Ina Colleen Booker - May 12, 1930 - Sept 1, 2014
Ina Colleen Booker of Connell, Washington, died September 1, 2014
at Legacy Cottage in Kennewick, Washington.
She was born at home in Altus, Oklahoma on May 12, 1930
to Jesse Ray Churchwell and Velma Elsie (Brisbin) Churchwell as the third of six children.
During childhood, she learned to work, chopping and picking cotton alongside her parents
and older brothers. Her strong work ethic developed, a trait that would serve her well
throughout her life and that she would instill in her family. Colleen dreamed of one day
moving north, to the panhandle of Oklahoma and having a cattle ranch.
During high school, she played guard on a hotshot basketball team and was a fierce player,
traveling around the state playing in many tournament games.
A local coach, Guy Powers, noted, “she has so much spirit, it just shines through”.
Basketball was a highlight of her young life that she would never forget.
On January 4, 1951 she married a handsome young World War Two veteran, D.L. Booker,
whom she had met when she was fourteen. They lived on a small farm where she tended
to livestock and shelled black-eyed peas for a local school to earn money.
In 1952 the first of four boys, Merle was born. Soon after, D.L. and some friends traveled
to Washington to check out land that was being developed for irrigation in the Columbia Basin.
In 1956, D.L. was fortunate to draw a unit of land near the town of Warden. The young family
packed their belongings to move much further north than Colleen ever imagined.
They arrived in Warden during a blowing dust storm.
Colleen said she just fell to her knees and bawled; she was a long way from family and friends.
In 1957, Colleen returned to Oklahoma to have son Quinton.
In 1958, the growing family moved to a farm near Mesa.
Colleen went back to Oklahoma to have son Burl in December of that year.
She liked the doctor and the comfort of being near family.
In the early 60’s, they purchased a farm on Barrt road between Mesa and Basin City
where they raised crops and livestock. Colleen worked hard caring for family and animals:
changing water, building fence, operating a tractor if necessary, caring for a large garden,
canning produce, and wrangling children.
She was a driving force in the family. There was little she could not do.
It was here that Colleen met three young neighbor ladies with growing families, forming a bond
that was never broken; caring for each other’s children, helping each other farm, experiencing
the good, and surviving the bad that daily life brings.
Dorothy, Jeannette, Mary are special friends any one would be lucky to have.
Too busy to travel to her favorite Oklahoma based doctor again, Colleen gave birth to
the fourth Booker boy, Butch, in Othello, Washington, in 1964.
The family grew, as did the farm; cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, horses - life was teeming
on the farm and she rode herd on everything. Colleen was an excellent cook, preparing
wonderful meals and feeding anyone who visited and was hungry. Pie was a favorite,
especially mincemeat. She would render a hog’s head to get the meat and mix it with
a delicious array of fruit and spices.
In the late 70’s she and D.L. started an auction business. She cared for it like everything else
and it thrived, growing to what is now Booker Auction Company.
Colleen was a willing volunteer, ready to help if she could. If she told you she would do something,
you could count on her to show up early and stay late if that’s what it took to get the job done.
She enjoyed helping with school events and had a strong belief in education, expecting her children
to learn as much as they could. As a reflection of her own fondness for the sport, Colleen was
very pleased when asked to be a chaperone for girls’ basketball when they participated
in tournament games, particularly since she only had boys.
When grandchildren began to arrive, she and D.L. were thrilled. They loved babies.
As they grew, she never forgot a birthday and would always send a card and a special treat.
They all loved their kind, patient and persevering, grandma Colleen.
She had gentle brown eyes.
If she ever crooked that index finger and shook it at you, you knew she meant business.
It was a signal to behave, get your work done, and/or leave your brother alone.
She meant it too!
Colleen was able to travel back to Oklahoma in November of last year.
It was a special time to see her family there one last time.
Colleen is survived by
older brother Richard Walton Churchwell,
younger brother Wesley Clois Churchwell and wife Hermalee,
and dear younger sister Karen Kistler and husband Bob.
Many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Her children Merle Booker and wife Judy of Connell,
Quinton Booker of Othello,
Burl Booker and wife Kara of Connell
and Butch Booker and wife Jennifer of Colfax.
Grandchildren: Alesha Russell and husband Ryan,
Camille Booker and Rob Rettig,
Chantell Kimball and husband Seath,
Lauren, Megan, Kylie and Jolee Booker,
Chess, Britton, and Max Booker,
and Cotton Ross Booker.
Lelia, Diehl and Daxton Rettig
and Trenton, Andrea, and Trayson Russell.
Colleen was preceded in death by
brother Wilton Ray Churchwell,
brother Henry Omar Lee Churchwell,
and her beloved husband D.L.
Burial was at 9:30 am, Monday, September 8, 2014
at Bess Hampton Memorial Gardens in Othello, Washington.
A celebration of a life well lived was held 11 am, Sept. 8th
at the Connell Community Center in Connell, Washington
with a luncheon following.