D E C E M B E R
2 0 1 9
M A G A Z I N E O F T H E O K L A H O M A H A L L O F FA M E TELLING OKLAHOMA'S STORY THROUGH ITS PEOPLE SINCE 1927
G AY L O R D - P I C K E N S
SPIRIT OF COLOR: INCLUSION IN ART
LUCILLE LESUEUR: BECOMING JOAN CRAWFORD
TODDE LAWTON: TOBYMAC & DIVERSE CITYâ€™S TODDEFUNK!
OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: FATHER GREGORY GERRER
OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2019
THE NAME YOU TRUST,
THE NAME THE
INTEGRIS AND MAYO CLINIC. When you choose INTEGRIS, you’re not only choosing some of Oklahoma’s greatest medical minds, you’re choosing expertise that’s backed by more than 4,200 Mayo Clinic physicians and scientists. INTEGRIS is Oklahoma’s first Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, meaning our physicians work directly with Mayo Clinic physicians and scientists on complex diagnosis and treatment plans, ensuring that you always have access to the latest medical knowledge and advances.
That's Excellence. Working Together.
integrisok.com/mayo (405) 951-2277
DECEMBER 2019 VOLUME 24 • NUMBER 2 PRESIDENT & CEO Shannon L. Rich
VICE PRESIDENT Gini Moore Campbell CHAIRMAN, PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE Bob Burke
L E V E L S
D O N O R
DESIGN Skip McKinstry skipmckinstry.com
Friends of the Medallion.........$1,000
MAGAZINE OF THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME 2 From the Chairman Gov. Bill Anoatubby
From the President Shannon L. Rich
Individualism........................ $50 Perseverance.......................$100 Pioneer Spirit...................... $250 Optimism........................... $500
Mistletoe Circle.................. $2,500
3 Spirit of Color Bryon Perdue, Jr. & Amena Butler
Gold Circle..................... $5,000 Constancy Circle................$10,000 Mission Partner...............$15,000
For additional information contact the Oklahoma Hall of Fame
10 Todde Lawton: TobyMac & Diverse City’s “Toddefunk!” Gini Moore Campbell
1400 Classen Drive Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106
34 Castle Falls Carol Mowdy Bond
Telephone 405.235.4458 or Toll Free 888.501.2059 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the organization's website at
Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by return postage.
42 Lucille LeSueur: Becoming Joan Crawford By Alyssa Brandon & Larissa Adams
Unless otherwise noted, all images are courtesy of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
LIBRARY DISTRIBUTION MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE GENEROSITY OF DONORS STATEWIDE.
MISSION PARTNERS CANDOR THE CHICKASAW NATION MR. AND MRS. BOB BURKE CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA E. L. AND THELMA GAYLORD FOUNDATION THE PUTERBAUGH FOUNDATION STANDLEY SYSTEMS LLC
Oklahoma Hall of Fame Member Spotlight: Father Gregory R. Gerrer Mattie Barlow
54 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Gini Moore Campbell
The Oklahoma Hall of Fame Class of 2019, from left, J. C. Watts, Jr., Gray Frederickson, John Herrington, Tricia Everest, John T. Nickel, James C. Day, and Steve Largent. Chief Allen Wright (Kiliahote) was inducted posthumously. COVER:
CHAIRMAN... Earlier this month my two-year term as chairman of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame came to a close as we welcomed Woodward’s Bruce Benbrook as our new chair. In looking back over the last 24 months, I am extremely proud of the strides and growth of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the GaylordPickens Museum. More than 40 free family event days provided guests of all ages the opportunity to visit the Museum and school districts from throughout the state took advantage of our Teen Board-sponsored field trip program. Our Second Century Board of young professionals far exceeded their goals with its annual Oklahoma Born and Brewed fundraiser and the Teen Board nearly doubled in size due to the number of outstanding high school students wanting to support our mission. The library distribution program of our titles placed much needed resources on Oklahoma’s history and heritage in public and school libraries statewide and 115 high school students earned much needed funds
through our scholarship programs to continue their education. The Tulsa World | Lorton Family Gallery showcased Oklahoma’s most-talented artists and provided instruction as part of the exhibits. There are so many avenues in which to celebrate and share Oklahoma’s rich history. But the Oklahoma Hall of Fame has found, what I believe, to be the best and most effective way—by telling it through our people. It is the men, women, and children from every corner of this great state that make it the unique place that it is. In planning for your giving in the coming year, please consider increasing your support where possible to ensure the momentum of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum!
Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Chairman
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CHAIR-ELECT OF THE BOARD
BRUCE T. BENBROOK WOODWARD CHAIRMAN EMERITUS OF THE BOARD
MARK A. STANSBERRY EDMOND
VICE CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARD - EC
CHIEF GARY BATTON DURANT NEVYLE R. CABLE OKMULGEE KEN FERGESON ALTUS EDNA MAE HOLDEN KREMLIN XAVIER NEIRA NORMAN
JENNIFER M. GRIGSBY OKLAHOMA CITY STEVE BURRAGE ANTLERS TREASURER
PRESIDENT & CEO
SHANNON L. RICH OKLAHOMA CITY
CALVIN J. ANTHONY STILLWATER PAT HENRY LAWTON GLEN D. JOHNSON OKLAHOMA CITY ROXANA LORTON TULSA TOM J. MCDANIEL OKLAHOMA CITY JOE P. MORAN III TULSA LEE ALLAN SMITH OKLAHOMA CITY DIRECTORS
CLAYTON I. BENNETT OKLAHOMA CITY AMANDA CLINTON TULSA LINDA ENGLISH WEEKS NORMAN
Last month we celebrated the induction of eight extraordinary Oklahomans to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame—a perfect crescendo to a year of exceeding expectations. Our state’s highest honor inspires, challenges, and celebrates who we are as Oklahomans. And, with 2020 right around the corner, it is not too late to nominate Oklahomans you know who are worthy of induction. Please go to OklahomaHoF.com and download a nomination form today. Since 2007 the Oklahoma Hall of Fame has seen its greatest growth in the history of the organization. In addition to opening the GaylordPickens Museum, we have expanded existing programming significantly while adding new and exciting educational opportunities. We have a passionate staff, each dedicated to their discipline and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. However, we cannot do it alone. It is because of your generosity, both financially and with your time, that we have been able to successfully realize the growth we are celebrating. From Members of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame reading during free family
GOVERNOR BILL ANOATUBBY ADA
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AT LARGE
DEWEY F. BARTLETT JR. TULSA BARBARA BRAUGHT DUNCAN BOB BURKE OKLAHOMA CITY ANN L. CAINE OKLAHOMA CITY STAN CLARK STILLWATER MICK CORNETT OKLAHOMA CITY TERESA ROSE CROOK EDMOND BECKY DIXON TULSA BOB DRAKE DAVIS GENTNER F. DRUMMOND TULSA JEFFREY T. DUNN TULSA GREG ELLIOTT CHICKASHA CHERYL EVANS TONKAWA JANE JAYROE GAMBLE OKLAHOMA CITY ANNE M. GREENWOOD STILLWATER NATHANIEL HARDING OKLAHOMA CITY KIRK JEWELL STILLWATER
event days and teachers hosting a scholarship testing site in their area of the state to financial contributions to cover student supplies and support the maintenance of the Museum itself, it indeed takes each of us. In the coming year I hope your New Year’s resolution includes planning a visit to the GaylordPickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. There are many ways to make an impact on a “future” Hall of Famer—increase your level of giving; accompany students from your area on a field trip; and sign up to volunteer and celebrate the extraordinary men and women who have set the standard in every field of work and made our state great. We appreciate your support and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
Shannon L. Rich, President & CEO
CATHY KEATING OKLAHOMA CITY REBECCA KEESLING TULSA DAVID KYLE TULSA MIKE LARSEN PERKINS DUKE R. LIGON WEWOKA JUDY LOVE OKLAHOMA CITY JOHN MASSEY DURANT BILL MASTERSON. JR. TULSA JOHN M. MCARTHUR LAWTON FRANK W. MERRICK OKLAHOMA CITY S. BOND PAYNE OKLAHOMA CITY WHITNEY RAINBOLT OKLAHOMA CITY MAXEY REILLY OKEMAH BOB ROSS OKLAHOMA CITY BILL SCHONACHER OKLAHOMA CITY T.W. SHANNON OKLAHOMA CITY KAYSE SHRUM. TULSA CLAYTON C. TAYLOR OKLAHOMA CITY STEVEN W. TAYLOR MCALESTER SEAN TRAUSCHKE OKLAHOMA CITY STEVE TURNBO TULSA JIM UTTERBACK EARLSBORO HARDY WATKINS OKLAHOMA CITY SUSAN WINCHESTER OKLAHOMA CITY ALLEN WRIGHT OKLAHOMA CITY
THE PAST • E NRICH THE P RESENT • INS PIRE THE FU TURE
BY BRYON PERDUE, JR. & AMENA BUTLER
BY EMMA FRITZ
The artists that make up the Spirit of Color exhibition are exciting. This exhibition highlights artists of color within our state who have had thriving careers as practicing artists, and whose work has been displayed nationally and internationally. Their collective talents will not only educate, but inspire all Oklahoma artists to continue making art. Inclusion in Art (IIA) and the Gaylord-Pickens Museum have partnered to present and honor nine Oklahoma artists of color for their longstanding commitment to the arts, community, sacrifice, and achievements. Inclusion in Art hopes that this exhibition will continue to support artists of color by connecting diverse communities through socially conscious presentations that challenge the mind and embrace progressive thought. The artists implement a variety of mediums, including oil, acrylic, mixed media, ceramic tiles, monotypes, encaustics, and metal sculptures. The artists featured are Wallace Owens, Michi Susan, Al Bostick, Marty Avrett, Mary Ann Moore, Corazon Watkins, Edward Grady, Melvin Smith, and Rose Smith. The magnitude of these artists coming together is historic and no small feat. Inclusion in Art, a non-profit art organization located in Oklahoma City, has dreamed of accomplishing an exhibit such as this. “We understood how important and long overdue an exhibition of inclusion of Oklahoma artists of color would be to numerous Oklahomans, and this was the right time to do it,” declared Inclusion in Art Board Member Amena Butler. The artists chosen for the exhibition are living artists; it
SPIRITofCOLOR Thursday, February 6th through Thursday, April 30th
Opening Reception, Free to the Public:
Thursday, February 13th, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. RSVP on Facebook @oklahomahof or to Donna Merkt at email@example.com or 405-523-3231.
was very important to do this show now, as some of these artists are beyond eighty years of age. Suzanne Thomas Justice, co-founder of Inclusion in Art, emphasized, “This exhibit, I believe, is Inclusion’s most ambitious project to date. Inclusion’s mission has always been to be a resource for artists of color in Oklahoma. This exhibition does fulfill our mission.” Despite the challenges faced by artists of color working in early Oklahoma, these artists continued to make art, teaching others, and honing innovative skills in new techniques and materials. While they were creating their own space and communities, the world was going through changes too. World War II ended, Post-War art was popular in Europe, Pop and Abstract art was believed by some critics to be a fad, while others hoped that this fresh genre of art would be more welcomed. As abstract expressionism allowed for a degree of freedom and independence from visual references of the natural world, it also allowed these artists to create and shape their visual language with color and form, making sense of the world that surrounds them. Their compositions, perhaps, revealing a world without racism, negative stereotypes, inclusivity, and constraints they may have felt in their daily lives. Inclusion in Art is dedicated to promoting racial and cultural diversity in Oklahoma’s visual arts community through exhibitions, workshops, creative projects, and lectures. Inclusion in Art was founded in 2004 by three Oklahoma artists of color—Nathan Lee, Suzanne Thomas Justice, and Robert Skip Hill. Current board president of Inclusion in Art, Bryon Perdue, Jr., exclaimed, “I find the importance of this exhibition to be that it highlights artists of color that younger generations and newcomers to the community may not be aware of. These artists have been participating in the community as educators, curators, and prolific exhibiting artists during a time when inclusion was not widely practiced. I like to think of this exhibition as just the beginning of an examination into the history of Oklahoma’s growing arts community and those artists whose involvement contributed to that growth and minority involvement.” Inclusion in Art has been responsible for renewed interest in art coming from the minority creative class, the creation of the first database of contemporary artists of color living in Oklahoma, and has been recognized as one of the most successful initiatives dedicated to racial diversity in the Oklahoma arts.
