Pink Carnations

Winnie Irene Brubaker

June 9, 1931 ~ January 19, 2021 (age 89)

Tribute

Graveside service for Winnie Irene Brubaker, 89 of Carrollton, Texas will be at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 25, 2021 at Grandfield Memorial Cemetery under the direction of Gray Funeral Home, Grandfield, Oklahoma. 

Mrs. Brubaker died from complications of a stroke in Dallas, TX on January 19, 2021. 

Viewing will be held on Sunday, January 24, 2021 from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the funeral home.  

She is survived by her only child, Craig Brubaker and his wife Terri of Plano, TX, her loving twin granddaughters Haley and Lauren, and her only surviving sibling, Mary Alice Parker of Rio Hondo, TX.  
Her husband Bill Brubaker, of the many Brubakers that have lived and grown up in Grandfield, predeceased her in 2003.

Winnie was 89 years young.  She was loved by her family and friends who all knew her as hard working, kind, caring, and loyal.  She joins her husband in eternal life in heaven.

She was born 6/9/31 in Hastings, OK.  Her parents were Charlie and Nellie Mae White.  She had one older and one younger sister and 3 brothers.  She was born and raised during the depression.  While she grew up poor, it provided her with essential life and survival skills that made her the wonderful person she was.

While she didn’t complete high school, she later got a high school GED through hard work and effort.

She married Bill Brubaker on 11/13/54 in Wichita Falls, and lived in Duncan.  Her son Craig was born 4/9/56 and was their only child.

While Craig was growing up, the family lived in Duncan, Clinton, Moore, Sapulpa, Enid and finally Wichita Falls, where Craig graduated from high school.  The Brubakers all remained in Texas for the rest of their lives.

She was old school - a hard worker, loyal and dependable.  She was happiest when she was working.  It created a sense of peace, self-worth and self-confidence for her.

There was no greater supporter, protector, provider, and giver of unqualified love than my mom.  No sacrifice was too great for her to give me everything she could.

She loved cheeseburgers and fries, from Whataburger and Chilis!  And pancakes from IHOP.  And she could cook up a mean batch of fried chicken and fried okra!

After her husband passed away in 2003, she was living alone at age 72 at the family lake house in Bowie, TX.  She decided to do what always made her the happiest – get a job.  So she went to the Walmart superstore in Bowie and applied, and got a minimum wage job working 40 hours a week.

According to Craig, "For my entire life up to age 48, she went by her middle name Irene.  But Walmart’s protocol is to call you by your first name and print that on your name tag.  So enter “Miss Winnie.”  That’s what she’s been called ever since 2004, reverently and lovingly by all who encountered her."

Walmart assigned her to the lawn and garden department and she loved it.  You would sometimes see her on a hot summer’s day loading bags of mulch into customer cars (yes, an old lady hoisting bags of mulch), even though the younger employees were supposed to do that.  And sometimes when Craig would drive to Bowie on a Saturday to take her to the local Dairy Queen for her favorite lunch on her lunch hour, he'd catch her at the top of a ladder moving heavy boxes.  Of course he would scold her and tell her to get down off that ladder!

Walmart management liked to take young first time employees and put them in lawn and garden supervised by her because they knew Miss Winnie would whip them into shape.  No sneaking off to text your friends, she would put you to work.

In 2011 at age 80, she called Craig to say she was tired of mowing the yard and dealing with repairs on the lake house.  She wanted to move to the Plano/Frisco area near Craig, Terri and her grandkids.  I assumed she would at the same time retire from Walmart.  But no, she applied for a transfer.  And she got that transfer at age 80 by special endorsement of her store manager, and began working at the Frisco Walmart superstore.  They asked her to work exclusively as a cashier.  She had cashier experience from lawn and garden in Bowie so she was well prepared and accepted the challenge.  

They sold her lake house, and sold most of her furniture in a three day long garage sale to downsize from 50 years of accumulating stuff.  She got a nice apartment in Frisco, had a nice car, and went back to work where she was the happiest.

She was not the typical cashier.  She engaged in conversation above the obligatory “did you find everything you were looking for” with anyone who would reciprocate.  She asked their name, winked at the little kids who wanted to hug her, and got to know their families.  People would opt out of the open register line to go through Miss Winnie’s long line, just to see her smiling face and have a nice visit while they checked out!  They became Miss Winnie regulars.  That’s just who Miss Winnie was.

Craig adds what you want about Walmart, but I am so thankful that they gave her a lifeline by hiring her because it helped her keep her mind and body active.  And their bet paid off.  So she was relatively healthy while working in Frisco.  At age 84, she unfortunately took a fall on the job and broke her collar bone.  The surgery weakened her and we concluded that she should retire after almost 12 years of service.  She had been working 40 hours a week since Mr. Brubaker  passed away.  I had tried to encourage her to scale back her hours, which Walmart would of course fully support.  But she said it would reduce her bonus, so she was having nothing to do with cutting back!

And I can’t say enough about her quality of loyalty.  That’s why employers wanted her on their team, and I was blessed to have her as my mom, and my dad cherished her as his wife.

As a loyal employee, if a customer came through her cashier line with questionable “price match” guarantee coupons from outside Walmart, she would challenge them.  Other cashiers would look the other way and just accept them as most coupon cheaters anticipated.  But Miss Winnie knew this would impact the company and her bonus!  She would politely tell anyone who objected if you would like speak to my manager she’s happy to call him over.

She was friends with all ages, races, colors and creeds who simply wanted to be her friend.  She was always a supremely loyal friend to everyone and would be the first to try to help anyone who needed help of some sort.  

I’m no different from anyone else in saying that everyone loves their momma, and I sure love mine.  So of course she was the best mom in the world in my eyes and we will all miss her but will forever hold her in our hearts!

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association Texas Chapter at https://act.alz.org/site/Donation2?df_id=32112&32112.donation=form1&_ga=2.55620909.769654708.1611260690-940374229.1610400763

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Services

Graveside Service
Monday
January 25, 2021

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Grandfield Memorial Cemetery

Grandfield, OK

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