Frank Banning and Myrtle Bartholomew Banning were both born in Oklahoma and had moved west to be near Frank’s mother. Mae Banning had three older brothers and she was three months old when her family moved to California

Frank Banning and Myrtle Bartholomew Banning were both born in Oklahoma and had moved west to be near Frank’s mother. Mae Banning had three older brothers and she was three months old when her family moved to California

“The first nine years of my life, I lived in west Los Angeles around the corner from my Grandmother Banning. She had six sons, my father being one of them. Grandfather Banning had been a doctor. When my grandmother died she had lots of property. Her sons put all of her assets in a hat and each son drew his inheritance from the hat,” Mae said. Her father drew a 160 acre farm that was in Cleveland County, Oklahoma bordering Pottawatomie County.

The family moved to Oklahoma where Mae’s father farmed the property that he had inherited. They had cows, pigs and a dog called “Mutt”. Mae was walking home from school one day when she was about nine with an Indian boy named Sambo. Sambo told Mae that he and his brothers were going to kill Mutt. Mae said, “My mother had bought me a brand new oval orange lunch box. Sambo had scared me and I hit him with my new lunch box and it cut his head. That evening after dinner his father came to talk to my father about my aggressive actions.”

Mae went to school at Little River in Cleveland County, and her teacher was Mrs. Capshaw. Her teacher would often go home with Mae from school and have supper with her family. They had an upright piano and Mrs. Capshaw paid for Mae to take piano lessons from Harvey Shelton in Shawnee.

After grade school, Mae rode the school bus to Macomb High School. She graduated Salutatorian in 1942. After high school, she enrolled at Oklahoma University to get a temporary teaching certificate and was hired to teach in a three room school at Little Axe.

The Banning family went to church at Okay Full Gospel which was only two miles from their home. Mae said, “My family had a car when most of the people came in team drawn wagons.” There was a young man named Jim Tacker, who wanted to take her out, but she was not sixteen and her father would not allow it. “We wanted to talk to each other so we agreed to meet at the water pump behind the school that was next to the church. So we would meet there and make out,” Mae said. One night her father caught them there. Mae followed him to the car. When they got home he said to her mother, “Do you know where I found your daughter tonight?” When they went on their first date, Mae’s father required that they have a chaperone, so Jim’s mother went along. When Mae was twenty, she and Jim decided to get married but Mae’s father said that he would not come to the wedding. So the couple was married in the pastor’s home.

Before she graduated from high school and a while after, Mae worked in the County Superintendent’s Office in Cleveland County. The County Superintendent at that time was Ethel Burkett. Her husband, Orion Burkett, hired Mae to teach 5th grade at Woodrow Wilson School in Norman. During that time, Jim was teaching school at Moore and at Norman and going to Oklahoma University to get his degree. The couple purchased their first home at 450 West Tonowa in Norman. Mae also went to Oklahoma University and got her degree.

In 1953, the Tackers moved to Pueblo, Colorado, to teach school. While they were there they applied through the welfare system to adopt a child. They were able to adopt Tammy when she was five months old- a beautiful baby girl.

While they were living in Colorado, Jim’s mother had sold them her farm, so they moved back to Oklahoma in 1959, and lived in Midwest City. That same year they were able to adopt a one month old baby boy they named Jimmy. In 1963, when Jimmy was about three years old, they started building a house on the farm that was near Tecumseh. They finished the kitchen, bathroom and one bedroom and moved in. Sometimes friends or family would come on weekends and help to finish the house.

When Jimmy was old enough to go to kindergarten, Mae taught school in Shawnee and Jim worked at Tinker Airforce Base. They raised cattle and a big garden every year. Both children went through school in Shawnee. After graduation, Tammy got her degree at UCO in Edmond and Jimmy graduated from OSU in Stillwater.

Mae had been going to school at OU and got her Master of Science in Special Education in 1964. The following year, she started teaching Special Education at Shawnee Junior High. Later, Mae served as the first Principal at Faith 7 School in Shawnee.

Jim was diagnosed with cancer in 1991. He fought it for five years but he passed away at home in 1996. Mae continued to live on the farm.

Mae and Jim had organized a travel RV club about four years before he died. The group met once a month to decide where they would go next. One couple from the group would be in charge of making the necessary arrangements for that next camping trip. In the spring of 1998, Mae was in charge of making the camping arrangements for the following month. Bill Mitchell was also a member of the club and a single man, so Mae asked him if he would like to help her. He agreed and came out to her farm to discuss where the group might go. They decided that they would check out the campground at Thunderbird Lake. After checking the campground they had dinner at Cracker Barrel, went back to the farm and talked most of the night. Bill’s wife had died not too long before and he was very lonely. He asked Mae if she would spend one day a week with him and they agreed on Thursday. The next week he came every day.

Before they were married a new church in Gunnison, Colorado, had asked Bill to come and pastor their church and Bill wanted Mae to go with him. She agreed and on July 18th they were married. It was off to Gunnison where the Mitchells stayed through the rest of the summer. They pastored another church at Vivian, Oklahoma, and then they accepted the call from the First Baptist Church at Sparks, Oklahoma, where they stayed for three and one-half years.

In February of 2016, due to failing health the Mitchells moved to Primrose Retirement Community where they continue in the Lord’s service.

Note: Story submitted by Pat Gaines on behalf of Primrose.