MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

December 30, 2012

OKIE — McJunkins says she’s doing just fine

Nebraska transplant found ways to improve in city

— With deep maroon walls and a wrap-around sofa in the living room, Edie McJunkins’ home offers a cozy, warm respite from the cold.

She watched her children grow up in this home, a four-bedroom house she helped build. Now, she entertains grandchildren.

McJunkins, 50, would say her life has been a success story.

“I would say that, given what I’ve been through over the years,” she said. “And there are still pages to write.”

The Omaha, Neb., native moved to Muskogee as a young child, only to return to Nebraska a few years later.

“My mom died in 1968, and my older sister took me back to Omaha,” McJunkins said. “I lived in the ghetto of Omaha. If you hope to survive, you don’t see education as an out. You do whatever you can to get out. When I moved to Muskogee with my son, I wanted him to know there is an out.”

At the time, Edie McJunkins was 16 and a high school dropout. She said her father, Willie McJunkins, “was insisting I get back in high school.”

She recalled going to high school for a while before getting pregnant again.

After several “dead-end jobs” McJunkins moved to Oklahoma City, where she lived for a year or so.

McJunkins returned to Muskogee and found ways to improve her life.

She enrolled into Bacone College, even without a high school diploma.

“Bacone had an open-door policy then, and you just needed to have a high school diploma by the time you graduated,” she recalled. “During my second year at Bacone, I applied for a high school diploma and because I had enough credits through college, I was able to get the high school degree and the associate’s degree the same year — 1992.”

McJunkins landed a job with the Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department that April. She said Parks and Recreation Director Mark Wilkerson had taught a class at Bacone and was looking for a parks intern. She has been with the city for 21 years.

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