Dr. Annie Roarke died in 1984 and although her memory lives on, she was buried in an unmarked grave in the Lakeview Cemetery, behind Kiwanis Park, but now, that’s about to change.
Former Wichita Falls Justice of the Peace & City Councilor, Arthur B. Williams told us, “I’ve lived in Wichita Falls since 1944, I came here as a little girl and I knew of her office downtown and where it was and who she was.”
She was Dr. Annie Roarke, an influential woman in the African American community
Volunteer for the Museum of North Texas History, Becky Trammell said, “The first African American to have an office on this side of the tracks back in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.”
Dr. Roarke was a podiatrist who took care of many Caucasian patients, but they are not the only ones who thought she was special, many also remember her for the Isis Theatre and the Roarke hotel.
Trammell added, “While doing a research for a historic marker for Dr. Roarke, we found out that she did not have a headstone on her grave.”
Williams continued to tell us, “when I found out that there was no marker for her, I was really shocked because I couldn’t imagine that anybody of that prominence would have ever died and been buried without something that would indicate where she was.”
Like Williams, many others were shocked as well, but community members along with the Wichita County Historical Commission and the North Texas Troubadours banded together to ensure Dr. Roarke gets the headstone she deserves.
Trammell told us, “We took it one step at a time thinking let’s get the historic marker, once we get the marker then let’s try to right this wrong and that’s what tonight is all about.”
Williams finished by saying, “if she were alive, I think she would consider this something that she was overwhelmed by and hopefully would be extremely grateful that her community that she gave so much to feeling this way about her to do this for her.”
Soon Dr. Roarke will have a proper headstone where she’s laid to rest, in a community where she’s forever etched in history and in the hearts of so many.
With more than 2 thousand dollars raised tonight, Becky Trammell said they will be able to give Dr. Roarke the grave marker she deserves and hopes to have this project completed within a month.