Skip to content Skip to footer


Telling the history of Claremore one story at a time

This story was written by Pat Reeder in March, 2024 as part of the Claremore Museum of History’s HERstory campaign during Women’s History Month.

Carlene Burkhard Webber never forgot the devotion to her native Arkansas, but she gave her heart to her new hometown very soon after moving to Claremore. Her father was transferred to this area to operate the huge shovel in the Peabody Coal mines.

Born Carlene Katherine Burkhard March 27, 1936 in Charleston, Ark., she was the daughter of Carl and Pauline Burkhard. They moved to Claremore when she was in third grade and that was the beginning of her love of friendship and service in her new community. This devotion led to her taking the office in 1991 as Claremore City Clerk.  Carlene retired from this role in 2005.

After graduating from Claremore High School in 1954, she worked for Standard Insurance in Tulsa. When Robert Webber returned home from the Korean War, the pair dated three years before being wed in Christ the King Catholic Church on Patti Page Boulevard in 1958. That was the beginning of a long and happy married life to include three children — Lisa, Rob and Mick — and a newfound partnership in the homebuilding and development industry. Bob took the lead in construction and Carlene in decorating.

Carlene was always available to help with community and school projects. After her husband’s death in 1988, the PTO mom and charity fund drive leader stepped up and accepted the encouragement of friends to seek the city clerk’s office.

As a representative of Oklahoma Court Clerks, she traveled all over the United States, advocating for court clerks, Oklahoma and her adopted Claremore. While she was revered as a “founding member’ of several local clubs and traditions, her greatest impact can be found as Claremore’s ambassador working with prospective businesses and staying close with established Claremore businesses and business leaders.

She enjoyed her role as a leader for the Claremore High School Class of ’54, gathering grads for annual homecoming ceremonies and unofficial events. She was a world traveler and weekly bridge player. Carlene found renewed purpose in serving as Chairman of the Board for the Rogers State University Foundation and Dollars for Scholars program. She found immense satisfaction in creating community-wide benefits via the Foundation. Thus, she naturally excelled at fundraising and volunteering thanks to her passion for promoting all things Claremore. Her work with Rogers State College Foundation was second only to her love of family and her long devotion to St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church.

Pat Reeder shared the following information about her best friend Carlene. In her early years at the Progress, before she knew Carlene very well, when someone contacted the paper about needs for any kind of fund, Donn Dodd would ALWAYS say, “call Carlene”. 

The friends traveled a lot together, both in state and abroad. Carlene went with Pat to the Associated Press Conventions and Pat accompanied Carlene to her Court Clerk meetings. They laughed that she didn’t go to Russia with her but her coat did. Carlene had a “puffy” red plaid coat which Pat wore. When several Eskimos asked to have their picture taken with Pat, her sons said it was because she looked like them (the Eskimos), “short and fat”.

Carlene was preceded in death by her husband, son, Robert Jr.; her parents; and brother, Charles Burkhard. Survivors are her daughter, Lisa and husband Dave Surritte; son, Mick Webber; grandsons Matthew, Andrew and Alex Weber and sister Carol Isaacs and her family.

Claremore Museum of History© 2024