barnwell and her son, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren, was the visit and recognition by the governor.

Gladie Barnwell said her parents moved in a covered wagon from Missouri to a farm in rural Ellis County, where she was born July 2, 1914, the ninth child of Calvin and Cecilia Childers.

She and Fallin talked about some of the challenges women have faced in the past in the business and political worlds.

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