Wallace Owens recounts his experiences studying in Guanajuato, Mexico where he painted works that today hang in Owens Art Place Museum.
Mixed-media artist Michi Susan in the gallery at JRB Art at the Elms. Photo courtesy of Charles Rushton.
Wallace Owens’ career in the arts began when he graduated from Langston University in 1959 with his degree in arts education. This education would take him to Greenville, South Carolina where he would teach for two years before moving to California for a short time. He would later return to Edmond, Oklahoma to earn his Master of Education from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma) in 1965. The following year Owens continued his studies abroad at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, earning his Master of Fine Arts in 1966. The same year, Owens began teaching visual arts courses at Langston University. He continued to travel and studied abroad at the University of Rome in 1970 as a Fulbright scholar and traveled to West Africa through Howard University in 1974. In 1980, Wallace Owens joined the art department of Central State University where he was an art professor until 2005. During this time, he was commissioned to create a twenty-two foot metal sculpture for the centennial celebration of Langston University in 1996. After Owens retired as an educator, he founded Owens Art Place Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma to exhibit art and encourage cultural and educational experiences in the community. His work has been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions at the University of Oklahoma Art Museum (now the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art), Kirkpatrick Galleries at Omniplex (now Science Museum Oklahoma), and the Melvin B. Tolson Black Heritage Center at Langston University. Owens continues his work in Guthrie at the Owens Art Place Museum.
A native of Tokyo, Japan, Michi Susan has called Oklahoma home for 40 years. By the age of five, she knew she wanted to be an artist and went on to study visual art at Japan’s Women’s University and Hosei University. After moving to the United States, Susan continued her studies at the University of Arizona. Shortly after she began cultivating her prolific career in the arts in Shreveport, Louisiana. Susan was first attracted to the work of the realists, but eventually she explored collage and mixed media, blending the delicate and the detailed in an extraordinary way. She says everything is worthy of a landscape collage—people, places, and experiences. She believes “everyone interprets art differently and it speaks to people in many ways—if you feel a certain way from somebody’s painting, that’s it.” In 1978, Susan moved to Oklahoma City and established her reputation as a mixed media artist. An award-winning artist, she is internationally recognized and is included in many private and corporate collections. She received the Paseo Arts Association’s Artist of the Year Award in 2007 and the Governor’s Arts Award in 2010. Later, due to her commitment and contributions to the local arts community, the Paseo Arts Association named an award in her honor.
At Basically Bostick Project, Inc., Al Bostick shares his journey from his acting beginnings in Louisiana to the prolific multifaceted career he has cultivated in Oklahoma City.
Marty Avrett discusses his time creating work in Europe and his ongoing fly fishing trips. He has kept many sketchbooks as journals over the years and documents all of his travels.
Multi-talented artist Al Bostick is known nationally for his work as an actor, choreographer, director, playwright, visual artist, and storyteller. He has been inspired by the arts of his African culture since his high school days in Louisiana, where he would go on to study theatre, acting, and directing at Grambling State University. In 1973 he received his bachelor’s degree and shortly afterwards made the decision to move to Oklahoma in order to continue his studies in theatre at the University of Oklahoma. During his studies Bostick would receive awards for Outstanding Student in Theatre, Best Supporting Actor, and an Outstanding Young Men in America award. He has since received honors such as a Governor’s Arts Award in education, a Citation of Excellence from the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and a spot in Who’s Who in America. Bostick is well known for his creative career and also for his contributions to the local arts community. He has been an instructor at the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre, supported the Neighborhood Arts Program, been artistin-residence for the City Arts Center, and for more than a decade he was an instructor and artistic director at Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) in Oklahoma City. In 1989 he also founded the renaissance arts organization Basically Bostick Project, Inc., in Oklahoma City, where he continues his work.
Marty Avrett is a highly accomplished painter of Native American (Coushatta/Cherokee/Choctaw) descent who grew up in Irving, Texas. Living in close proximity to Dallas allowed Avrett the opportunity to occasionally visit the art museum there where his love for the arts began. After graduating from Irving High School in 1960, he headed to California where he would receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1966 and his Master of Fine Arts in 1968 from the San Francisco Art Institute. Avrett received full scholarships while attending the Arts Institute and studied under internationally respected artist Richard Diebenkorn. In 1969 Avrett accepted a position to teach painting and drawing at Oklahoma State University where he was encouraged to cultivate his artistic career. From 1973-1974, he served as Artist-inResidence at the University of Lancaster in England and would later return in 1978 to paint for another four months. From 1987-1988, he again spent time abroad to work on his art in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuanto, Mexico. Avrett has exhibited his works nationally and internationally in countries such as England, Germany, Switzerland, and Mexico. His work is in museum collections in the U.S. and England as well as numerous private collections. Avrett retired from Oklahoma State University but stayed in Stillwater where he maintains his painting studio.
While working on her latest mosaic, Mary Ann Moore (Senoj) discusses the work involved in completing the “The Devon Centennial Mosaic Murals” in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown.
Corazon Watkins sharing her favorite aspects of making and discussing the textures included in her works. Her studio is full of works ranging from ceramic sculptures and paintings to the many assemblages that hang.
MARY ANN MOORE “SENOJ”
Award-winning artist Mary Ann Moore (Senoj) received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Oklahoma City University and Master of Education with Emphasis in Art from the University of Central Oklahoma. Shortly after receiving her MFA Moore was offered a position as an educator at Oklahoma City Community College where she would spend 40 years as a visual arts professor before retiring in 2014. During her career she has received numerous awards, grants, and commissions. She spearheaded several high profile projects throughout Oklahoma, including the Devon Centennial Mosaic Murals in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown. The project took several years to complete and provided valuable opportunities for her students to learn from and contribute to the project. She maintains a studio in Oklahoma City where she continues painting, making ceramics, and creating her well known mosaic works.
Born in the Philippines, Oklahoma artist Corazon Watkins became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1976. Since then she has worked to build a prolific career as a practicing studio artist in Norman, Oklahoma where she maintains her studio. Her paintings have been exhibited in Oklahoma at City Arts Center in Oklahoma City (now Oklahoma Contemporary), Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, and the Leslie Powell Gallery in Lawton. Watkins has exhibited nationally and internationally, receiving several awards and fellowships for her sculptures and paintings, including a residency in painting at the Fundación Valparaíso en Almeria, Spain. She has also exhibited in Mozambique, Africa; Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Mojacar, Spain, among other locations. As part of the Art For Embassies program, four of her works are part of the United States Department of State’s permanent art collection and have been exhibited in U.S. embassies in Europe, Africa, and the Philippines. Watkins received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, and her Master of Fine Art from the University of Oklahoma. She was an active member of the Oklahoma Visual Artist Coalition’s think tank, has been a member of the Firehouse Art Center’s board of directors in Norman and spent time as a professor of art at the University of Oklahoma.
