Choctaw hosted a belated Arbor Day celebration May 5 featuring a tree planting ceremony dedicated to the late Christel Turek.
Choctaw mayor Chad Allcox encouraged residents to plant trees and plan for the future annually with Arbor Day.
Allcox took time to honor two outstanding members of the Choctaw community this year.
“I’d like to thank the Turek family for being here today. We honor Christel ‘Mama’ Turek who blessed the world from 1933 to 2022. The community of Choctaw was blessed by her ever giving heart and ability to put a smile on everyone’s face no matter what kind of day they were having,” said Allcox.
The Turek family emigrated from Germany to Choctaw in 1974, and opened the restaurant Old Germany in 1976 after patriarch, Heinz Turek, was laid off from a manufacturing plant.
With $300 to the Turek family name, they paid the $200 first month’s lease and bought $100 worth of dishes and silverware. The fine German cuisine was well accepted, and the rest is history.
After Heinz died, the matriarch led the family business serving up food, drinks and fun for decades.
After 43 years Choctaw’s Old Germany Restaurant officially closed in 2019, and the Choctaw Oktoberfest celebration, that was launched in 1991 and grew to attract 50,000 festival goers to Choctaw annually, came to an end.
Mama Turek would die a few years later, but her lasting impact on the community will last for many years to come.
A tree was planted and a marker was set to honor the legacy of Turek near Miskelly Playground in the park that hosted Choctaw Oktoberfest for nearly three decades.
Choctaw officials also took time to hoor a local Eagle Scout for his efforts improving the park.
“As we all know, Choctaw Creek Park is one of the most beautiful parks in eastern Oklahoma County, and that’s all due to our volunteers,” said Allcox. “Parker Mathis led a team of 25 through 165 work hours on two projects to improve the park. The team built the wooden stage, and restored the amphitheater area located in the woods of Choctaw Creek Park.”
Mathis was presented a citation to honor his dedication to improving the community.
“I’d like to thank everyone who helped me with the volunteer work,” said Mathis.