Emily Raper was born on January 13, 1961, in Claremore, OK to Willie and Myrtle (Henson) Raper from Kenwood. Emily, a fluent Cherokee speaker, passed away on Saturday April 29, 2023, in Tahlequah, OK at the age of 62.
She attended Kenwood School, Salina High School, and Northeastern State University, where she made many lifelong friends. After college, she began her career with Cherokee Nation working in several departments to retire after 35 years of dedicated service. Emily thoroughly enjoyed going out to the communities to translate and interpret for Cherokee Speakers who needed tribal services.
On April 13, 2001, Emily was united in marriage to Aaron Robinson of Rockwall, Texas. At the time of her passing, they shared 22 years of marriage making their home in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
She was extremely proud of her children Alayna and J.W. for completing their college degrees and that Seth would soon be graduating with his degree.
Her most precious role was being Grandma to Evan, Taylor, Zoey, Elliott, and Zaylie. She enjoyed attending their school activities, plays, ballgames, dance recitals and lavished them with several trips to Disney World and Branson. Emily spared no expense when it came to her grandchildren and family.
She loved watching her grandkids play sports including basketball, softball, soccer and streamed their games online. She was their biggest supporter and number one fan.
Her love of sports began at a young age, she played basketball throughout her entire years of elementary and high school. Emily coordinated the softball tournaments for the Cherokee National Holiday for many years and enjoyed every minute. She loved the OU Sooners and was known to call or text family to share game times, scores, and rankings. Getting ESPN guaranteed she would not miss any games.
Emily supported all things Sequoyah High School and would follow the basketball teams to the Big House state tournaments. Emily would plan early to wait in line for hours to get the best seats. She would give specific instructions to family on saving seats using jackets, blankets, and anything they could find to sit at the half court line right behind the Sequoyah fan base.
Baptist by faith, Emily enjoyed serving in the church, where she could be found teaching Sunday School, volunteering for VBS, singing in the choir and helping wherever she was needed. She enjoyed Cherokee singing and sharing her love of the language with others.
Emily was loved by many from every walk of life. No matter the community or event near or far, someone would always seem to know her. She was one of a kind and was completely devoted to stand up for others. Proud of her heritage and reared in a strong Christian upbringing, she was a believer in God’s ordered steps in life. Emily will be remembered for her kindness and never missing an opportunity to say “siyo” or hello to everyone she met. Her legacy will carry on in the lives of her children, grandchildren, sisters, and family.
Emily is survived by her husband Aaron Robinson of Tahlequah, OK; daughter Alayna Farris and husband Zak of Tahlequah, OK; son Jesse Cornsilk of Tahlequah, OK; son Seth Robinson of Lawton, OK; grandchildren, Evan Farris, Taylor Cornsilk, Zoey Farris, Elliott Cornsilk, and Zaylie Farris; sisters, Esther & Lowell Russell of Anadarko, OK; Eleanor & Tony Butler of Hulbert, OK; Melody & Joel Turner of Robbinsville, NC; and many nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews
Emily is preceded in death by her paternal grandparents Jess T. and Lila (Bluebird) Henson, maternal grandparents George Raper and Jennie (Wickliffe) Raper, parents Willie and Myrtle Raper; brothers, Mark & James, and great-niece Kennedy Grace Brickey.