Edward Grady’s home studio in Langston, Oklahoma has walls full of his vibrant oil paintings.
Melvin and Rose Smith opened the Oklahoma Museum of African American Art in Oklahoma City before returning to Minnesota.
ROSE AND MELVIN SMITH
Born in Rochester, New York, Edward Grady spent his formative years in New York and Pennsylvania before becoming the prolific artist he is today. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1971 and his Master of Arts in Education in 1976 from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. During his studies, he completed summer museum internships at the Smithsonian Institute and the Detroit Institute of Art. In the summer of 1970, he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Massachusetts. While there, he was strongly influenced by internationally renowned artist Jacob Lawrence. Upon completion of his Master of Arts, Grady completed a year’s internship at the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum in Rochester, New York. Following his internship, Grady accepted the position of Curator of Exhibitions and Education at the Museum of African-American Life and Culture at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas. He also taught Studio Art, Art History, and Art Appreciation courses at the college. After leaving Bishop, Grady taught in two Montessori schools in Dallas for 10 years. He spent the next 26 years as the Assistant Curator for the Melvin B. Tolson Black Heritage Center at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma. While at Langston, Grady also taught art courses in the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences and Art Appreciation in the University’s Honors Program. He retired from Langston in June 2015 and remains an active painter.
Rose Smith was born in Kansas City, Missouri but spent the majority of her childhood in Rondo, Minnesota. Rose began painting at a very young age and in middle school and high school received awards for her work. She began her career designing women’s clothing and display windows for retail stores before going to school for visual arts at the University of Minnesota. Rose has had a robust and varied career, including founding and directing a modeling agency and gift wrapping center. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Melvin R. Smith joined the United States Marine Corps and later attended school in Minnesota where he and Rose met and live today. Melvin received his Bachelor of Art in Journalism in 1975 at the University of Minnesota, but it was in 1983 when he began to find his artistic voice through his experimentation in collage and later sculpture. As the Smiths began cultivating their careers together as visual artists they also set out to travel and spend time in African American renaissance communities such as New York City’s Harlem and Chicago’s Bronzeville. Their travels and experiences led to exhibitions and gallery representation across the nation, eventually bringing the two back to Melvin’s hometown in Oklahoma. In 1997, the two opened the Oklahoma Museum of African American Art on NW 10th Street in Oklahoma City, maintaining it for several years before returning to Minnesota. Both artists’ works can be found in prestigious collections throughout the nation.
Stronger Together Two Companies, One Legacy
For more than 20 years Heritage and AmeriTrust have served their respective markets at either end of the Turner Turnpike. The two companies have had complementary strengths, but different names. They pursued a similar vision, but operated as individual entities.
Chairman of Heritage Trust S. Bond Payne Jr. and AmeriTrust CEO J. Harvie Roe.
This year, they are combining to form one powerful force for Oklahoma. Together, Heritage Trust and AmeriTrust have over 50 years of experience serving the Oklahoma community, working with over 600 clients and managing $3 billion in assets. Two companies now coming together to build one legacy.
TODDE TOBYMAC & DIVERSE CITY’S “TODDEFUNK!”
BY GINI MOOR E C AM P B ELL
1983 graduate of Oklahoma City’s John Marshall High School, Todde Lawton, known professionally as Toddefunk!, has had music in his soul for as long as he can remember. His is a unique sound—the perfect blend of funk and rock mixed with R&B and pop. Lawton grew up in a home filled with music, specifically the sound of funk and soul. He remembers listening to The Temptations, James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, and the Jackson Five. His aunt Karen exposed him to everything from Bread and James Taylor to Funkadelic. His grandfather was a Blue Note Jazz fan, while his grandmother loved gospel singer James Cleveland. Lawton recalls, “Bouncing through those households there was always great music, so music captivated me at an early age.”
Lawton has fond memories of weekends at his grandparents’ and watching the best variety shows the 1970s had to offer, from Soul Train to Hee Haw. Wanting to play like Buck Owens and Roy Clark, his grandmother bought him his first guitar while he was in elementary school. “The strings sat high off the neck and were a heavy gauge, they killed my fingers! I was such a baby about it at the time, I complained to my mom and she said, ‘if you are not going to practice, I am not going to pay for these lessons,’ unfortunately I quit playing, but not for long.” It was during 5th or 6th grade that his father brought home a bass guitar for him to try, a time when bass players like Bootsy Collins, Jaco Pastorius, Larry Graham of Sly & the Family Stone, and Stanley Clark were coming on strong. Lawton was
ToddeFunk!—the younger years.
Following high school, Todde Lawton, left, played with Mark Cruz and other local musicians.
“Toddefunk! is a complete musician. Playing bass is only part of what he does. If you want your music to feel good, he’s the one to call. He’s been in TobyMac’s band for over 16 years. TobyMac knows what’s going on.” Victor Wooten, Five-time Grammy Award Winner
listening to bass-driven music by The Commodores, Slave, Earth Wind and Fire, and Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Gap Band, among others. Prince, whose debut album was released in 1978, impressed upon Lawton that an artist did not have to be defined to playing one instrument; Prince was playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and singing. And, Sly Stone’s intro to “If You Want Me to Stay” made a huge impression on Lawton, it provoked a feeling. Lawton knew he was destined to play the bass. However, Lawton found it hard to stick with bass lessons and essentially became self-taught. He learned to play by simply playing, listening and imitating and copying the bass players he admired, and playing some more.
Todde Lawton, right, and his biggest fan—mother Glenda.
Concert photos courtesy and photos by Annette Holloway. TOP: Todde Lawton and TobyMac onstage during the TobyMac Hits Deep Tour. MIDDLE: TobyMac & Diverse City played Liberty University’s final Winterfest on New Year’s Eve, 2018. From left, TobyMac and Todde Lawton. BOTTOM: TobyMac performed at Kingsfest, at Kings Dominion Amusement Park in Doswell, Virginia. From left, Tim Rosenau, TobyMac, and Todde Lawton.
