Debra Ivory, Smiling Owner of a Barbecue Haven, Dies at 62


This obituary is a part of a sequence about individuals who have died within the coronavirus pandemic. Examine others here.

If you opened the door to George’s Happy Hog Bar-B-Q in Oklahoma Metropolis, the aroma of pecan-smoked meat would waft out, adopted by a welcome from the proprietor, Debra Ivory: “Hey Child!” “Hey Sweetie!” “Hey Darling!”

Ms. Ivory and her son, Stephen Ivory, a former novice boxer with a short skilled profession, purchased the restaurant in 2012. Beneath the Ivorys it grew in recognition, attracting legislators from the close by State Capitol in addition to vacationers passing by means of on Interstate 40; George’s served about 160 clients a day. Ms. Ivory knew by coronary heart what most regulars wished.

“My mother was the smiling face, the one that everyone cherished — all the time used to verify everybody was taken care of,” stated Mr. Ivory, who often dealt with the grill whereas his mom labored the entrance.

Ms. Ivory died on Dec. 13 at 62 at her house within the metropolis. Her son stated the trigger was problems of the coronavirus.

Debra Kay Buckner was born in Oklahoma Metropolis on June 23, 1958, the youngest of seven youngsters of Bernice and Roscoe Buckner. Her mom was a homemaker, her father an Military veteran who detailed vehicles for a dwelling.

She attended Northwest Classen Excessive College. One buddy and former schoolmate, Fritziene Lothlen, stated she could be invited to the Ivory house for dinners of “down-home greatness.” With all the nice meals round, she stated, Ms. Ivory couldn’t fail to change into a superb cook dinner. Ms. Lothlen turned a twice-a-week common at George’s Joyful Hog.

After graduating from highschool in 1976, Ms. Ivory took programs at close by Rose State College. She was married and divorced twice. Her first husband was Wendell Huggins, and the second was Anthony Ivory. Between the 2 marriages, she was in a relationship with James Dudley, and so they had a son, Stephen, who was adopted by her second husband. After her second divorce, Ms. Ivory rekindled a relationship with Mr. Dudley that lasted till her demise.

Ms. Ivory was a financial institution teller by means of the Nineteen Nineties, coming house on a few events with tales of being robbed at gunpoint. Throughout one heist, her son stated, Ms. Ivory refused to surrender any cash and as an alternative locked the financial institution’s door in order that the robber couldn’t go away earlier than the police arrived. She later confirmed an analogous stubbornness at her restaurant, refusing to let clients go away with out receiving a form phrase from her.

Ms. Ivory, who had lengthy dreamed of proudly owning a restaurant, was working as an X-ray technician on the Oklahoma College School of Dentistry when she heard that George’s Joyful Hog Bar-B-Q, named after its founder, George Thompson, was up on the market. She took out a mortgage and cashed out a few of her 401(ok) financial savings to make the acquisition.

The Ivorys revamped the menu with recipes honed over a long time of Sunday household barbecues, and so they added Ms. Ivory’s cobblers and candy potato pie to the entrance counter alongside different desserts from native house bakers. A sister, Alice J. Hillmon, and a rotating solid of nieces and nephews additionally labored there.

In a overview in February 2020, the weekly newspaper Oklahoma Gazette described the ribs as “completely cooked,” the potato salad as “in contrast to any” (with a touch of pickle juice acidity) and the pork-flecked greens as “a revelation.”

Together with Mrs. Hillmon and Mr. Ivory, Ms. Ivory is survived by two sisters, Joann Buckner and Tanya Wisby, and a brother, Roscoe Buckner Jr.

Mr. Ivory stated he supposed to proceed the restaurant as his mom had left it.



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