Linda "Dianne" Barker Harrold drifted gently and peacefully to heaven on December 11, 2021 at the age of 70 years old with her daughter, MeLinda, and granddaughter, Mackenzie, at her side. She was welcomed home by her parents, Bill and Betty Barker, her brother, Billy Barker, and her daughter, Angela Jones.
Dianne was born on April 20, 1951 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was raised in Stilwell, Oklahoma. She was a 1969 graduate of Stilwell High School. Dianne became a single mother in the early 1970s before child support laws existed. At any given time, she worked at least two jobs simultaneously to support her daughters. After overcoming many personal obstacles, Dianne enrolled in college and graduated with a social work degree from Northeastern State University. She joined the founding mothers of Help-In-Crisis on their quest to protect victims of domestic violence and used her own tragic experience as fuel for helping others. As an advocate for these victims, she saw the inadequacies for victims' rights and was determined to make a difference. Dianne applied to law school, and against all odds, was accepted to several prominent schools but chose to stay close to home so her daughters' lives would not have to be uprooted. In 1987 Dianne graduated from the University of Tulsa College of Law which launched her lifelong career.
While working as an assistant district attorney Dianne made a bold decision to throw her hat in the ring for District Attorney. Once again, against all odds, Dianne defeated three male opponents and became one of the first Native American women to serve as District Attorney in Oklahoma and, to date, is the only woman to serve as DA of District 27, the greatest district in the State according to Dianne. If you had the privilege of working with her, you immediately became family. She would remember your birthday, your spouse's name and most likely could name all of your children. She made you feel important no matter your position.
Dianne continued advocating for victims across Indian Country serving in various roles for multiple tribes including her own tribe, the Cherokee Nation. She was a judge, professor, mentor, advocate, trailblazer and, when necessary, a hell raiser. The recognition and awards she has received over the years are too vast to list but a quick google search will tell you she was extraordinary.
Of all the accolades she has received and all the titles she has held, the most important to her were the titles of "Mother" and "Granna". Dianne's daughters were the reason she worked tirelessly for a better life, instilling in them qualities of strength and perseverance. When they were in grade school she woke them up every morning playing the piano and singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" at the top of her lungs. Every year on their birthday she would call them and tell them about the day they were born.
Dianne loved to travel and cherished the memories she made traveling to Alaska with her grandsons, Foster, Logan, Spencer and Wyatt, and taking her granddaughters, Lindsey and Mackenzie, to her favorite place- the beach!
Dianne believed every day was worth celebrating and giving gifts brought her immense joy. She even got pulled over by the police for suspected driving under the influence because she was trying to wrap a present while driving. Most people never even knew 4th of July greeting cards existed until they met Dianne. Her laugh was infectious and when she got really tickled she would cross her legs and cackle until she could barely breathe. She loved music from the sixties and even in her last days her face would light up when she heard a familiar song.
Dianne's legacy will live on in her daughters, MeLinda Barker and Leah Pickett; her thirteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren plus a special little one on the way. She will be deeply missed by a host of friends and family, and her best friend, Pam Moore, who shared a long list of mischievous adventures with Dianne and is the keeper of all of her secrets.
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