Dawn Anita Plumlee was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma on January 3, 1942 to Joe Dexter and Laverna Priscilla (Ewing) Diffie. She passed away at her home in Alma with her loving family at her side on April 19, 2021 at the age of 79.
A memorial service is being planned for a future date and will be held at Whitt Funeral Home.
Dawn Anita lit up a room with her big smile and sparkle in her eye. She would fill the room with sunshine when she delighted you in song. She loved deeply in all the facets of her life, and there were many.
Her first love she discovered for horses began at the early age of 6 when she was privileged enough to get her first Pinto pony, Prontona, right off the Texas plains. They shared life together for 32 years. She rode the mustang and ranch horses, race horses, quarter horses and walkers; she could whisper to them all. She was generally accredited as the best cowpoke in the roundup. Dawn Anita then met the love of her life and soul mate, Jerry Plumlee, at the sweet innocent age of 15. At 16 she left a note on her pillow one morning and got on a bus to travel across the country to Seattle, WA where they wed. They shared 63 wonderful and blessed years together, an unsurpassable pair. She wrote a book about their life journey entitled One More Last Chance. This book includes one of their most epic journeys together when they decided to trek on horseback, in the rain, from Antlers, OK to FanFair in Nashville, TN, a trip that would take 24 therapeutic days. Dawn Anita also wrote numerous songs over the years about her beloved Jerry.
Dawn Anita’s other loves, music and entertaining, also began at an early age. She started singing at the age of 7 in front of a crowd on Saturday nights with family and friends. She recorded her first album at age 30 and completed her last at age 79. Dawn Anita turned down an RCA contract when her children were in school but she never stopped pursuing her dream of making a mark in country music; after all, her Mom always told her she was born with a songbird in her throat, and boy did she take that to heart. She has gained worldwide acclaim as a country and western singer, songwriter and performer. She has performed with numerous country stars and received the Female Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year at the Oklahoma Opry. She has recorded professionally for 50 years with 17 albums in her repertoire, the last album having 5 songs recorded just 2 months before we said so long. About 4 years ago, Dawn Anita discovered social media. Just one click of a button and BOOM, Dawn Anita began a circle of musical magic. She came in contact with DJ’s, fellow performers, promoters, listeners and fans, many of who she was able to meet and who also became her very close friends. The floodgates opened up and people everywhere, all over the world, began to enjoy and appreciate her music. She has since won Western Female Vocalist of the Year at the AWA and is nominated this year for 14 awards. The joy that all of you brought to Dawn Anita’s life, each and every time you played her songs, cannot be described in words. She made every effort to listen to the stations and be available for interviews and her life was so much more complete because you all loved her music and style. Among her many accomplishments she was also crowned Ms. Senior Oklahoma in 2017 and carried on a love and talent for drawing and painting that she received from her mom.
Dawn Anita found her career niche when Pat Sullivan hired her as a legal assistant. They were an incomparable team for 45 years. They became very close friends as well, along with Pat’s wife, Charlene, and the entire Leach & Sullivan family. One of her lifelong friends and coworkers recently described her as “Larger than life, in both music and the legal profession.” Another referred to her as a Legend, in both music and the legal field.
Dawn Anita and her family made a beautiful picture. Her love was unconditional beyond measure. She loved family gatherings with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren at the ranch playing games, laughing, everyone singing in the music room, playing basketball in the driveway, watching the kids ride horses, picking wildflowers for Mother’s Day and enjoying home cooked meals. Many summers included the annual trip to Caddo Gap where family showed up in droves from all over the United States. To Dawn Anita, family extended beyond biological and there were a vast array of special people she was proud to call family. Her capacity for giving and earning the love of others is unparalleled. She had such compassion, openness, honesty and fairness and truly believed people were all equal. No one who ever heard her infectious laugh could doubt the intensity of joy or fervor for life.
Dawn Anita was an overachiever in the best possible way. She taught us to believe in ourselves and reach for the stars in everything you do. Not only was this her advice but a perfect example of how she lived her life.
From your family, Dawn Anita, we all love you so much and were blessed to have you in our lives for all your wonderful years. Thank you for watching over us and leaving a legacy we will never forget. Until we all meet again up yonder, we want to leave you with these words from a very wise man who loved you dearly:
“Nobody sees where the invisible wind comes from, or where it goes. But we feel it blow
cool on our face, and hear the rustling of the leaves. And I will feel Aunt Dawn Anita
rustling the leaves for as long as I remember her, which will be for the rest of my life.”
Author Jeff Strickland
Preceded in death by her brother, Joe Riley Diffie, she is survived by her husband, Gerald “Jerry” Ayvon Plumlee; children: Jerry Don Plumlee and Priscilla Dawn Plumlee; grandchildren: William Dexter Leyrer, Rachel Jonae Speegle and spouse Justin; Joshua Garrett DeArmond, Lucas Arlan DeArmond, Danielle Christine Plumlee, Jarrod Travis Plumlee, and Shannon Ashley Plumlee; great grandchildren: Emma Dawn Speegle, Ian Justin Speegle, AJ William Speegle, and Reminton Harvey DeArmond; sister, Priscilla Ann Diffie-Couch and spouse Mickey; and her nephew who was like her son, Jeff Strickland and spouse Diana.
Online condolences can be made to the family at www.whittfh.com.