Nearly 77 years ago, on Sept. 5, 1939, in a log cabin in Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp, Ellen Grace Forbes was born, the first child of Robert "Bob" and Dorothea Forbes.
Ellen went to grade school and graduated from high school on St. Simon's Island, Georgia, where she developed a love of nature (except for snakes) and a curiosity about life. As a young person, she enjoyed skating at the Casino skating rink, where she met her future husband Quinton Phillip Shreck. Soon after graduating from High School they were married, and at the age of eighteen she and her husband moved to Hawaii for his military service. After his time in the service, they made their home in Oklahoma to be near Mr. Shreck's family. From this marriage, were born two sons: Richard and Roger.
In the mid-1960's, Ellen married Mr. Harvey Diem, a cattle rancher in Inola, who also served as a deputy sheriff with Rogers County for over 20 years. Even while busy with children and the ranch, Ellen made the decision to return to school in order to prepare for a career in a classroom with teenagers. After graduating with honors from Tulsa University, she began teaching English in 1978 at Pryor High School, where at the age of 39, Ellen found her true gift! She was a truly excellent teacher and was well regarded by students and faculty. She genuinely cared about her students and their lives, both in and outside of the classroom. Hundreds of fortunate teenagers learned about history, literature, art, architecture, writing, music and theater in her classroom, and she extended those lessons to opera halls, museums, and theaters across Oklahoma. Ellen also opened her home to her students and had a huge impact on so many students' lives.
Ellen continued her own learning as well. During summers, she participated in the Oklahoma Writing Project, as well as the famed Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. Afterwards, she brought her learning into her classrooms, and her publications with those groups continue to support teachers and students across the country.
Ellen continued to teach until 2008. After retiring, Ellen spent her later years taking care of the Three Angels Ranch and her husband, Harvey until his death in 2011. She enjoyed working in her garden and spending time with her family and friends. She passed away on August 22, 2017, at the age of 77.
Ellen is survived by her two sons: Roger Shreck and his wife Sara of Chouteau; Richard Shreck; 3 Brothers: Charles Forbes of Locust Grove, Lester Forbes of St. Simon's Island, Georgia, and Robert Forbes; two sisters: Darlin Thrower of Bruswick, Georgia and Janet Irene of California.
A memorial service honoring and remembering Ellen Grace Diem, 77 of Inola, is scheduled for 11:00, Wednesday, August 30, 2017, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Claremore, under the direction of Rice Funeral Service.
Published on August 25, 2017