MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 19, 2012

Okay mourns teen

Friends remember Kambrin Dennis as inspiring figure

OKAY — The tiny community of Okay spent Wednesday in mourning over the loss of one of their own.

Kambrin Dennis, 17, was killed in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday just north of Okay.

Dennis was remembered by friends as an outgoing, inspiring figure.

“She always inspired me,” Brooklyn Graves said. “If she was having a bad day and saw someone else having a bad day, she would try to help them. She made me want to reach out and help other people.”

Graves said Dennis — a senior at Okay High School — was getting ready for prom and graduation.

“She had her prom dress already and she was excited for it,” Graves said. “And we’re just 20 days from graduation, so she was excited about that. It’s so sad, I feel so bad for her parents.”

Dennis loved to sing and play softball, Graves said.

Classes at Okay High School were held Wednesday in the wake of the crash, but Superintendent Mickey Igert said counselors were on hand to visit with students and teachers.

“We had classes, but the kids were free to leave if they needed to talk to someone,” Igert said. “And they were available for the teachers too. Everyone here is very close.”

“We all got together and talked and told stories about Kambrin,” Graves said. “We all held hands and talked and prayed together. Kambrin was more than just a friend, she really was like family to everyone.”

Kambrin, who was set to graduate in May, had a birthday coming up and had talked to others about getting ready for the prom.

“I remember her talking about being excited about her dress,” said Louise Rappe, who was at the Okay Senior Center on Wednesday. “She was joking around about ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if moms and daughters could agree on something?’”

“It’s really hard on everyone in the community,” Virginia Short said.

Short spent part of Wednesday at the Okay Senior Center, where Kambrin’s mother, Lorena Dennis, worked. “It’s so sad to lose someone that young.”

Kambrin was killed Tuesday afternoon on Oklahoma 16 when she ran off the right side of the road in the Cougar she was driving, overcorrected and was struck by an oncoming pickup. That pickup’s driver, Jacob Stilwell, 33, of Wagoner, was treated and released by Wagoner Community Hospital.

Rappe said she was one of many who prayed for the family Tuesday night after the crash. Rappe said Kambrin’s parents go to First Baptist Church in Okay.  

“A lot of people ended up at the church last night for kind of a prayer vigil, I guess, to support the family,”  Rappe said.

First Baptist Church pastor Ken Krepps was at the church Tuesday night. He said Kambrin’s family is very active in the church.

“We had a group that met up at the church, because our church has a prayer chain and word got out pretty quick,” Krepps said. “The family got there eventually, and we just cried together and hugged and prayed and read scripture together. We will be there to support them however we can.”

Krepps said Okay High School students began to congregate around the wreck site in the hours after the crash. As darkness fell, Okay police began to worry about the kids’ safety and eventually asked them to move to the church.

Funeral services for Kambrin are pending with Shipman Funeral Home and Crematory in Wagoner.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth @muskogeephoenix.com.

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