February 12, 1935 - May 16, 2022
Born February 12, 1935 to Lillie Mae and Earl Leslie Linfoot in Cherokee, Oklahoma. Corkey was the youngest of 10 children and is survived by 3 sons, Eric, Shawn, and Ryan. 6 grandchildren, Emily, Ethan, Evan, Joshua, Jensen, and Wyatt. And many family, extended family and friends. Corkey graduated Cherokee High School in 1954 having spent 2 years in the third grade due to too many absences when he broke his arm. He would often tell stories or small tidbits of information about himself and his running buddies, Bob Gammon, Zan Nelson and Lynn Stauffer. Stories of walking the railroad tracks around Cherokee in his younger years, playing football and “dragging main” in his 1940 Ford as a teenager. Upon graduation Corkey headed to San Diego for Basic Training in the Navy. He was assigned to the USS Wasp Aircraft Carrier. He had commented about the size of the ship and that its crew was larger than the population of Cherokee. As a navy crewman he sailed around the world twice. He crossed the equator as a Pollywog (first time to cross) and a Shellback (second time to cross). In his travels he rounded Cape Horn South America and even ventured into the Arctic Circle before finishing his naval career in 1958. He always remained a proud Navy Veteran. Even in his final days, he could be found wearing his USS Wasp ball cap or Navy Jacket. When Corkey returned to Oklahoma from the Navy in 1958, he moved in with his sister, Arlene and her husband Grover, bought a 1954 Mercury and got a job at Folding Carrier making shopping carts. It wasn’t long before Arlene set him up on a blind date to Spring Lake Amusement Park with Nancy Berkenbile that same year. He used to tease about the blind date saying that “he was blind and Nancy was outdated.” 1960 brought another milestone for Corkey when he married Nancy on his birthday. It was said they chose that day so that HE would remember. In 1963 they purchased their first home on SW 28th Street in Oklahoma City for $9000. Shortly thereafter came the birth of Eric in 1965, then Shawn in 1968 and Ryan in 1971. Before starting a family, Corkey left Folding Carrier and took a job at Brown Optical. Little did he know at the time, this would extend to a 20-plus year career in the optical business. This was a career that would produce many friendships, including that with Jesse Whitney when they met at American Optical. Corkey spoke often of some of the sales trips and conferences that he and Jesse would attend and some of the antics they would get into. While with American Optical, Corkey took a transfer opportunity to pack up the family and move to Lubbock, TX. But as the 1980s approached, corporate mergers and acquisitions soon brought the young Linfoot family back to Oklahoma and settled in the Mustang School District to the benefit of the 3 Linfoot boys. As the 3 boys grew up in Mustang Schools and became very active in the band programs, Corkey found himself active as well. From early morning band rehearsals to private lessons and auditions to track meets, football games and concerts, Corkey was involved as a parent, band parent and overall cheerleader to his 3 sons. You could often hear the energetic ring of Corkey’s cowbell that he had special-made with a bicycle handle welded to the cowbell at football games and parades. When he wasn’t on the road traveling for work to provide for his family, he was investing time with his 3 boys and giving them the parental support they needed. In 1986, his 26-year marriage to Nancy had come to an end. As the 3 boys were growing up, Corkey would often tell them that “they could be anything or do anything if you just put your mind to it.” Other than his time away while in the Navy and the short 3 years in Lubbock, TX, Corkey spent his entire life living somewhere in Oklahoma. But that was about to change. In 1989, Corkey met and married Lena Heltcel and the adventures began. Lena was like no one Corkey had ever met. Though Lena’s children were grown when they met, Corkey treated them as his own. Lena had done all kinds of jobs in her life and wasn’t afraid to grab life by the horns and try new things. By spring of 1995 Corkey and Lena sold their belongings and the log cabin in Tecumseh and hit the road in a Chevy Suburban and a travel trailer. Corkey and Lena criss-crossed the country for 5 years. They became “snowbirds” always seeking a warmer climate and avoiding the harsh winters. In their travels they made it their mission to see all 50 states. When rolling into a new location, Lena would find a job as a traveling nurse, or working at a pizza parlor while Corkey would work at the camp sites doing whatever handyman work needed to be done in exchange for the camping fees. By 2011, they had been to 49 states. At that time, the boys chipped in for an accompanied Alaskan cruise for Corkey so he could complete the mission. During their travels, they conveniently found themselves in Arizona for Super Bowl XXX where Ryan would be working the game while attending Culinary School. As luck would have it, Ryan was able to get them both temporary jobs at the stadium. Corkey found himself working the Super Bowl side-by-side with Ryan cooking thousands of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. 1992 would bring the birth of Corkey’s first of six grandchildren. Corkey enjoyed being “G-Pa” to all six grandchildren and spending time with each one in their own unique ways. He loved playing with them, being silly and making them laugh. 2012 brought heartbreak to Corkey’s doorstep when Lena passed away from an inoperable brain tumor. They were married 23 years. Throughout his life, Corkey cherished his friendships and relationships with different friends and family members. He was quite the Jokester with a kind, light-hearted sense of humor. Even in his final days at the nursing home, he was a little bit ornery with the nurses. Corkey always enjoyed ‘50s music like Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Elvis. He enjoyed classic cars with the roar of a big engine and the shine of a great paint job and lots of chrome. And whether it be at church or at home, he always enjoyed a good meal. Especially if it included watermelon or catfish, or maybe charcoal hamburgers and homemade ice cream. Corkey was very proud to be from Cherokee, proud to be a Navy Veteran, proud of his family. And he was proud to be a Linfoot.
Born February 12, 1935 to Lillie Mae and Earl Leslie Linfoot in Cherokee, Oklahoma. Corkey was the youngest of 10 children and is survived by 3 sons, Eric, Shawn, and Ryan. 6 grandchildren, Emily, Ethan, Evan, Joshua, Jensen, and Wyatt. And... View Obituary & Service Information
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