Verna Mae Player was born in Henryetta, Oklahoma, on May 30, 1927, to Willie Brooks and Leola Wilkerson Brooks. She was the only child. At an early age she went to live with her mother’s sister, Willie Mae Calton (Zollie) in Clinton, Oklahoma. She grew up during racial segregation. In the 9th grade all black students had to travel 120 miles daily round trip in order to receive a high school education. In 1946, she married Grant Player. She was active at Excelsior school where her children attended as a home room mother. Excelsior was an all black school. Mama Player made sure all of her children attended college because she knew education was the key.
She accepted Christ at an early age and attended Southeast Church of Christ in Clinton, Oklahoma. Verna did domestic work. She pulled and chopped cotton. She worked in a retail store steaming clothes. She worked at St. Anthony Hospital as a housekeeper. Mama Player took pride in every job that she worked and did her best.
Verna had a passion for crafts and sewing. She loved to redesign her wardrobe into her own design. If you were not careful she would take and redesign you. She redesigned her hats, jewelry, clothing, shoes, etc… She loved her bling fashions. Her passion continues in her daughter Shirley.
Verna later moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her last two children to be near the sons where she attended Garden Oaks Church of Christ. She visited her daughter Shirley in Germany and later lived with her in Killeen, Texas. She later moved to Dallas, Texas, where her daughter Delesia lived. There they became members of Metro Church of Christ, now known as M.E.T.R.O. Christ’s Church. Verna had a love for the women’s ministry, and she loved supporting the activities of the youth. After having quadruple bypass heart surgery Verna lived with her son Warren in Cedar Hill, Texas, until she was called home to Glory.
Verna peacefully departed this life on February 28, 2020. She was preceded in death by her father, Willie Brooks; mother, Leola Wilkerson Brooks; aunt, Willie Mae Calton (Zollie); 3 sons, Lyle Player, Glenn Player, Lonell Player, and 2 grandsons.
She leaves to cherish 3 sons, Paul Player (Corinne) of Winnipeg, Canada, Keith Player of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Warren Player of Cedar Hill, Texas; 2 daughters, Shirley Quick of Killeen, Texas and Delesia Graham (Robert) of Cedar Hill, Texas; 12 grandchildren; 17 great grandchildren, numerous of other children that she called her grandchildren, along with a host of cousins, family members and friends.
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