By Mindy Ragan Wood
The Yukon community is mourning the loss of a teenager who lost her life in a car accident Sept. 2.
Grace Roark, a junior at Yukon High School, was driving along State Highway 65 and Rogers Lane in Lawton when her car went off the right side of a curve at approximately 10:45 p.m. Her jeep rolled and then landed on the driver’s side. She was trapped in her vehicle for 20 minutes and was pronounced dead at the scene, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.
Family and friends remember Roark for her wit, sweet disposition, and loyalty to those she loved.
Lila Hillman is Grace’s cousin and remembers her with a smile.
“She was one of the sweetest girls you could ever meet,” she wrote in an email to the Yukon Progress. “She would always greet you with a smile. I want to remember Grace for her sweet soul. She loved her dogs. She loved her friends. She loved music. She loved her family. She just loved.”
When Valerie Aiello moved to Yukon, she said Grace was quick to extend her friendship after the two met.
“I met Grace my first year in Yukon. She was bright and wonderful. She knew how to take things very well. We became close until I moved away. She was sweet, kind, funny, yet so amazing to talk to. She always put a smile on my face when it came to her,” Aiello wrote in an email.
Aiello said Grace was a friend she could count on to help her face problems in life.
“We couldn’t let each other down when it came to our friendship. I loved her. She inspired me in any way possible. I even went to her with one of my problems and she helped. We’d laugh about jokes we’d make until we broke in tears laughing so hard. Grace is a wonderful name and it fits her personality. She’ll always be remembered in my heart.”
Grace was not one to look the other way when someone was in need. Charlie Ramsey’s family was struggling through hard times and some days the teen didn’t have enough to eat. Grace noticed.
“My parents couldn’t afford to buy me lunch or send me to school with money. Grace always made sure I had something to eat and pushed me to eat when I didn’t want to because she didn’t want me to go hungry. I also struggle with depression and didn’t like myself. Grace made sure to call me beautiful, pretty or perfect the way I am. She always put a smile on my face even in the hardest moments of my life. I know she wouldn’t want me to be sad about her passing. She would tell me, ‘smile we will see each other again someday.’”
Cousin Trin Stone said Grace was also a best friend.
“When I needed someone to talk to she was there for me.”
Friend Danielle Ritter said Grace embraced her own uniqueness and accepted others for who they were.
“Grace was a special girl! She always made comments like she was different, which was funny because I’ve always said I am different too. I said that’s okay, different is good. Jesus was different and look how amazing he was and still is to this day! Certain girls I connect with and she was one of them. Her smile was contagious,” Ritter said.
Uncle Elmer Hillman remembered that Grace had a special place for everyone in her heart, including her father.
“I remember she was a little kid she always wanted her dad to hold her never put her down. Travis would have her in one arm and working on trucks with the other,” he said.
Mother Betsy Roark posted to the Yukon Happenings Facebook page in appreciation for those who remembered her daughter.
“She was our gift from heaven from the moment she was born. We will miss her immensely and appreciate your kind words.”
Yukon High School opened its counseling offices to grieving students Sunday through Tuesday.