Mary Jo Green


Services for Mary Jo Green, 85, of Ada are at 10 a.m. Friday at the Chickasaw Nation Community Center in Ada. Wayne Edgar and Don Parr will officiate. Burial will follow at East Hill Cemetery at Roff.
The family will receive friends from 6-7 p.m. Thursday at Criswell Funeral Home.
Mary Jo Thomas Green was born April 18, 1934, to John Thomas and Julia E. Kennedy Thomas in the Fitzhugh area.
She passed from this life at her home on Sunday, July 28, 2019, in the early morning hours after a lengthy battle with many frailties.
She is survived by her daughter, Melissa Whipple and husband, Craig Whipple, of Ada; granddaughter, Mekeisha Factor and husband, Terry Factor, of Ada; granddaughter, Destiny Green of Tulsa; one grandson, Judd Green of Ada; and a host of nieces and nephews, as well as her very special caregiver and friend, Missy Oxford.
Mary Jo married J.L. Green on Nov. 17, 1951. Preceding her in death are her parents; her husband; one son, Jess Green; one brother, Jonce Thomas; and five sisters, Beulah Mae McGalliard, Jewel Fields, Edna Hernandez, Johnnie Cox and Betty Lionberger.
Mary Jo was a child of God and an active member of the Sunshine Missionary Baptist Church since the early 1950s. She taught Sunday School for many years, and she taught her children and grandchildren the importance of giving their life to Christ. She graduated from Fitzhugh High School and attended East Central University for one semester.
Mary Jo was elected to the Chickasaw Nation Tribal Legislature in 1998 and served there until she retired in 2016. Prior to her election as a legislator, she served the Nation as an employee for almost 22 years. She received many awards during her working years at the Chickasaw Nation: 1986 Outstanding Employee in the State of Aging Network, 1993 Professional of the Year in the field of aging, 1994 Indian Health Service Director's Award; 1995 Betsy D. Smith Award for her dedication in providing services to older Americans; AARP Outstanding Indian Elder Trailblazer Award in 2016; and she was inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame in 2017.
Mary Jo devoted her life to being a friend to the elderly. She was a band leader for 25 years for a senior citizen' band called The Chickasaw Cats. They started out as a kitchen band and later developed into a well-accomplished band with a piano accompanist. Eventually they became a country music band with sounds of guitar, banjo, drums, fiddle, mandolin, French harp and even pot lids, kazoos and bells with whistles. They played at nursing homes, senior citizens sites, and even played twice in Tennessee, once at the famous Opryland Hotel at a national conference and later at the Opryland theme park.
It was in those years of playing at nursing homes in over four counties that Mary Jo became devoted to regularly visiting "her people" in nursing homes. It was a priority to her, and she became a regular visitor to the elders and even became known as the "Banana Lady" because she always took bananas when she made her visits.
She also became part of a group called "Caring Hearts Volunteers" and participated in their birthday gift program for those elders. Mary Jo was so well known for her kindness and selfless, caring abilities.
Mary Jo was a member of the Ada Business & Professional Women's Club of Ada, where she was named Woman of the Year in 2012. She was also a past president of the Ada club and a former state of Oklahoma B&PW district director. She was a life member of the Order of the Eastern Star, a former Worthy Matron of the Roff Order of the Eastern Star, a former Silver Haired Legislator and a former life member of that organization. She was a past member of the Soda Senior Advisory Board.
She and her husband, J.L., were Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Year in 1989.
Pallbearers are Toby Perkins, Eddie Easterling, Ronnie Randolph, Ron Anderson, Carl Rutledge and Gerald McAlister. Honorary bearers are Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel, the Chickasaw Tribal legislators, Bill Lance, David Hatton, Steve Gregory, Larry Heard and Robert Cheadle. Mary Jo will truly be missed by all.
To plant a tree in memory of Mary Jo Green, please visit Tribute Store.
Published on July 30, 2019
Plant a tree in memory
of Mary
Plant a tree

Obituary published in


Print Guestbook

A place to share condolences and memories.

Share your condolences and special memories.
The guestbook expires on October 28, 2019.

5 posts

Carole Davis
Aug 04, 2019
I am sad that my good friend has gone to her heavenly home. She is not suffering any more. Will miss her lovely smile. I worked in the gift shop with her at the senior site. She will always be in our hearts. God bless you.
Bryan Morris
Aug 01, 2019
Blooming Garden Basket was purchased for the family of Mary Jo Green by Bryan Morris.  Send flowers
Sue McNair
Aug 01, 2019
Mary Jo has been my treasured friend since we were young. She was such an amazing, caring, genuine friend to all who were fortunate enough to know her. She was a special blessing to all of us. As a teenager her niece, Anita, and I used to spend the night with she and J.L. and we had such fun times. They were such a great example of what it takes to make a loving, lasting marriage. Their love and devotion was a wonderful example and inspiration to all who knew them. I spoke with her recently and knew she was struggling with health issues but it was a shock to hear that we have lost this beautiful lady. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family. We will all miss her. May she... rest in peace.Read more
Gene Nashoba Thompson
Aug 01, 2019
Mary Jo has always been one my heroes and a geat personal friend so gave me wonderful advice and support! All Chickasaws will miss her!
YellowHand (Jef Gardner)
Jul 31, 2019
I met Mary Jo some years back and she told me much about her family going back to original enrollees. We even had part of her family story published. Fascinating Lady, always so kind to me and she will always be remembered in my home.
My condolences to her family and so many friends. I am missing her already.