Nina Elizabeth Siegenthaler Hager of Dogwood Creek Assisted Living in Muskogee, passed away Saturday, January 5th, 2013, at Pleasant Valley Nursing Home while recovering from a recent fall. Mrs. Hager was 88.
She was born the 2nd child of four, on October 8, 1924, in Boynton, OK, to Irvin E. Siegenthaler and Florence L. White. Nina grew up at Council Hill, OK, helping to raise her younger siblings on their parent’s farm. She had said that during that time she wanted nothing from the Lord but a piano and a baby sister. She happily was given both. She attended school in Wainwright, OK, graduating in 1942, where her favorite subjects had been shorthand, typing and agriculture, or as she put it, “How to judge cows.”
But it was during the summer of 1940, when at the age of 15, that Nina first met the love of her life, Fred Eugene Hager. Fred was working during that summer for one of her neighbors, and it was while he was drawing water from a well that their eyes first met, striking a spark that later produced a marriage of 52 years.
Yet after that summer, Nina did not hear much from Fred until 1942, after he had graduated from Stillwell high school and was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. It was then that she received a Christmas card from him and their relationship blossomed. Farm life was then filled for Nina, with anxiously listening to the radio for World War II news and reading censured letters from her future husband and two enlisted brothers. It was not until 1945, after Fred’s tour of duty was completed, that he returned home and they were married in Muskogee.
Although Nina had some college, the bulk of her life was spent as a dedicated homemaker for her husband and their subsequent four daughters and one son, though she also spent a time in the early forties working as a secretary for the Sever’s Hotel in Muskogee.
It was during her early marriage, that Mrs. Hager was instrumental in helping her husband, a school teacher, administrator, and once a Muskogee City Councilman, with student activities at West Jr. High School in Muskogee. Yet for Nina, an accomplished seamstress and homemaker, whose skills clothed and fed her children through those early years of struggle so common to beginning families, life was about compassion and love, her home, her family, and her faith in God.
Ada, Muskogee, Warner and Tahlequah all were home during their long marriage, with the bulk of their time being spent in Muskogee where the oldest four children were primarily reared, and then on a small farm outside of Tahlequah, where Fred worked and eventually retired from Northeastern State University. It was there in 1982 they suffered their greatest heartbreak with the loss of their youngest teenage daughter, Lodelia, to a car accident. Finally, they were parted by Fred’s death in 1997 and Nina eventually moved back to Muskogee to be nearer to her large family that she so loved and cherished.
Mrs. Hager was a member of Muskogee’s First Assembly of God and is survived by her children, Carolyn and Fred Burks of Okmulgee, Fred and Brenda Hager of Muskogee, Nina and Mickey Landers of Grove, Diana and Raymond Lewis of Muskogee, by her sister, Lois Ann Allen and husband, Joe Allen of Muskogee, sister-in-law, Pat Siegenthaler of Muskogee, and sister-in-law, Grace Siegenthaler of Arlington, Texas, as well as 12 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, etc., who all loved her dearly.
Nina was preceded in death by her parents, Irvin and Florence Siegenthaler, her brothers, Jim and Tom Siegenthaler, husband, Fred E. Hager and daughter, Lodelia Ann Hager.
Services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, January 9th, at Muskogee First Assembly of God, 3100 Gulick St., with Rev Steve Rose officiating. Graveside burial service will be following at 1:00 pm, Fort Gibson National Cemetery, Ft. Gibson, under the direction of Cornerstone Funeral Service.
Pallbearers will be grandsons: Lance Jayne, Cooper Jayne, Hager Jayne, Skipper Lewis, Jake Burks and Chad Lundberg.
Honorary pallbearers are granddaughters: Stephanie Baughman, Beth Schnell, Cindy Villafranca, Francie Lundburg, Tiffany Jayne, Lucinda Jayne and Brooke Burks. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 NE 13th, OKC, Ok. 73104, or @ omrf.org.; or a favorite charity in lieu of flowers.
Funeral services are under the direction of Cornerstone Funeral Home and Crematory, 1830 North York Street, Muskogee, Oklahoma. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.cornerstoneofmuskogee.com