Memorial services will be held for Rita Alice McClaskey, 65, of Chickasha, Oklahoma, at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday September 26, 2012 in the Coles Garden Chapel, Oklahoma City.

Rita McClaskey was born on March 20, 1947 in Maud, Oklahoma to her parents, Edith and Ralph McClaskey. She passed from this life on September 21, 2012.

Rita graduated from Maud High School as Valedictorian in 1965. She received a psychology degree from Oklahoma State University and later earned a Masters Degree from the University of Oklahoma. She then received her license as a professional counselor.

Rita began her career as a therapist working in community mental health and worked at Chisholm Trail Mental Health Center in Grady County for most of her career.  She later became the Clinical Director for both Grady and Canadian counties.

She was one of the founding mothers of Women’s Service & Family Resource Center, founded in 1981, for Grady and Canadian Counties. She was instrumental in growing services for victims of rape and domestic violence from a single phone hotline to a multiple agency comprehensive service center for families.

In 2000, Rita acted as consultant for the professional development committee of the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to build a curriculum for statewide training to certify professionals in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault. She trained hundreds of advocates across the state of Oklahoma. Also in the year 2000, the Coalition presented Rita with a “Bright and Shining Star” award as a “true advocate for the elimination of violence.”  She touched the lives of people from all walks of life throughout her career, guiding them through the journey of healing.

In 2004, Rita was honored by students at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma for her efforts to eliminate violence against women. In 2008, she was recognized in “Century of Influence”, a publication commemorating the YWCA Oklahoma City’s 100th anniversary, celebrating the amazing influence of women in our community.  In 2011, Rita was honored by Women’s Service & Family Resource Center for her 30 years of service.

Rita was preceded in death by her parents, Edith and Ralph McClaskey of Maud, OK, and her loving son, Adam Brooking of Chickasha, OK. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Nikki Jones Edwards and Marc Edwards and grandson, Sam Edwards, all of Oklahoma City;  grandchildren Hunter of Chickasha;  Brynn of Norman and Kennadi of Fort Worth, TX; sister and brother in law, Sharon and Ken Choat of Bartlesville; brother and sister-in-law Virginia and Gary McClaskey of Maud. She is also survived by cousins, nieces, nephews and many, many friends.

Rita leaves a legacy of peace to be carried on by all of the women and men she has inspired. Rita was a loving and devoted mother and grandmother and a mentor to countless.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be graciously given to Women’s Family Resource Center of Chickasha, OK, or the Women & Genders Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma.

Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Ferguson Funeral Home.

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