Q&A WITH TODDEFUNK! WHAT OKLAHOMA MUSICIAN/ARTIST HAS PROVIDED YOU THE GREATEST INSPIRATION? The Gap Band bassist Robert Wilson WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “ON-THE-ROAD” SNACK? Trader Joe’s mixed nuts, berries and dark chocolate DO YOU HAVE ANY RITUALS BEFORE YOU PERFORM? An hour before the show I get backstage and start getting dressed and hanging
out with the fellas… sometimes we may not have seen each other all day. This gives me a chance to get centered before we take the stage.
HOW DO YOU RECHARGE? I try to get as much rest as I can, but also being as creative and productive as possible while on the road. I don’t just let that time get away, I can’t get it back and there is still so much to do! IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ONE MUSICIAN, LIVING OR DECEASED, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? James Brown, because he was the blueprint. FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME? Too many to mention! WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST BECAUSE OF BEING ON THE ROAD? There isn’t anything that I miss while I’m on the road, that’s what I was created to do, everything harmonizes with that in its proper place. NAME SOMETHING ON YOUR BUCKET LIST. To Impact the world with my artistry and win my own Grammys!
TobyMac & Diverse City, from left, Mike “djMaj” Allen, Gabe “Gabreal” Patillo, Terrian Bass Woods, Keith “ProducerKeith1” Everette, TobyMac, Todde “Toddefunk!” Lawton, Tim Rosenau, Brian “BRamey” Ramey, and David “dDubb” Wyatt. Courtesy and Photo by Annette Holloway
In talking about his limited professional training, Lawton said “I still feel like such a student at times, and often I feel inadequate . . . I confess, I still have a weird insecurity, it has gotten much better over the years . . . but I love the instrument and I love learning and applying what I’ve taken in. I got a lot of grace because I had natural ability and talent and I had great musicians that saw the talent in me and helped to nurture it.” Lawton confesses he continues to challenge himself musically, even subscribing to online tutorial lessions, saying “It’s a journey for me, it will never get old. I’m forever a student.” During high school, Lawton played in stage band. It was during this time he began playing with vocalist Colleen Shepherd and got his first taste of “paying dues” in the local Oklahoma City club scene. Lawton also played bass for Mark Cruz in his Jazz Funk fusion quartet Cruz Control before starting his own band—Gibraltar—that was influenced by the Seattle grunge scene of the early 1990s and Electric Church, a Top 40 R&B cover band. Lawton attended worship services at Church of the Harvest in Oklahoma City where he played bass for youth group and eventually the adult worship team. It would be there he would learn of the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) industry based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Relocating to Nashville in 2001, Lawton eventually began playing bass for TobyMac, a seven-time Grammy Awardwinning CCM artist. “I had no idea that there was a progressive contemporary music industry at that time,” Lawton
Todde Lawton is one of the many instructors students spend time with when attending Camp Electric.
said. “The same guys I was playing with in youth group have gone on to be industry giants, Bart Millard and the guys of Mercy Me are a prime example.” Lawton finds inspiration from all genres of the Nashville local music scene, pointing out “There’s a lot of music here, not just country. So much creativity and great music happening everywhere.” As the bass player for Diverse City, Lawton thrives in being an integral part of something much larger than himself and his own personal agenda. With TobyMac & Diverse City, Lawton has played throughout North America and abroad. In regard to the music, he said “I keep the bass funky and movin’, always movin’.” Lawton also is the visionary, writer, producer, and frontman for World Without End—a concept, a lifestyle, and a movement. Simply real life, truth, and music. As an indie artist he released his first single, “New City” for Universal Music Group in 2018. Available on Spotify, Apple Music, and everywhere digital music is streamed, Prince’s song “1999” was a type of inspiration for this song. “I wanted to do something somewhat daunting, but with the hope of what Christians share in obtaining the kingdom. I’ve recently signed to new management, the Professional Group and Lucid Entertainment and have new music and content coming the first quarter 2020. The new year is going to be amazing in terms of opportunities for shows and brand partnerships,” Lawton said. When on tour, it is sometimes necessary to take a break whenever and wherever you can. Courtesy and photo by Caleb Cook
CAMP ELECTRIC Lawton, along with former TobyMac drummer, “B” Haley, birthed the idea of Camp Electric more than a decade ago. Held annually, Camp Electric brings together young Christian musicians and teaches band dynamics, the art of leading worship, and invaluable performance skills. Campers have the opportunity to learn from the industry’s best and interact and play with some of their favorite Christian artists. As an instructor at the camp, Lawton said “We have three to four bass classes per camp, with several instructors, so I see a different group of 15 to 20 kids every day. I teach what I do with TobyMac live, what I take to the stage, how I learn the songs and make them my own, how to play live, and how to serve the song and the band.” When asked what advice he would give those wanting to play music for a living, Lawton said “Practice, practice and still practice! Your faith and preparation will create the opportunity for God to open the right doors for you!”
When time allows, Todde Lawton loves returning home to Oklahoma City and catching up with old friends. From left, Todde Lawton, Gena Wagster Brooks, Mike Butler, Megan Fowler, and Kenneth O’Brien.
The music of Todde Lawton has been featured on the big screen in Sweet November starring Charlize Theron and Keanu Reaves, and in the score for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
“It’s been a long time coming, a culmination of life’s experiences, the good, the bad, the ugly. The extreme highs and deepest lows. From the moment I started playing bass, I knew I wanted to do something with what I had been given. It took me some years of climbing and falling down, but the music and the vision were always there. Life is like a ride that takes you places, some you don’t expect but no matter what you gotta’ have the soundtrack! That’s what World Without End is—life put to a funky groove. It’s real. There’s something for everybody willing to put it in their ear.” In addition to playing to sold-out arenas, Lawton’s bass playing also can be heard in motion pictures, including Sweet November starring Charlize Theron and Keanu Reaves, and the score for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. As a professional musician, Lawton has been on the receiving end of endorsements. Levy’s Leathers supplies his gig bags and straps and he uses Dunlop strings. His effect pedals are MRX and he uses Mackie recording products. Now available to the public, his partnership with Marco Cortes and Marco Bass Guitars produced the “Toddefunk Signature Jazz Bass.” For Lawton, TobyMac & Diverse City have become his “road family.” He is constantly challenging himself to be open and transparent with his family on the road when he is shouldering too much of a load. Lawton said, “It’s like family out there, it’s fun and sometimes it’s heavy, because there may be issues at home that are pressing, but no one sees that when I’m on stage you know? Everyday it’s real life.” Lawton was born to be a musician. The music in his soul was nurtured and celebrated from an early age by those around him. He feels Blessed that something he feels so passionate about and truly enjoys has become his life’s work. In turn, he is passing on to the next generation of musicians the opportunity to follow their dreams. Now the teacher, but forever the student.
