NORMAN — Joe M. Blake passed away Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, in Norman. Born Sept. 22, 1926, in Howe to William T. and Lillie A. (McCasson) Blake, he was the youngest of five brothers and two sisters.
Service will be 1 p.m. Thursday at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church in Norman. Interment will follow at Fairview Cemetery in Tuttle.
After losing his parents at a young age, he lived with siblings and attended Seminole schools. However, before his graduation from high school, he felt an obligation to serve his country during WWII. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a cadet in pilot training until the war's end in 1945. He was then assigned to occupational duty in Germany, where he played on the USAFE basketball and baseball teams that participated in the European Championship Tournaments in Nuremberg. He had the opportunity to witness the Nazi War Criminal Trials and often commented that he obtained an invaluable education from this experience.
After his discharge from the military, he obtained an honorary high school diploma and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma. His studies were in history and geography, as well as being a member of the OU baseball team. While in school, he met Ouida Spaulding. They dated through the school year, but in the spring, professional teams came calling and Joe signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs organization. He left Norman and played professionally for two years, returning to ask Ouida to be his wife. Two weeks later, they were married on June 27, 1950, at the First Methodist Church in Ouida's hometown of Tipton.
For the next five years, the couple enjoyed the travels and experiences of baseball life with both the major and minor leagues. They returned to Norman to finish their college degrees and, upon graduation, Joe was accepted into the management training program at Tinker Air Force Base. After 35 years, he retired from Tinker with expertise in material management, aircraft production and supply operations. Joe was very active in his children's activities including school sports, helping with American Legion Baseball and 10 years as Scoutmaster of Troop 241 and the Girl Scouts. He was a member of McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church and always an avid sports fan and was a lifetime member of the OU Alumni Association.