Indian Capital Technology Center counselor Beverly Wenninger Harmon was on what friends called a "trip of a lifetime" to Africa when she died on Wednesday.
ICTC Superintendent Tony Pivec confirmed Harmon's death. He said Harmon and her youngest daughter were visiting another daughter, who was doing social work in southern Africa. He said Harmon had brought supplies to help with the work.
"She and her daughters were having just a tremendous time when she passed away," Pivec said, adding that he followed her day-by-day Facebook accounts of her trip.
A selfie Harmon took against a dramatic African sunset was the last picture she shared on Facebook, said ICTC Bursar Brandi Dunback.
Colleagues and friends recalled Harmon's compassion and her smile.
Wren Stratton, instructor for the ICTC LPN training program, said Harmon "loved, loved, loved her students."
"It was so neat that she got to go to Africa," Stratton said. "It was so important for her to get to go see her daughter. All the pictures on Facebook of her and the animals — you could tell she was having the time of her life."
Harmon was an English teacher and counselor at Muskogee High School before coming to ICTC in 2012.
Retired MHS English teacher Kathy Yarberry said Harmon's smile and laugh were the first things that came to mind.
"She was the kindest, most generous, loving person," Yarberry said, adding that she knew Harmon for at least 10 years at MHS. She said Harmon had earlier taught in Boynton.
Yarberry called Harmon a tough, "self-made woman."
"She just was a hard-working, dedicated, tough gal," Yarberry said. "She smiled all the way through it."
Yarberry said Harmon's daughter, Honey Davidge, was in Mozambique working with Masana, a ministry to street boys. She said Harmon had gone there with her youngest daughter, MHS sophomore Jessie Harmon.
She said Harmon also had a son and a third daughter and was working on getting certified as a private counselor.
Pivec called Harmon a "people magnet."
"You run across people who are always giving," he said. "People seemed to be drawn to her. She had a smile I'll never forget."
You can help
A fund to help Beverly Harmon's memorial and transportation costs has been set up at Arvest Bank. To contribute, make donations care of Honey Davidge, Arvest Bank, 735 N. York St.