Oklahoma native James C. Leake, Sr., grew up on the farm his grandfather homesteaded in 1891.
He worked the soda counter at Rickner’s Bookstore and Restaurant in Norman while attending college at the University of Oklahoma and, as a trombone player, even took a job repairing the school’s band uniforms on a $10 sewing machine.
He became president of the band in 1938 and raised money for trips, where he often slept in the baggage car to protect the group’s uniforms and instruments.In 1940 Leake married Marjory Griffin, the daughter of grocery pioneer J. T. Griffin of Muskogee.
He became a salesman for Griffin Grocery Company and, during World War II, played an important role in expediting food shipments for the federal government.
Upon the death of J.T. Griffin, Leake assumed part of the management responsibilities of Griffin Enterprises. With his brother-in-law John “J.T.” Griffin, Leake established TV stations in Tulsa, Little Rock, and Oklahoma City.
His annual car auctions in Tulsa drew thousands of spectators from around the world.He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1979. His daughter Nancy Leake Sevenoaks tells the story of her father on VoicesOfOklahoma.com.