Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Mary Elaine (Brooks) Dake

Mary Elaine (Brooks) Dake, 88, died comfortably in her home on Dec. 30, 2023, after battling cancer. Elaine (as she was known) was born in the Oklahoma Panhandle at Beaver, Oklahoma on April 6, 1935, to Frank and Evelyn Brooks. She was the third of four children, James Franklin Brooks, who died in infancy, Donald Fayne Brooks, her brother and Shirley, her sister.

Growing up in the Great Depression, her family endured much hardship and moved from the Oklahoma Panhandle to the opposite side of the state to a farm near Maysville, Arkansas located on the Arkansas/Oklahoma state line.

Her sister Shirley recalls "Sis took care of me because my mother and dad worked in the field. She was only 7 years old, and she'd have to take me to the field to be nursed. As a child she learned how to preserve food and canning since we didn't have electricity or a freezer."

It was here one February that Elaine was saved by the Lord and was baptized in a very cold, freshwater spring in the midst of a 'spitting snow.' Her faith in the Lord guided her life.

Due to her keen intellect she graduated in 1952, a year early, from Gravette (Arkansas) High School. Elaine then moved to Oklahoma City where she began her career in banking and, on a blind date, met the love of her life, Richard Jack Dake, whom she married on Dec. 24, 1953.

She and Jack raised two boys, Jack Jr. (born Jan. 1, 1955) and Ronald Alan (born Dec. 31, 1955), both born in the same year, which, at the time, she was not happy about. Years later when the eldest granddaughter asked her, "Grandma, did you do that on purpose?" Elaine replied, "Emily, do you think I'm stupid?" Jack described her as the smartest person he had ever known.

Elaine and Jack celebrated 66 years of happy marriage until Jack's death on May 6, 2020, from a 13 year long battle with Alzheimer's. Her faithful ministry to and caring for her husband during those years was a true example of love and Godliness.

Fortunately, she and her sister, Shirley, lived next door to each other during Elaine's final years. According to Shirley, "Sis and I believed that God planned that we would live next to each other. Who would have thought we'd wind up as widows? We did things together, checked up on each other daily, and spent time together. Sis was a really neat sister."

Elaine was a true trailblazer in her career. Elaine's impeccable work ethic, patience, and diligence paid off as she climbed the corporate ladder at First National Bank in downtown OKC, becoming the first ever female Vice President of the bank. A proud moment for Elaine, she purchased a gold ring to celebrate her success, recognizing that, for many years, she was limited by social norms and gender.

She recounted to grandchildren that she had to train many of her bosses, all men, who continued to advance around her at vastly greater salaries. Elaine received several awards for her career achievements.

Elaine was an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and active community member. She and husband Jack owned several properties including business interests. Elaine worked actively for Cleveland County Republican events and campaigns.

She was a proud member and officer of the Oklahoma Home and Community Education organization and served at the Cleveland County fair. She was crucial in organizing and keeping active her high school class reunions, and in 2022, attended her 70th High School reunion marching in a parade with the remaining class members.

Elaine considered her most important relationship to be with the Lord. She led her family to become believers. Elaine was a member of Wilmont Place Baptist Church for 15 years, and after moving to the Norman area in 1970, joined and served the Lord at Blue Lakes Baptist Church in Norman where she was a member until her death.

In recent years, due to health issues, she attended Lakeview Baptist. Elaine was a dear friend and caretaker to many. Her servant leadership embodied being the "hands and feet" of Jesus, and her example and generosity inspired family and friends alike.

Elaine's passions included spending time with family, Church and Bible studies, genealogy, finding "quality" items at garage sales, quilting, sewing, canning, ceramic doll painting, gardening, competing at the State Fair, playing dominoes, traveling, and hating squirrels because they stole pecans from her trees; she called them 'little devils.'

According to family and friends, she made the best dinner rolls, pies, and briskets, and possessed the rare and impressive talent of being able to break an apple in half with just her bare hands due to the many years of hand‑milking on the farm. She had a practicality, quick wit, and one of the greatest laughs: seeing her laughing until she cried when she found something funny could fill any room with even more laughter.

Elaine and Jack hosted many annual family reunions that often had 75 or more attend. Family and friends game nights were held often, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week. Being surrounded by family was a matter of great joy in her life.

Elaine is survived by her sister, Shirley Vokes; sons, Jack Jr. and Ronald; daughters‑in‑law, Susie & Annette; seven grandchildren and their spouses: Emily & Kyle Farnham, Laura & Scott Anthony, Clint & Jana Dake, Jacqueline & David Greggs, Kyle & Bronte Dake, Meredith & Larry O'Connor, and Christopher Dake; and 12 great‑grandchildren: McKenna & Annie Anthony, David Farnham, Layla, Asher & Beau Dake, Charlotte & Henry Dake, Abby Greggs, and Quinn, Veronica, Christian, and E. J. O'Connor; nieces Debra Spears, Julie Reeder, Michelle Sharples, and nephew Wayne Cokeley. Also 'daughter of the heart' Jamey Allen.

Editor's Note: I wish you all could have known Elaine. She was an amazing, generous and fun person. She will be greatly greatly missed for now. --Julie


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 07/18/2024 20:09