Cover photo for Virginia Ray DeFrees's Obituary
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1952 Virginia 2024

Virginia Ray DeFrees

March 31, 1952 — February 25, 2024

Bartlesville

 Virginia Lee Ray DeFrees passed into the loving arms of Christ on the morning of February 25, 2024 at the age of 71.

 She was born at the Marine Corps Hospital at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California on March 31, 1952, to Wenfred and Aileen Ray, and lived on base for the first few months of her life. The youngest of three sisters, Virginia was raised in Oklahoma City and graduated from Putnam City High School in 1970. She attended the University of Oklahoma, where she studied vocal music as an opera singer, but this effort was derailed after she damaged her voice cheering too vigorously for Sooner football. She completed her degree in Vocational Home Economics, with minors in Vocal Music and Sociology.

 She met Steve DeFrees on a blind date in 1972 while in college, and she was so irritated after their first date that her best friend and roommate, Pam Korth, declared that Virginia would either marry him or kill him. Virginia and Steve were married two years later on August 17, 1974.

 They lived in Oklahoma City for the next two years while Steve completed his MBA at the University of Central Oklahoma. After completing his master’s degree, Steve joined Sambo’s Restaurants as a restaurant owner/operator for a location in Denton, Texas where, together, they learned the ins and outs of the food service industry.

 In 1978, Virginia and Steve moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma and opened the Washington County Hamburger Store. For the next 21 years, they operated the restaurant in downtown Bartlesville until they retired in 1999 at the age of 47. Now, 25 years later, the Washington County Hamburger Store is remembered fondly throughout town, and Virginia loved chatting with former customers.

 Virginia was an avid volunteer, actively involved at Redeemer Lutheran Church, the Boy Scouts of America as a Cub Scout Den Leader and Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner, the Service League of Bartlesville, Bartlesville Public Schools, and was a certified NRA Pistol Instructor. She was a Vigil Member of the Order of the Arrow, a scouting service organization, and was a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award.

 Virginia loved to travel, but particularly loved visiting the northwoods around Ely, Minnesota, and canoe camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. On any given day, she could be found streaming the WELY radio station out of Ely and dreaming of cooler weather.

She utterly adored her two granddaughters, who were sure she had hung the moon.

Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, Harold Wenfred Ray and Florence Aileen Hughes Ray, and her sister, Brenda Ray Perry.

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Steve DeFrees; her son, Samuel DeFrees, and his wife Allison; her granddaughters, Jacqueline and Leslie; and her sister, Linda Ray Levy and her husband Dale, along with many nieces and nephews.

Services for Virginia will be 10am, Friday, March 1, 2024, at Redeemer Lutheran Church with Pastor William Shupe officiating.  Committal service will take place at 3pm, Friday at Oakdale Cemetery in Paden, OK under the direction of Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home and Cremation Service.  To leave an online condolence, visit www.honoringmemoriesbartlesville.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Virginia Ray DeFrees, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, February 29, 2024

9:00am - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home

710 Dewey Ave, Bartlesville, OK 74003

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Funeral Service

Friday, March 1, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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