Former Tulsa Health Department Division Chief Dies Of COVID-19

Monday, December 28th 2020, 10:16 pm


A woman who spent more than 30 years serving her community at the Tulsa Health Department died over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19.

Pam Rask's oldest son said his mom changed so many lives with her smile and warm personality, and she died after helping so many others during the pandemic.

"This was a shocker to all of us," said Josh Copeland

Josh Copeland said his mom Pam Rask was a giver who cared about her career of giving to Tulsans almost as deeply as she cared for her family.

"She had a heart of gold, she really did."

Josh said Pam got COVID around Thanksgiving and had breathing problems which eventually put her in the ICU. She died on Saturday. She would have turned 62 on New Year's Day.

"Her heart rate and blood pressure dropped to 40, and her lungs took so much damage it would kill her," said Josh.

Pam had four kids of her own, and Pam's daughter Amber Copeland said her mom was also taking care of her two kids while she dealt with some personal issues. She said her mom loved and cared deeply and never gave up on her, and she got a tattoo with her mom's handwriting.

Pam worked at the Tulsa Health Department for 35 years and was a Division chief. Josh says his mom was incredibly passionate about her work.

"That's all she talked about was her job," Josh said. "She was so busy trying to do her best to help protect people from this that took her life."

Josh said this virus is so serious and urges people to take precautions. He said he was grateful he got the chance to hold Pam's hand on Saturday one last time during her final moments.

"The last minutes of her life, that was closure for me. She's in a better place," he said. "I'm gonna miss her. I'm gonna miss her a lot."

The health department said Pam was the epitome of a public health professional and had a huge heart for service.