Cover photo for Kathryne O'Bryan Timberlake's Obituary
Kathryne O'Bryan Timberlake Profile Photo
1923 Kathryne 2019

Kathryne O'Bryan Timberlake

August 17, 1923 — January 21, 2019

Kathryne O’Bryan Timberlake, Professor Emeritus at Oklahoma Baptist University, dies at 95 Kathryne Timberlake, known for her tireless encouragement of her students and friends and her energetic intelligence, died on January 21st at her home in Atlanta, GA. Mrs. Timberlake retired as Professor Emeritus at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) in 1993 after teaching piano and music theory for 40 years. Before her tenure at OBU, she graduated from Baylor University in 1946 and pursued graduate studies in piano performance at North Texas State University and later at the University of Oklahoma. She taught briefly at the Fort Worth Conservatory of Music and the Southwestern Baptist Seminary before moving to Shawnee with her husband, James, who had been newly appointed to the OBU faculty. After teaching for a year at Horace Mann Elementary School, she accepted a teaching position at OBU. She also taught piano privately for over 60 years. Mrs. Timberlake was born in Sherman, TX to Carey Law O’Bryan and Winnie Pearl Gulley O’Bryan on August 17, 1923. Her father owned several newspapers where she first developed her intellectual curiosity and received 5 cents per inch of text as a young reporter. Her parents’ generosity to the unemployed during the Great Depression formed her character — she remembered her mother feeding hungry men on the back porch when her father was not at home and at their table with the family when he was. Mrs. Timberlake’s brother, Carey Law O’Bryan, Jr., eight years her senior, encouraged her all her life. He died in 2011, leaving two sons and a daughter (Carey, Bob, and Pat) who were very dear to Mrs. Timberlake. While attending college during the Second World War, Mrs. Timberlake met and married her beloved husband of nearly 61 years, Dr. James Samuel Timberlake, who, after serving as a chaplain during the war in Europe, taught Hebrew, Greek, and Biblical Studies at OBU for 38 years. She gave birth to their daughter Mary Kathryne in 1947, and their family attended First Baptist Church in Shawnee, OK where she taught Sunday school and was a life-long member of the choir. Her 60 years at the church, her career at OBU, and her community involvement in organizations such as PEO for 68 years, the Shawnee Fine Arts Club, Delta Kappa Gamma and her professional organizations Mu Phi Epsilon, Pi Kappa Lambda, National Piano Guild, OMTA, and MTNA gave her a ministry of encouragement to everyone she met. A few years after her husband James passed away in 2005, Mrs. Timberlake moved to Atlanta to live near their daughter, returning to Shawnee annually for several years to visit her friends. In 2014, OBU awarded Mrs. Timberlake an Honorary Doctorate of Music. Dr. David W. Whitlock, the OBU president, said, “Through her commitment to the students of OBU, her high standards of academic excellence, and her devotion to Christian education, she has sought to bring glory to God through her work. In honoring Kathryne Timberlake, Oklahoma Baptist University is keeping faith with the high ideals we have set for granting such degrees. Her life exemplifies high standards, excellence in achievement, and genuine concern for others.” Kathryne Timberlake is survived by her daughter Mary Kathryne Timberlake MacKenzie, her son-in-law Craig Peter MacKenzie, her two grandchildren Kathryne MacKenzie Susong (married to Kirk) and Craig Peter MacKenzie, Jr. (married to Katie Johnson), and four great-grandchildren (John Trilby and India Kathryne Susong, and Elizabeth Lowell and Lucy James MacKenzie), all of Atlanta, GA. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be contributed to the Kathryne O’Bryan Timberlake Scholarship in Music Theory at OBU or to the OBU-Shawnee Community Orchestra, College of Fine Arts, OBU, Shawnee, OK. The Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, February 2nd at 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Shawnee. The Music Prelude will begin at 10:00 a.m. given by her family, former students, and colleagues. The family will be at the funeral home on Friday, February 1 from 4-7 p.m. to visit with family and friends.  
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