Funeral service for Temple Ralph Brite will be 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 3, 2023 at First Baptist Church of Claremore. Visitation will be at MMS-Payne Funeral Home from 1-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, 2023. Family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Mr. Brite will be laid to rest at Ft. Gibson National Cemetery in Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma. Mr. Brite passed away at his home in Claremore on Friday, February 24, 2023. He was 79 years old.
Temple Ralph Brite was born July 25, 1943 in South Gate, California, to Roy Brite, Sr. and Cecille (Parson) Brite. The family moved to Oregon, and later to Nashoba, Oklahoma, where he completed all twelve years of school. After graduating high school, Ralph proudly served in the U.S. Air Force with duty stations in Libya and England. He furthered his education at Spartan School of Aeronautics and Rogers State University.
Ralph met Nakita Ann Lawley, and they were married at First Baptist Church of Claremore on June 13, 1981. To this union one child was born, son Matthew William Brite.
Ralph is survived by his wife of 41 years, Nakita of the home in Claremore, Matthew and wife Amy, and granddaughter Mackenzie Grace Brite of Edmond, Oklahoma. Also surviving him are brothers Roy Brite of Golden Valley, Arizona, and Raymond Brite and wife Patti of Tulsa, Oklahoma, nephew Aaron Brite, and nieces Indigo Brite, Laura Hopper, and Stephanie Aery.
Ralph retired after 46 years as an aircraft mechanic crew chief for American Airlines. In 2013, he was a recipient of the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award for 50 years in aviation. The award honors Charles Taylor, aircraft mechanic for the Wright Brothers.
Ralph was a private pilot and gave many children their first flight. Through the years, he enjoyed scuba diving, air shows, caves, deer hunting, and traveling the U.S. He liked taking road trips, always stopping and reading every historical marker. He never learned to use Google, but always had a paper road map. Although he could pilot an airplane, he had difficulty with his smart phone.
Ralph was a quiet, simple, reserved man that learned hard work and a strong work ethic growing up on the family farm in Nashoba. He valued unsweet tea, God, and country. He was insistent about being on time, paying bills and taxes on time, donating blood, and voting in every election. As a handyman, he could fix almost anything, but was not so good with painting and woodwork.
In recent years, he spent time reading, working jigsaw puzzles, yard work, harvesting pecans, and playing cards and dominoes. His pride and joy was 18-month-old granddaughter Mackenzie Grace.
Memorial donations may be made to First Baptist Church, Claremore Nicaragua/Honduras Missions.
View and sign Ralph's online memorial at www.mmsfuneralhomes.com.