Her given name was Teresa Lee Baskin when she was born to Paul and Pat Baskin, October 18, 1949, in Shawnee, OK. Her family would call her Terrie.
Terrie was always curious and questioning. She demonstrated artistic abilities at an early age by using her crayons to color the living room walls.
She was always interested in lights and colors from the time she saw the colored fountain lights at OBU as a child. In recent months I took her to see the colored flashing lights of the Farris wheel at Frontier City. We sat on the side of the road for twenty minutes as she watched with delight the ever-changing patterns of the wheel, her eyes big and twinkling in awe.
She always wanted a telescope and a microscope because she was fascinated by God’s creation. She wanted to know more.
Paul, Pat, Paula (Terrie’s older sister) and Terrie went to the First Baptist Church of Shawnee. Pat was involved in the choir. Paul worked with the youth. Paula and Terrie were in GA’s and found it boring, so they would crawl out of the first story windows to play outside. You had to keep her attention.
Her family was very involved in church and civic activities in Shawnee. When Terrie was in junior high, Paul changed jobs and they moved to Moore. This proved to be a difficult time for Terrie and Paula. They were not as easily accepted at their new school as their previous school. I think this event made her sensitive to the needs of her future students.
Terrie graduated from Moore High School in 1967. She was on the yearbook staff and was utilized for her artwork. Due to some family issues, she did not start college right away. She needed some time to deal with body issues and what she wanted to pursue. She later graduated from Central State University with a degree in Art and elementary education.
In May of 1970, I met her for the first time. It was the only ‘blind’ date I have ever been on. We were to meet at a friend’s apartment. I was early; she was late. When she did arrive, I was in awe. “There is no way, this beautiful woman would every go out with me”, I thought. And then I thought, “I have to put everything I got into this one date or else I’m through.” I loved her from the first moment that I saw her, but she was not so impressed. It took a while to do that.
We went to a drive-in movie. I discovered she would laugh at my impressions and quirky way of saying things. I made her laugh thirteen and a half times on the date (the half was just a chuckle). I know I was only of entertainment value to her, but boy did I enjoy seeing that incredibly beautiful smile. It was at this point, that she became ‘Precious’ to me.
Terrie and her family changed my life. They showed me there was a different way of living from what I had known. They valued education. Terrie was going to Central State and her dad was completing his degree there as well. Paul played football for Oklahoma A&M. He had to leave to fight in World War II. He was an officer in the Army Air Corp and after the war, he was determined to complete his education. Their influence caused me to enroll in college and Paul would help me with my studies and would even buy my books for me.
Terrie’s family enjoyed one another. Her parents would listen to big band albums and I even saw them do the jitterbug one time. They would play games together and talk with one another. This was something new to me.
After we were married, she was a professional artist for sixteen years working with oil’s. She stopped after she became a Christian. The Lord had changed her motivation and she submitted herself to what the Lord had for her.
She gave her heart and life to Jesus in February, 1982. Even though she was raised in church, it was at that time that she realized she was a sinner and needed a Savior to pay the debt that she could not pay.
She was insecure and uncertain about many things in life, but I marveled as I saw God change this Precious woman into an incredibly Precious woman. She became strong in her faith.
She found her calling when she began teaching elementary school at a Christian school. She taught for twenty-five years and in that time, the Lord used her to lead several students to faith in Christ. She keep a list of those names in her Bible. She grieved when someone stole her Bible from our car. I reminded her there was another list that was kept in Heaven. He used her to sow, water and reap for the glory of His kingdom.
We did not have children, but she loved her students. I would hear about them every night. It’s been said that Mrs. Elkins was tough and that would be true. But she was more than that, she was also fun. She would tell them stories of me and other things to grab their minds. To make learning a part of their every day life.
Terrie’s spiritual gift was exhortation and exhort she would do. She wanted to encourage her fellow teachers, the parents of her students, and her students. She wanted her students to learn more than just English, math, and science. She wanted them to learn some things about how to life the Christian life.
Some of her greatest joys came when she would see some of her former students outside of the school. She seemed to remember everything about them. When they would hug her, they would usually say, “You were my favorite teacher.” She was my favorite teacher as well.
We dated for four years and have been married for forty-one years. She was my life. She was my best friend and my biggest supporter. She was the biggest earthly influence in my life. Any sadness is checked with the joyful knowledge that she is with Jesus and her dear family.
Terrie could capture you with her smile and her beautiful face, and her quick wit, but she had the ability to make you feel comfortable. She could draw you out and encourage you to do the right thing. You would grow to love her in a short time. Why? Because, like me, they have learned that she is ‘Precious’.
Terrie died November 23, 2015.