Todde Lawton also can be found performing solo in a broad range of venues throughout the United States.
Todde Lawton, known professionally as Toddefunk!, has been playing bass for TobyMac & Diverse City for nearly 20 years. Courtesy and photo by Caleb Cook.
“Toddefunk! is one of the funkiest bass players I’ve ever heard, and has a style of his own that’s undeniable. I first learned of Toddefunk!’s bass playing while watching the Gospel Music Channel Network as TobyMac’s Alive and Transported DVD was playing. Since then I was hooked on his bass playing and was inspired to be the bass player I am today.” -Jamareo Artis, bass player for Bruno Mars 35 17
f you drive about one mile north
Territory’s Land Run of 1889, the
of I-40 on Oklahoma City’s North
couple purchased a rural farm located
MacArthur Boulevard, you may pass
southwest of Oklahoma City. The
one of the Sooner State’s richest
Blechas lived a modest lifestyle, yet
treasures and not even know it. Peeking
joined a Czech or Bohemian population
out between the trees on MacArthur’s
that was burgeoning into a dynamic
east side, and nestled into the side of a
hill, is a three-story castle.
Castles usually bring Europe to
mind. And that’s where this intriguing tale begins. In 1867, Europe’s multi-
nton farmed, possibly working in a saloon at times. Katerina kept their
home and raised their children. Sadly,
national Austro-Hungarian Empire
their sixth child, Mary, died in 1891 at
emerged, with a population of over 51
nine months old. They buried her under
million, at least
a cedar tree, on
12 ethnic groups,
and 15 languages.
corner of their
160-acre farm. As
a close-knit ethnic
and large numbers
headed to the
their loved ones
searching for freedom and a better
grave. So Anton and Katerina donated
quality of life. Among them were Anton
two acres for a cemetery. By Oklahoma’s
Blecha, born in 1856, and Katerina
statehood in 1907, the Czechoslovakian
Novotny, born in 1858, both born
National Cemetery, aka Bohemian
in the empire’s Czechoslovakian or
National Cemetery, was in place. The
Bohemian region. They ended up in
site, located at 2437 Southwest 44th
Chicago, Illinois, where they met. They
Street, remains an ethnic memorial
married in 1879 in Pawnee County,
island, surrounded by Oklahoma City
Nebraska. Shortly after Oklahoma
homes and businesses.
BY CAROL MOWDY BOND
Bill Blecha built a castle, fashioning it after a medieval castle he saw in Europe during World War I. During construction, he repurposed innumerable architectural pieces of historical significance, removed during the 1920â€™s and 1930â€™s urban renewal in downtown Oklahoma City. Photograph by Doug Hall | crushemedia. Courtesy Amy and Ralph Rollins.
Anton and Katerina, seated front row center, with their adult children. Standing, from left, are Bill Blecha, Helen Blecha, Frank Blecha, Anna Blecha, and Joseph Blecha. Seated far left is Rosa Blecha with Tony Blecha far right. Courtesy the family.
YUKON’S CZECH HALL Bill Blecha’s now-90-year-old niece Betty Cernosek, of Yukon, explains that Czech lodges were places for meetings, dances, dinners, and social events. Mike Blecha, of Grove, remembers his grandfather Tony, Bill’s brother, played the accordion, and his wife Tena played the piano. With their daughter and sons, they formed a band. In great demand, they regularly played polka music while people danced at Yukon’s Czech Hall. In 1899, members of Lodge Sokol Karel Havlicek and WFLA Lodge Jan Zizka No. 67 built a hall where Czech people could meet and socialize. Then in 1901 Czech immigrants built Yukon’s Czech Hall. Now a State and National Historic Site, a polka dance has been held every Saturday night at Czech Hall since 1930.
The baby of Anton and Katerina’s eight children, William Penn “Bill” Blecha, was born in 1895, probably on their Oklahoma Territory farm where he and his siblings grew up. A math whiz, Bill worked as a paymaster for the Miller Brothers, who owned the 101 Ranch. Family members claim that at some point, Bill headed to Costa Rica where he mined for gold. But when World War I was declared, he returned to California. Both Bill and his brother Anton Jacob Blecha, aka Tony and A.J., enlisted in the military. Tony was two years older than Bill. Assigned to the 23rd Aero Squadron, Bill was part of the U.S. Army’s World War I aviation initiative. The 23rd was established June 23, 1917, and included aircraft maintenance personnel. By September 1917, Bill was an Air Force mechanic stationed at Hempstead, Long Island, New York. By November 1918, Bill was in France. It is unknown whether he fought in or was near the Battle of Belleau Woods. The U.S. Marine Corps still considers the Battle of Belleau Woods, France, to be an iconic
In front of the rock house that Bill Blecha built for his family on North MacArthur Boulevard are, from left, Bill’s sister Rose, mother Katerina, and sister Anna. Courtesy the family.
Gathered in front of the original rock house for a family photo are Katerina Blecha, seated and Bill Blecha’s mother, holding Shirley Zoubek and JoAnn Krivanek. Left of Katerina is Betty Cernosek and right is Sylvia Zoubek. Standing, left to right, are Emma Blaha, Clement Cernosek, Clara Kriovanek, unknown, Millie Blaha Salda, Lillie Soubek, Willia Dee Blecha, and Mabel Blaha. Courtesy the family.
