Born Thursday, January 27, 1938
Died Thursday, September 10, 2020
On January 27, 1938, a bouncing baby girl was born in Blackjack, Oklahoma to Elbert O. Sanders and Lorena (Moses) Sanders. She joined her siblings Alberta (Bert), Evoid, Releford (Curly) and Willie (Bill). She was named Patricia Elberine Sanders and that she came along nine years later than the others, she was nicknamed “Tiny”, a name she would carry her entire life.
Tiny was raised in Blackjack and fondly remembered walking two miles to school every day. Education was extremely important to her. She loved to eat watermelon and loved playing hopscotch. She was very shy, very neat and very, very smart. Tiny attended Blackjack Elementary School, Moton High School (Taft) and then matriculated at the historic Manual Training High School, where she joined the Class of 1956. It is there that she met the love of her life, Gordon Lee Harlin. He was baling hay in the country and she thought that he was “kinda cute”.
They dated a couple of years and on August 8, 1955 they became man and wife. They then moved into a “shotgun house” on 16th Street. Their family grew and, in 1956, they welcomed Gordon Lee Harlin, Jr., then Carol Harlin Ballard (1957), Gordon Keith Harlin (1960) and Cheryl Harlin-Jones (1961). Tiny loved being a wife and mother and she raised her kids right.
Tiny was a champion of higher education. When her children all reached school age, Tiny returned to college and became one of the first African Americans to earn her Associates degree in Nursing from historic Bacone College. She served, (and continues to serve) as an inspiration to generations of other nurses of color. She furthered her education and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Northeastern State University (NSU) and also obtained 12 hours toward her Master’s Degree in Nursing from Tulsa University. Tiny also demanded that her children seek higher education as well. Upon graduation from high school, it wasn’t a questions of whether or not her children were going to college, it was a simple question as to which college you were attending.
Tiny worked as a Registered Nurse at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center for 22 years, first as a floor nurse and then working her way up to become the Supervisor of the Emergency Department. In 1991, she was awarded the prestigious Hands & Heart Award which is a national recognition by the Department of Veteran Affairs, honoring her professional expertise and dedication to providing quality healthcare to our nations veterans. It also recognized her compassionate caring attitude which consistently characterized her work as a Department of Veteran Affairs employees. Tiny took early retirement in 1995, only to continue working as a nurse.
She continued working for several years following her “retirement”. She taught medical terminology and phlebotomy at the Indian Capital Technology Center (Vo-Tech) and worked part-time as a Registered Nurse for L.I.F.E., Inc. (Loving Involvement for the Elderly). She fully retired in 2017.
Tiny was a life-long member of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, where she served in the Mission, Mission Choir, Church Secretary and was responsible for the Church Benevolent Fund. She was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, the Nurse’s Service
Those who went on before her include her parents, siblings Bert, Curly, Evoid, Bill, Evelyn and Nichelle Robinson, her infant son Gordon, Jr. and her grandson “Bean”.
She leaves to cherish her memory are her loving husband of 65 years, Gordon Lee Harlin, her brother, Isaac (Lula) Sanders of Wichita, KS and Sister, Sarah “Chick” Thomas of Dallas, TX. She also leaves her children, Carol Harlin Ballard of Oktaha, OK, son Keith of the home and daughter Cheryl (Shawn) of Tulsa and a very special son, Kenny Joe (Alma) Harlin, of Sylvania, GA. She also leaves her grandchildren, Tiffany, Derrius (Jennifer), Brandi, Xavier, Brittany (Eddie), Allyson, Chelsea (Harold III), Jordan (DeShaun), Julian and Yori, her Great Grandchildren Kyra, Willie, Cianna, Senecca, Trinity, Marley, Makenzie, Kory, Trystyn, Mayajoi, Harold IV (PJ), Lil Derrius and Simon and her great-great grandson, Theodore. She also leaves behind her forever girlfriends, Elmyra Morrision and Dorothy James, a host of nephews, nieces, family, co-workers and friends.
A Home Going Celebration will be conducted, Friday, Sept.18,2020 at 10 a.m. in Mt Zion Baptist Church. 902 Rutherford St. Muskogee,OK, with Pastor David Ragsdale Jr., eulogizing. Interment will follow in Ft Gibson National cemetery. Visitation, Thursday in the funeral Home chapel, during the hours of 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. On Friday, Mrs. Harlin will lie in state at the Church beginning at 8 am. Until service time at that point the casket will remain closed.
MASKS mandatory at all services.
The family has been cared for by House of Winn Funeral Home, Muskogee.