Born Sunday, March 1, 1931
Died Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Frank Warren Lake
March 1, 1931 – November 26, 2019
Commercial Wildlife Breeder
Born Sunday, March 1, 1931, the only child of Otto J. Lake & Lillian A. (Weddle) Lake, at home in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Frank went home to heaven for his final healing on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was 88 years, 8 months & 25 days old.
He attended grade school & was a Boy Scout at Whittier Elementary in Muskogee, & then moved to Vallejo, California in 1939 where he attended Benjamin Franklin Junior High School & graduated 1949 Central High School in Muskogee. During school he worked at Victory Theatre & at his uncle’s Ole’s grocery, Weddle’s Food Stores. He lettered in every sport in school. He boxed, played football, basketball, baseball & ran track. In the 10th & 11th grades he set 4 track records in California that were still standing into the late 1970’s.
His childhood church was Calvary Baptist in Muskogee & was a member at Shiloh Baptist for 52 years. There he was a children’s Sunday School teacher, Deacon; and General Contractor on Shiloh’s Building Committee & a member of the Baptist Brotherhood. When Shiloh closed, he returned his membership to Calvary in Muskogee. He recently became a member at Little Coweta Indian Baptist Church in Stidham, Oklahoma. He was involved with a group known as The Nail Benders that went on special mission trips, building and remodeling churches.
In Wagoner, Oklahoma Frank married in 1950 to Sandra Madelynne (Wofford). At age 18 he was employed at Corning Glass Works as a Millwright. Frank and Sandra began housekeeping in Muskogee and had three children, Mark, Teri & Kristi. Self-taught as an upholsterer he began working for Fred Jones Ford, then later at Spartan Airlines in Tulsa. He built the family home in 1969 that he lived in at the time of his passing. Frank & Sandra were married for 21 years. During this time, they owned a caged egg operation L&S (Lake & Stanley) Eggs which supplied eggs for hospitals & most of the restaurants in town. They also started L&S Upholstery in 1953, with five employees. He upholstered many of the automobiles that were displayed at the Jimmy Leake Antique Auto Museum. He later became a full-time cattle rancher, specializing in Appaloosa Horses. He was the President of the Sooner Appaloosa Horse Club & worked with the kids of the Muskogee Round Up Club Drill Team making their costumes & working on the precision skills of the riders & their horses. He successfully participated in many horse shows & ran one of his Appaloosa horses, Okie Fenokee on the dirt race track in Sallisaw.
Frank graduated in 1969 from Bacone College School of Nursing with honors & went to work at Muskogee General Hospital. In 1985 he retired after 16 years, having worked there in Intensive Care/Coronary Care as Nursing Supervisor and in the Emergency Room as Nursing Supervisor. He went to work at Bacone College as a Professor of Nursing.
Seeing the country being fenced in & parceled off Frank deduced that open range hunting was going to become scarce. He pioneered the way for Oklahomans to own private hunting farms. While still working at the hospital he purchased 900 acres in Porum, Oklahoma to begin the first hunting preserve in the state of Oklahoma, Duchess Creek Hunting Preserve. This was a pioneering operation as there were no state laws at that time since it was the first in the state. It was a family operated business. Duchess Creek offered wild boar, javelina, rams & many other exotic game animals in a wild, but fenced setting. He also owned Duchess Creek Taxidermy. For over 24 years people hunted with Frank from all over the world. He had animals such as buffalo, aoudads, zebra, elk, etc. In the early 1970s he began dealing in whitetail deer.
Frank married Alice Faye (Crow) Purdom in 1980 at Sebastian County, Arkansas. She had four children, Donna, Debra, Darryl & Darren. Alice began working with him to run the preserve & cook for the hunters while holding down her own full-time job.
Selling the Hunting Preserve in 1995 they moved back to Muskogee to the home he had built there & began full time ranching of Watusi cattle & whitetail deer at Lake’s Whitetails. Focusing his breeding efforts on growing antlers fit for the Boone and Crockett system, his deer became sought after by other breeders & game & hunting preserves. He owned piebald and rare white (not albino) deer. He was a charter member & a Board of Director member of Whitetails of Oklahoma. Frank was the man to call if you wanted to know about the health & wellbeing of whitetail deer; the proverbial deer whisperer. He served as a Deer Consultant to other breeders throughout the U.S. He formulated a specialized fawn feed to grow huge antlers & was on the Board of Directors when it went into production by a feed company. He was a Deer Value Estimator for insurance companies trying to value & insure whitetails.
One of his pet deer, Rosie, starred in Robert Redford’s Sundance Film, ‘Doe Boy’ with Frank noted in the credits as Deer Wrangler. They also worked together on several commercials that were aired in the area. He always welcomed Boy Scout troops, & anyone interested in looking at & talking deer talk. He was the main spokesperson who got many of the later deer breeders interested & started in the deer business, which brought many dollars into the Oklahoma economy.
Frank and Alice were married 39 years. His main interest in life was his relationship with God & his family was of highest priority. He loved all the kids & put effort into knowing & supporting them. His main goal was for them to know his Lord. He was known & loved for his good humor & extremely quick wit. We enjoyed our efforts at trying to stump him with strange questions as he was known as the family’s walking encyclopedia. Frank was a jack of all trades and a master at many of them. His energetic, dynamic personality will be sorely missed.
Now joyfully reunited, Frank was preceded in death by his Father, Otto J. Lake; Mother, Lillian A. (Weddle) Lake Stanley Kastler; & son, Mark Alan Lake.
He is survived by his wife, Alice F. Lake of Muskogee; his daughters, Teri Garner & Kristi Gross; son in law, Gary Gross; & daughter in law, Barbie (Pugh) Lake.
Stepchildren: Donna Wilson, Debra Adams, & Darryl Purdom.
Grandchildren: Dustin & Jamie Tidwell, Brandie & Loren Brashier, Lance Gross, Steven Gross; Shannon & Troy Tracy, Zac Lake, Casey Lake, Carrie & Brian Cooper, & B.J. & Annie Lake.
Great-Grandchildren: Jadie Schmidt, Weston Tidwell, Kadie Tidwell, Raelynn Lake, Rachel Church, Talon Tracy, Nathan Henry, Billy Cooper, & Emily Cooper.
Great-Great Grandchildren: Gracelynn Moran, Kolton Moran, Kennedy Moran & Everleigh Dill.
A celebration of Frank’s life will be 2:00pm Monday, December 2, 2019 at Cornerstone Funeral with Rev. Dustin Tidwell and Rev. Larry Lashley officiating. Interment will follow at Greenhill Cemetery with Blake Wilson, Weston Tidwell, B.J. Lake, Loren Brashier, Lance Gross, Steven Gross, and Darryl Purdom serving as Pallbearers. Honorary Pallbearers will be Lloyd McCarty, Joe Strickland, David Taylor, Zac Lake, and Casey Lake.
Funeral services are under the direction of Cornerstone Funeral Home, 1830 N. York Street, Muskogee, OK. Condolences may be made to the family online at www.cornerstoneofmuskogee.com.
Family Visitation: 2:00pm-4:00pm Sunday, December 1, 2019 at Cornerstone Funeral Home