World War I battle. Occurring during three weeks in June 1918, the battle against German troops resulted in an American victory, but with a heavy toll. The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery is now part of the forested area and is home to almost 2,300 soldiers’ graves. While stationed in France, a castle caught Bill’s eye and fueled a dream. Likely named Château de Belleau, and now known as Le Cháteau de Morey, in Belleau, France, the 16th century castle still sits at the edge of the seemingly impenetrable forest known as Belleau Woods. Bill vowed to build a replica of the citadel when he returned home to Oklahoma City. After the war, Bill graduated from Oklahoma City’s Draughon’s Business College, which
opened in 1903 as Draughon’s Practical Business College. As well, he was a manager for Manhattan Construction Company with duties that included demolition and disposal. This gave him access to architectural pieces of historical significance, removed during the 1920’s and 1930’s urban renewal in downtown Oklahoma City. As Bill salvaged pieces from demolition sites, he often held onto them. In 1928, Bill married Winifred Opal Williams. Opal, born in Missouri in 1904, brought to the union her young daughter from a previous marriage, Willia Dee, whom Bill adopted. Willia
Bill Blecha’s niece, Betty Cernosek, remembers family reunions being held on Bill and Opal’s property, which at the time was located in the rural countryside. In an undated reunion photo on the very far left is Willia Dee. Behind her is Opal. The young girl standing beside Willia Dee is Betty Cernosek. Behind Betty is her mother, Anna Blecha Cernosek. Behind Anna is Bill and Anna’s mother Katerina. Courtesy the family.
One of the many Blecha Family Reunion photos. Courtesy the family.
SALVAGED PIECES USED IN THE CASTLE’S CREATION • Bill took the old Capitol Hill High School gym floor, replaced in the 1930s, and installed it as the castle’s third floor. Rounded glass pieces, from a downtown Oklahoma City store front, are also located on the third floor. • In the castle’s cellar, now the location of the Castle Falls restaurant area known as The Cellar, the fireplace grill most likely came from the Colcord Hotel. All the marble in the castle and The Cottage are from the Colcord. And many of the castle doorknobs are marked with CC, the initials of Charles Colcord, the developer for the Colcord Hotel which was completed in 1910 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. • Pieces from the Oklahoma City Downtown Airpark, originally located at 1701 South Western, also were used in the castle. • On the second floor, the massive hutch in the castle kitchen came from one of the Veazey Drug Company locations in downtown Oklahoma City. Bill constructed the rest of the kitchen cabinetry to match the piece. Bill and Willia Dee designed, laid, and grouted all the kitchen tile work together. • The wood railings for the castle stairs from the second to third floors, including the connectors to the wall, came from the Oklahoma County Courthouse.
Dee was born in Vinita in 1923. For a short time after Bill and Opal married, they lived with his sister Anna and her husband Frank Cernosek. During this time, Anna and Frank’s child Betty was born in 1929. Frank was a shoe repairman and had his own shoe shop. Bill, Opal, and Willia Dee eventually set up housekeeping in a tiny, rock-sided house that Bill constructed on their property. At the time, their property sat in the rural countryside on North MacArthur Boulevard. Bill and Opal always had a big garden, which Opal worked hard to maintain. As well, Opal was a superb seamstress. She could look at a garment in a store, go home, and usually stitch it up without using a pattern. Opal specialized in wedding dresses, but she also made winter coats. She took a class in hat making and began making hats. Bill, Opal, and Willia Dee remained close to his extended Czech family. Even though his parents and some relatives spoke the Czech language in their homes, Bill and Opal did not. Bill understood the language well. But Opal did not know or understand the language. In 1933, Bill’s father Anton died. His mother Katerina lived with various relatives. Not fond of city life, she ended up living with Bill and his family in their small home. Because Katerina only spoke a few words of English, she and Opal could not communicate well. Katerina died in 1941. Bill noticed that an architectural catalog featured his beloved French medieval castle. This reignited his passion to build a replica. With a plethora of salvaged pieces from downtown Oklahoma City sites, in January of 1945 Bill, Opal, and Willia Dee began construction of Bill’s dream castle. Because of his job at Manhattan, Bill could only work evenings and weekends on castle construction. Opal did everything she physically could, including making all draperies. She also helped install the carpet. As well, Opal continued to maintain the family’s large garden. Bill removed existing trees from the property,
replacing them with cedar trees. Bill included a special freezer room in the castle’s basement, where they kept their harvested garden produce. He and Opal worked side by side until 1950, when they finished their castle, which Bill named “The Cedars in Normandy.” Mike Blecha recalls childhood visits to Uncle Bill and his family in their castle. Mike, his brother, and their parents thought the castle was fascinating. Willia Dee graduated from Putnam City High School in 1941 and attended Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State University. During World War II, she worked for Douglas Aircraft at Tinker Air Force Base as a “Rosie the Riveter.” Willia Dee’s was the first wedding held in the castle. Opal made the wedding dress for Willia Dee’s 1956 wedding, which was held on the second floor. On the arm of her dad, she walked down the stairs from the third floor. Bill built a house, “The Cottage,” on the castle grounds, where Willia Dee and her husband lived until 1994. Bill and Opal Blecha in their 1928 wedding day photo. Courtesy the family. Bill and Opal Blecha’s daughter Willia Dee walking away from the home built by her father Bill Blecha in the rural countryside on North MacArthur Boulevard in Oklahoma City. Courtesy the family.
Bill and Opal Blecha’s daughter Willia Dee was the first bride married in the castle. In walking his daughter down the stairs, Bill’s hand is on the stair rail—the rails and connectors came from the Oklahoma County Courthouse. Opal made Willia Dee’s wedding dress, which hangs on the castle’s third floor. Courtesy the family.
The Castle Falls grounds are peppered with numerous seating options for dining, photo ops, events, and areas where guests may sit and chat. People often offer pieces of history for Castle Falls. One example is the white concrete picnic tables, far right, which came from Oklahoma City’s popular Charcoal Oven, established in 1958 and closed in 2016. Photograph by Doug Hall | crushemedia. Courtesy Amy and Ralph Rollins.
