She was born June 29, 1933 in Quanah, Texas, to Mayme and Don Drake. After graduating from Quanah High School in the spring of 1950, she married Earl Abernathy in August of that same year.
She was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Altus where she was very active in Sunday school and many other numerous activities in the church. She was also a member of the National Association of Wheat Growers, Oklahoma Wheat Grower's Association, and the Oklahoma Angus Association. She was a Past President of the Eroleathion Club, member of the Shortgrass Arts and Humanities, and a member of the National Cattlewomen's Association for 40 years. She was named an Honorary Chapter Farmer by the FFA. In 1988 she was the High Plains Journal Agriculture Woman of the Year for the Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico region. She was heavily involved with the Altus FFA Chapter and the Ag Youth of Jackson County.
Sweet Pea enjoyed being involved in the family's farming and ranching operation. She was a long time advocate for Agriculture in the State of Oklahoma and enjoyed being involved with many agriculture groups and activities throughout the years.
Sweet Pea's greatest love, next to her family, was her enthusiastic devotion to the Democatic cause since 1966 when she went to her first convention. She held many position of leadership in her local Democratic women's group and worked in the local headquarters for candidates prior to elections. Her leadership positions include: Jackson County Democrat Co-Chair in 1967; Jackson County Chair since 1975; Delegate to the National Democratic Convention in 1988 and 1996; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Vice-president for the Oklahoma Federation Democratic Women; President of the 4th District Democrat Women in 1974 and 1990; Recipient of the Outstanding Federation Democrat Women of the Year in 1988. She hosted many receptions in her home for Democrat hopefuls including David Hall, George Nigh, David Boren, Jim Townsend, Pauline Gore, David Walters, and Billy Carter (representing President Jimmy Carter), Governor Henry, and many others. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Democratic Party Activist Hall of Fame in 2003. Sweet Pea's commitment went beyond her proclamation to be a Democrat. She "walked the walk".
Sweet Pea is survived by her husband, Earl; three children, Don Abernathy and wife Gayle of Altus, Marita Lane and husband Kevin of Quanah,Texas, and Tommy Abernathy and wife Kristy of Altus; nine grandchildren, Ashley Abernathy, Braddock Abernathy, Abby Abernathy, Dr. Lance Lane and wife Lauren, Grant Lane, Alex Lane, Lindsey Dorton and husband Kyle, Lori Miller and husband Boone, and Reed Abernathy; and one great-grandson, Kamden Dorton.
Services have been scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday at First Baptist Church of Altus with Dr. Jeff Moore officiating. Interment will follow in the Altus City Cemetery under the direction of Lowell-Tims Funeral Home.
The family will receive guests from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday evening at Lowell-Tims Chapel.
Memorials may be made to the Western Oklahoma State College Agriculture Department.
On-line tributes can be made to the family at www.lowell-tims.com