Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Earl C Intolubbe (Intolabbee)
Submitted by: Velma Intolubbe

Earl Colbert Intolubbe was born on April 10, 1905 at Pirtle, Indian Territory and was included on one of the last newborn rolls. He was the son of Colbert Intolubbe and Ada Mary Cole Intolubbe, who was also on the rolls as an inter-married citizen. Colbert had attended Jones Academy and was a bookkeeper for Cheap Jim’s Furniture Store (now Newman’s) in Durant. Earl was an infant when the family, including a sister, Cepha, moved to Durant. His father was accidentally killed when Earl was about two years old and the family moved back to the Pirtle farm and stayed for a while before moving back to Durant. Earl attended grade school and graduated from Durant High School. He was art editor for the high school annual as he was the next year for Southeastern State College annual. He attended Southeastern for a year and earned a teacher’s certificate. He began his teaching career at a rural school near Broken Bow, Oklahoma. He then taught at Clayton and Bennington, returning to Southeastern each summer to work toward his degree.

In 1927, Earl accepted a position to teach and coach basketball at Omega, OK northwest of Oklahoma City. The next summer, instead of returning to Durant, he enrolled at Central State to continue his studies. He attended Central for two summers and in the fall of 1929; he enrolled for the fall and winter terms and received his B.A. Degree in May 1930. Here, he also served as art editor for the annual, The Bronze Book. He also met his future wife at Central, Velma Goodner. They were married in 1932. After graduation, Earl accepted a position in the Oklahoma City school system and taught math at Roosevelt Junior High School, meanwhile working on his Mater’s Degree in School Administration, attending Oklahoma University during summers and evenings, He received that degree in 1939 and the next year was appointed principal of an Oklahoma City Elementary School.

Later he served as principal of Putnam Heights and Linwood Elementary School. Meanwhile, Earl had placed an application for position in the Bureau of Indian affairs but had not been offered anything comparable in salary or challenge to his current work. But in the fall of 1944, Earl was offered a position as principal of an Indian Service boarding school at Wrangell, Alaska. Although it meant trading a known for an unknown situation, selling a house and furniture and changing schools for a 10 year old daughter, 8 year old son and five year old son, he decided to accept the offer. In February 1945, he and Velma (who was also teaching in O.C.) left Oklahoma City in a 37 Ford, drive to Seattle and left on a steamer for Wrangell where he served from February ’45 to February ’50. Earl was then transferred to the Area Office in Juneau as an Education specialist in Guidance and spent the next three or four months traveling by boats, pontoon planes, ski planes and / or dog sleds visiting all the Alaska Native Service in Alaska since the people were not only Indians but Eskimos and Aleuts who objected to being called Indians.

About this time, a vacancy occurred in the BIA headquarters office in Washington, D. C. and again, Earl was offered (and accepted) a promotion-still as an Education Specialist (Guidance). For the next 11 years, he visited virtually every Indian Service school (day and boarding) in the country, offering suggestions for keeping children and youth interested in school. As a result of his findings and suggestions, Concho Demonstration School was set up in some already existing buildings on the Concho Boarding School campus north of El Reno, Oklahoma, with Earl as Superintendent. Classes were small so every student received the individual help needed. There were both elementary and high school students who were drop-outs from other boarding schools or from public schools and the purpose was to find out why they were drop-outs and try to prepare them to go back to another school. The school was in operation for about six years and the rate of success was about 60%.

Some students stayed only a few weeks and were ready to return to the school they had come from. Some stayed as much as a year and were still not ready to return to the mainstream. A dedicated staff attempted to make each student feel loved and wanted, which accounted for much of the success in getting them back to a regular school. When there was talk of combining Concho Boarding and Concho Demonstration School, Earl wasn’t interested in being Superintendent and decided it as time to retire. So he retired in July 1968 with the Interior Department Distinguished Service Award. But that was when he could do what he had always wanted to do- paint. His medium was watercolor and before long. he was entering shows, winning awards and selling his paintings. His work was exhibited in shows in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas and his pictures hang in homes and in public buildings from Florida to Alaska and from Main to California.

Earl is remembered by students and staff in the many schools he served, where his character and his sincere desire to help others along the way were evident. He joined the Methodist Church at an early age and remained a steady and faithful member, still working as long as he was able in the First United Methodist Church in Durant. He was a hard worker in Kiwanis Club and a volunteer in many community projects as long as he was physically able. Through the years, he earned medals and trophies for his painting, swimming, diving, track (half mile and cross country) and bowling. In 1977 he received a trophy for a poster he entered in a contest for Senior Citizens of Oklahoma. Earl Colbert Intolubbe was a credit to the Choctaw Nation and left three children and their families to follow in his footsteps. He passed away

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