Displayed on a pedestal in the Diocese of Oklahoma office lobby is a bronze bust of Deacon David Pendleton Oakerhater or in his native Cheyenne, Oak-uh-hat-uh. The figure was a gift from Mary Elizabeth (Edwards) Thach in memory of her parents and first Missionary Bishop Rt. Rev. Francis K. Brooke. Mary Elizabeth’s family came to Oklahoma City in 1891 and were early-day St. Paul’s Cathedral members. Her father was an attorney appointed to the territorial legislature, bond trader, and Oklahoma Railway Company Vice President. Undoubtedly, the Edwards were friends of Bishop Brooke. They also knew Deacon Oakerhater and, in 1914, hosted his family at the Oklahoma City missionary convocation.
The artist, Alexandra Alaupovic, was born in 1921 and lived in Croatia, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia before permanently settling in Oklahoma. She studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Zagreb and later attained an advanced degree from the University of Oklahoma. In 1964, she won the prestigious Oscar Jacobson Award for her sculpture “Moon Girl.”Later, “Moon Girl” was recast and acquired by the Oklahoma State Arts Collection. Her works can be seen at the Henry Overholser Mansion, Casady School, OU Health Sciences Center, Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and other institutions and museums across the state.
In 1990, the Metro Downtowner newspaper published an article about the donation with a photograph of Rt. Reverend Robert M. Moody and Alexandra Alaupovic. Since 1990, the bust has been displayed in the diocesan office. It will be ninety-two years on August 31st since Oakerhater’s death and we celebrate his Feast Day on Sept. 1st.
“O God of unsearchable wisdom and mercy; Liberate us from bondage to self, and empower us to serve you and our neighbors, that like your servant David Oakerhater, we might bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.” (Lesser Feasts and Fasts.)
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