Funeral services for Dennis Jearl Yoakum, Sr., 96, were held at 10 a.m. Friday, June 7, 2019 at the Wilson-Little Funeral Home Chapel. Services were under the direction of the Wilson-Little Funeral Home in Purcell.
Mr. Yoakum, an Oklahoma educator, passed away on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at the Norman Veterans Center in Norman, Okla.
He was born on Oct. 20, 1922, the third of six children born to pre-statehood natives, Dennis A. and Velma (Jaye) Yoakum, three miles south of Rosedale, Okla. Proud of his heritage, he was the grandson of Martin and Laura (Miller) Yoakum and John M. and Mattie (Dobyns) Jaye.
A 1940 graduate of Rosedale High School, he left Oklahoma to work in the grape vineyards and walnut groves on the Fuller Ranch in California. By Christmas of 1940 he had returned to Rosedale and to his high school sweetheart, Hazel. He enrolled at OAMC, now OSU, in 1941, and began working that summer for Wilson and Company in Oklahoma City. He wed the love of his life, Hazel Cathryn Whitfield, on March 14, 1942 in Purcell, Okla.
On December 16, 1942 he entered the Army Air Force serving three years as a radio repairmen and airborne radar technician, in the 1073rd Signal Corps, during WWII in North Africa, Italy and Corsica. He was honorably discharged on November 17, 1945 and enlisted as a Sgt. serving in the Active Reserves for four years. In 1949, courtesy of the GI Bill, he was able to earn a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Education from Central State College, now UCO, Edmond, Okla., in 1952.
That fall he began teaching junior and senior high math and coaching in Loyal Public School, Kingfisher Co., Okla. After completing his Masters Degree in Education in 1954 he received his Administrative Degree in 1955 from Phillips University, Enid, Okla. That same year he accepted a position in Purcell at Mary Simpson Elementary School as Principal and sixth grade teacher. Retiring as the Purcell Middle School Principal, after 36 years as an educator, he became McClain Co. Superintendent of Schools until 1985. Upon retirement he devoted his time to raising cattle and hay while maintaining and improving the Yoakum home place, on Indian Allotment land farmed by his father and grandfather, Martin Miller Yoakum.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his infant daughter, Ellen Jearldene, born on April 25, 1943 and died on April 26, 1943; five siblings, Harold Yoakum, Geneva Wahoma Blackwell, Dennisteen VanWagner Murray and infant twin siblings, a girl, Frankie Vandale, and a boy, Bland Dale; his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Hugh and Beulah Whitfield, longtime Rosedale residents, and his niece, Gayle Yoakum Dyer.
Survivors include his devoted, beloved wife of 77 years, Hazel; three children, Jane Evans and her husband, Doug, of Edmond, Okla., Donna Giauque and her husband, Scott, of Plano, Texas, and Denny Yoakum and his wife, Donna, of Commerce, Texas; six grandchildren, Eden Moore, Cameron Menghini, Kyle Giauque, Geoffrey Giauque, Catherine Pineda and Caitlin Yoakum; 11 great-grandchildren, Whitney, Maddie and Ainsley Moore, Frankie, Henry and Samantha Menghini, Mary Kate, Travis and Harley Giauque and Jack Roman and Hazel Jo Pineda; brothers-in-law, H.T. (Dessie Lee) and Max Whitfield; one niece and four nephews.
He had been a member and Sunday school teacher of the Purcell First Baptist Church since 1955 and supported various educational, civic and military organizations.
The family expresses deepest appreciation to the Memory Care Unit E staff at the Norman VA Center for their loving care and the Rev. Wayne Brown for his visitations.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation, 1268 North Interstate Drive, Norman, OK 73070.
Online condolences may be made at wilsonlittle.com.