Janie Lucretia Harkey-Roberts
Janie Lucretia Harkey-Roberts was the daughter of Oklahoma Pioneers John H. and Jeanetta (Harvison) Brook. The youngest of seven children, she was born at home northeast of Okemah. Her first school, Mountain Grove, was a one-room country school, to which she rode her horse “across the pasture” two and one half miles from home. She entered Noble Elementary School in fourth grade, where the beloved Mrs. Mae Noble was principal, and stayed with her oldest sister’s family (Jim and Jeanetta Kezer) during the school week, going home on weekends taking one or more friends; they were always welcome. In high school, she was active in plays, musicals, and debate team, graduating in 1934. She attended Okemah’s Junior College and Hills Business School in Oklahoma City. After her mother’s death, she moved to Santa Barbara, California to live with her sister, Virginia, and worked for Income Tax Consultants and Public Accountants.
In 1939, she and Huie D. Harkey were married in Okemah and moved to the Panama Canal Zone when he was called into the Air Force active duty. After World War II was declared, all military wives with children were evacuated; however, those without children who chose to stay had to work. She became an air traffic message Teletype Operator with the 16th Fighter Squadron at Albrookfield, C.Z. – where she worked until her husband was transferred, when she returned to Okemah and helped with the family business (Harkey’s 5 and 10 store).
After World War II, she and Huie built their home in Okemah and became parents of Laura Jane and Huie D. The children were 12 and 5 years old when she became a widow in 1962. The following year, she sold the store and remained at home while the children were growing up. During those years, she became a Den-mother, a PTA member, attended gun safety classes, swimming classes, school plays, band concerts, drag races, rock concerts, fishing trips through high school and beyond. At 58 years of age, she decided to “go back to work” and worked for the OK State Bureau of Investigation and the OK Dept of Rehabilitation until retirement.
She was a member of the Okemah Presbyterian Church, serving as Sunday School teacher, Clerk of the Session, and was Elder on the Board when the church was deeded to the City of Okemah to be used as a Community Center. She was a Past President of the American Legion Auxiliary, and was Committee Chairman in 1973 for their now annual “Pioneer Day Breakfast.” A Lifetime Member of the Okfuskee Museum and Historical Society, she served as Chairman of the Quilt Shows of 1988 and 1991, as well as the following Art and Needlecraft Exhibits. She was a member of the First Families of the Twin Territories and also of En Avant Study Club. After her retirement, she married Dr. Haskell Roberts in 1995. Originally from Okemah, Dr. Roberts practiced medicine in Denver, PA, where they lived for seven years.
She is survived by her son, H. D. Harkey and his wife Penny Harkey, Houston, Texas; her daughter, Laura Jane Harkey and her late husband, Jerry Moore, Oxnard, California; her granddaughter, Elizabeth Harkey Goedde and her husband, Aaron Goedde, Houston, Texas; her great-grandchildren, Rhett, Mason, and Ellie Goedde, Houston, Texas; and many wonderful nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers and sisters; her first husband, H.D. Harkey, Sr.; her second husband, Dr. Haskell Roberts; and her beloved grandson, Austin Brook Harkey.
Services will be under the direction of Parks Brothers Funeral Home, Okemah, Oklahoma.