Springfield woman celebrates 90th at Roaring River
Family travels to park for Ensor's birthday since 2004
For 11 years, Loene Ensor, of Springfield, has invited her family to Roaring River State Park to celebrate her birthday, and this year's celebration is extra special.
"Roaring River is a beautiful place, and it is not expensive to stay there," said Ensor, who turns 90 on Sunday. "It's just a good family time to get together."
Ensor has four children: Larry Ensor, of Quinlan, Texas; Bob Ensor, of Springfield; Jay Ensor, of Bella Vista, Ark.; and Gayla Sullivan, of Dallas. She also has 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Family members will come to the park on Thursday and leave after breakfast on Sunday, Esnor said. The family members go down a water slide, swim, hike, pray, sing songs and fish.
Jay Ensor said his mom fries trout on Saturday evening.
"We try to catch enough trout for a meal, which is hard to do sometimes," he said. "She kind of gets on our case if we don't catch enough fish. We set up a deep fryer for her."
The family usually stays in tents, campers or RVs at Roaring River, Sullivan said.
"Our family has grown to the point where some of us this year are renting a few cabins at Paradise Valley," she said.
The family plans to celebrate Ensor's birthday at 6 p.m. Friday under the Paradise Valley pavilion.
"We are actually inviting my mom's relatives and acquaintances to celebrate her 90th birthday," he said.
Ensor was married to Glynn Ensor for 62 years. He died in 2002 at the age of 84.
Glynn was a B-17 ball turret gunner in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was involved in one mission, where his squadron took off from England and attacked a target over Czechoslovakia toward the end of the war.
Larry Ensor said 17 planes from his father's squadron were shot down.
Jay Ensor said he built a shadow box, containing his dad's World War II medals (which include a European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and a World War II Victory Medal), his dad's wings, his dad's Honorable Service Lapel Button, a U.S. flag, a certificate of appreciation for war service, pictures and a B-17 model airplane.
He said he plans to give the box to his mom while at the family retreat.
Loene Ensor said she grew up on a cotton farm in Lynn County, Texas, about 30 miles south of Lubbock.
"I used to haul cotton and pull cotton, run a tractor, milk cows," she said. "We had fun working. I had a brother older than me and one younger. We went to school, and we learned to work."
She said over the years, God has been good to her.
"I was saved when I was 11," she said.
After the war, her husband returned to farming.
"God called him to preach in 1953, and we went to college at Howard Payne College in Brownwood, Texas," she said.
He was a Southern Baptist preacher for over 40 years, preaching in Noel; Stella; Bethpage; Fort Leonard Wood; Spokane; Springfield; Winterset, Iowa; Preston, Iowa; Wichita, Kan.; South Coffeyville, Okla.; and Carlsbad, New Mexico.
After her husband died, Ensor said she moved from Dallas to Springfield because her son, Bob, and his wife, Dinah Ensor, lived there.
Ensor currently attends Golden Avenue Baptist Church in Springfield, where her husband used to preach. For 10 years, she has volunteered at the Grand Oak Mission Center through the Greene County Baptist Association in Springfield. Her daughter-in-law, Dinah, is the director at Grand Oak.
"It's a wonderful mission for people," she said. "It's all free."
The mission, which has over 100 volunteers, gives out food and clothing every Wednesday, she said.
This year, the theme for Loene's birthday is "heart of gold," Sullivan said.
"Our mom has a heart of gold, and we just want to celebrate her," she said.
Sullivan said her first husband, Doug Holt, died on Nov. 20, 2010. They were married for nearly 30 years. She recently remarried to Doyle Sullivan.
"This is going to be a new experience for Gayla's new husband," Ensor said. "He's coming for the first time. We're going to be looking forward to that. He's a nice guy."
Jay Ensor, who is married to Sandy Ensor, just retired after working in education for 39 years. He was a school principal for 31 years in Missouri and Arkansas.
Bob Ensor handles rental properties in Springfield. He used to work in insurance and for Consumers Markets and Mulholland Furniture in Springfield.
Larry Ensor, who is married to Beth Ensor, has been retired for about 10 years. He was the general manager and the financial officer of Fort Worth, Texas-based Fort Worth Fabrication Inc. The company builds oil field equipment and tankers.
For 12 years, Loene Ensor taught school, mainly in elementary and special education.
"Mom was my second grade school teacher at Stella," Bob Ensor said. "That was kind of unusual."
Loene Ensor said she has had a good, happy life.
"Wherever we moved to, we just made that our home," she said. "I have so much to be thankful for."