Florence Lavena (Wilson) Kienzle was born on October 13, 1932, the only child of Esther Kirk Koonce Wilson and Charley Henry Wilson in Calumet, Oklahoma. She passed away on March 15, 2020, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was 87.
Florence was born in Calumet and then moved to Stella, Oklahoma, where she attended a one room schoolhouse. At about the age of ten, the family relocated to Moore, Oklahoma, where she graduated from high school. She took a job as a telephone operator in the summer before enrolling in college. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and worked toward her Master’s Degree in Psychology at the University of Oklahoma.
A committed teacher, she enjoyed the challenges and joys of engaging with gifted and talented children as well as those with special needs.
While at the University of Oklahoma, Florence met Kenneth Kienzle, Jr.. Kenneth had just graduated from OU with his Bachelors in History & Science/Geology. Florence and Kenneth married on December 21, 1956 in Norman, Oklahoma. Following their nuptials, the two moved to the Perryton, Texas, for Kenneth’s geological work as a District Manager for CORECO, Inc. Returning from the Texas Panhandle, they joined the Shawnee, Oklahoma, community where Kenneth’s parent’s lived and he attended college in Oklahoma City and Norman to become an attorney.
Florence was an elementary teacher at Krouch Elementary School in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. She also taught first and second grades at Faith 7 School in Shawnee, Oklahoma. It is in Shawnee they loved spending nights together in their bowling league or playing bridge. Their days would oftentimes include tennis and golfing outings. They also were committed to working in civic organizations to improve the quality of life for others. Florence enjoyed her time in the faith community at Wesley United Methodist Church in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She loved to learn about and integrate what she learned from a variety of religions and spiritual practices that she studied throughout her life. Her love of reading and learning was something that she passed on to all of her children as well. It is in Shawnee that they created a beautiful home and welcomed four children: Kathryn Bentley, Karol Olten, Karl Kienzle and Kay Kienzle-Harris. An avid reader, Florence was patient and open to new ideas. She liked astrology, palmistry, crystals, her collection of rocks and Al-Anon.
She embraced change and loved music, learning to play the piano and organ from her piano lessons at her childhood church. Kenneth bought her a large church organ when their children were young. She enjoyed talking with friends at Red Hat Society events. She would go on walks in the mall. She also loved singing and would still be found bouncing her foot to songs at the Tulsa Jewish Retirement and Health Center. She went to trivia nights. She played bingo. Her grandchildren are thankful for the time they shared with Florence. In particular, there were coffee filled mornings at First Watch in Tulsa enjoying breakfast together. She was funny and would make outings memorable. She enjoyed talking with people and those conversations will be sorely missed. Her attitude, even in declining health, stayed positive and loving. She was comfortable and at peace during each stage of her transitions.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Kienzle, Jr., her parents, Esther Kirk (Koonce) Wilson and Charley Henry Wilson, and her sons-in-law: Everett Olten and Robert Bentley.
Florence is survived by: Children, Kathryn Bentley Karol Olten Karl Kienzle and his wife, Tess. Kay Kienzle-Harris and her husband, Scott. grandchildren, Sean Bentley Laura Bentley Joshua Rogers and his wife, Stephanie. Lauren Olten Megan Peixotto Zoe Harris great- grandchildren, Emerson Rogers Guthrie Rogers her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: John and Barbara Kienzle and family James and Nancy Biglane and family and many cousins and friends.
An announcement of services will be made in the future following the restrictions amid the current coronavirus concerns.