A VERY BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF OLA ALICE FORBES WICKHAM (1889-1963)|
(Biography by M. Maude Forbes, Ola's sister)
OLA FORBES WICKHAM, was the daughter of a Kentucky University man, CHARLES GILLUM FORBES (1852-1916), who came West for his health. He surveyed and laid out the new Texas town of Gambetta, later known as Childress. It was here that Ola Forbes was born in a cellar, (not an uncommon residence there at that time) January 14th, 1889. Three years later, the family settled on a 160 acre farm in Oklahoma Territory, 5 miles East of Norman, Oklahoma. In 1896, the family moved to Norman so that the children might have city school advantages. It was here that each of the 5 girls received degrees from the University of Oklahoma.
In 1913, OLA FORBES received an A.B. degree, and the following year (1914), received the FIRST degree in art that had ever been issued from the University of Oklahoma.
OLA FORBES taught art in the University for one summer session, then got a better paying position at the Durant State Normal School, where she was head of the art department for a number of years. After marrying M.M. Wickham, a teacher in the same school at that time, she became the FIRST art supervisor in the Norman Public Schools. Later, she established an art studio at her residence where she taught privately, and worked on specific orders.
Blessed with a cheerful disposition, she was always kind, honest, thoughtful of others, and industrious. She excelled in many arts; sewing, cooking, clay modeling, beautiful and intricate wood carving, china painting, even to making the built-in cabinets, and was also a pianist in her own rights.
As a child, OLA ALICE FORBES made many trips with her beloved father, in a covered wagon, to the farm. Here, each Fall, she would help wrap the trunks of the young apple trees to protect them from the hungry rabbits. Ola's father foresaw and realized her early artistic ability. He taught her to appreciate the beauties of nature, kindness to animals, and to love all mankind. Unfortunately, Ola's mother was neither kind nor understanding of her children. Although Ola always had a happy smile and cheerful and encouraging words for her friends, her heart was heavy. Then, all her future life was crushed and saddened by the death of her dear father, September, 1916. Too much grief and sorrow in her life broke her health and in September, 1963, she died with a broken heart. She had many, many friends who adored her and mourned the great loss.
Among her final papers were found these lines:
"If I should die, and leave you here awhile,
Be not like others sore undone, who keep
Long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.
For my sake, turn again to life, and smile.
Nerve thy heart and trembling hand to do
Something to comfort weaker hearts than thine,
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine,
And I, perchance, may therein comfort you".