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES FOR THE CASTLE • Southern Living chose Castle Falls as Oklahoma City’s Best Place for a Date Night, 2019 • TripSavvy.com listed Castle Falls among their eight Top Romantic Restaurants in Oklahoma City, 2019. • bestthingsok.com listed Castle Falls as “the most romantic restaurant in Oklahoma City. It’s an authentic castle that will make any woman feel like a princess”, 2019. • Trip101.com listed Castle Falls on their list of The Best Fancy Restaurants in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 2019. • Delishably.com listed Castle Falls among their 14 Totally Unique Restaurants in Oklahoma You Have to Try! and described The Primrose dining area as a “medieval romantic rendezvous”, 2018. • culturetrip.com included The Cellar dining area in their list of The Best Restaurants in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 2017. • The Journal Record gave Castle Falls their Beacon Award for Charitable Influence Small Business, 2016. • WesTen Neighborhood Association named Castle Falls as an Outstanding Business Leader with the Council Grove Momentum Award, 2015. • Diner’s Choice Awards listed Castle Falls among their top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the United States, 2011, 2012, and 2014 • Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma gave Castle Falls the Good Neighbor Award, 2010.
Still standing on five acres, but surrounded by Oklahoma City, Blecha Castle has three levels that Bill framed with 24” thick walls poured from 55 truckloads of Dolese Concrete. Using the salvaged pieces he kept from demolition sites, including a prehistoric mammoth tooth, Bill repurposed them into the castle. In fact, almost every part of the castle had a former life. The Cottage, and a chicken coop that Bill built, are also still standing. Bill double purposed the chicken coop, using it as his woodworking shop. He even built wooden clocks.
n 1988, Opal died. One year later, Bill died at the age of 94. Hilda Vormann purchased the castle in 1994, turning the cellar into the German restaurant Keller in the Kastle. She also lived on the property. Amy and Ralph Rollins next entered the picture. Ralph holds a B.A. in Marketing Business from the University of Central Oklahoma. Amy earned her M.A. and B.A. in Communications from Oklahoma State University. In 2004, Amy and Ralph purchased the castle and grounds. They renamed the restaurant and special events venue “Castle Falls,” began restoration and improvements, and reopened the restaurant in 2005. And, they embarked on extensive landscaping of the fiveacre property and built and opened The Grande Hall, a huge medieval event venue beside the castle in 2007. In 2015, they hired Chef David Sullivan to oversee all culinary endeavors. Sullivan has served as an executive chef in the Oklahoma City area for more than 25 years. The Blechas used the first level, or cellar, as their family den. Now a nine-table area, The Cellar at Castle Falls, and the outdoor gardens, offer European cuisine in an old-worldpicturesque, informal setting. The one-car garage is now the kitchen, complete with the Blechas’ original walk-in refrigerator. The castle’s second level is The Primrose at Castle Falls. The dining area offers a semi-privatedining experience, and a five course menu.
After enlisting, Bill wrote letters home. He always signed his name as “Billy.” Courtesy Betty Cernosek.
WRITING HOME • “January 27, 1918 We are not going across just yet, although we have our oversea equipment, and we are ready to go” • “February 15 1918 What do you think about the Tuscania sinking? We were supposed to be on that boat but for some reason or another we were delayed. And now we are under a quarantine on account of scarlet fever, so we wont (sic) get out of it for at least a week....I wish they would send us across and get it over with.” • On February 5, 1918, the U-77, a German
By November, 1918, Bill Blecha was stationed in France, where a castle caught his eye and fueled a dream. He vowed to build a replica of the citadel when he returned home to Oklahoma City. Courtesy the family.
U-boat or submarine, torpedoed and sank the SS Tuscania, killing 200 Americans. The Tuscania was part of a joint service transport from New York to Glasgow, Scotland, and Liverpool, England. The U in U-boat stands for unterseeboot or “undersea boat.” • “April 28 1918 I have a hanger [sic] now with six Aeroplanes [sic] in it. Im [sic] the Chief and have nine mechanics working under me. We have to keep them in flying condition.” • “Somewhere in France November 19, 1918 France is a beautiful country.”
Bill Blecha featured in a movie still. The image was marked “Bill Blecha— Spooky Gulch Outlaw of Moffat County, Co.” Courtesy the family.
BILL BLECHA AND THE 101 RANCH A math whiz, Bill Blecha worked as a paymaster for the Miller Brothers, who owned the 101 Ranch. While working at the 101 Ranch, Bill was immersed in an amazing world. In 1879, Confederate Veteran Colonel George W. Miller founded the 101 Ranch, which sprawled across the Cherokee Outlet or Cherokee Strip. The Miller sons, Joe, Zack, and George, were known as the Miller Brothers. The 101 was a working farm and ranch that included agricultural experimentation and became its own self-contained city with everything needed, including an electric power plant, a telephone system, and even a dairy and ice cream plant. From this “Fabulous Empire” emerged the world-renowned 101 Ranch Real Wild West Show, which sometimes wintered in California. As well, the 101 Ranch Bison Film Company formed, using hand cranked movie cameras to make some of the nation’s early silent Western films. The company filmed movies on the ranch, and then filmed early Westerns in Hollywood, using their own cowboy, cowgirl, and Native American actors, and in the process, giving rise to some of the first Western movie stars. The 101 mushroomed into 101,000 acres that rolled across today’s Noble, Pawnee, Osage, and Kay counties. The Millers printed their own money for payroll purposes. Employees could use 101 money or federal money to purchase items at the 101’s commissary. The ranch employed thousands of people, and contained a population of around 3,000 at any given time. Homes for employees, along with guest houses, were available on the ranch. The 101 Ranch Real Wild West Show performed for the last time in 1931. By 1932, the ranch’s remaining assets were gone. What remains of the 101 is now a National Historic Landmark located six miles southwest of Ponca City.
Bill Blecha, right, and his brother Anton Jacob Blecha, aka Tony and A.J., wearing Western clothing that includes wooly chaps. This type of clothing was commonly worn in Western movies. However, photo shops kept such clothing and a person could pay to have his photo taken in this Western wear. Courtesy the family.
The Blecha family bedrooms were all on the third floor. It’s not unusual for men to reserve the entire third floor, now called The Master Level, to propose marriage to their sweethearts. But grooms aside, there are four unique, private dining areas on The Master Level: • The Master Closet offers a quirky and fun Bohemian experience for up to four guests. • The Master Suite seats up to 16. Several 1930s downtown Oklahoma City glass and wood store fronts add to the ambience. Amy has been collecting wedding dresses from seven decades to display in the store fronts, including the dress Opal Blecha made for Willia Dee. • The Guest Room seats up to four.
• Up to ten people may dine in The Turret Room, while looking out over the castle grounds. The Grande Hall is an event venue for anything imaginable, including weddings, receptions, corporate events, and reunions. Wedding Folly, an outdoor wedding venue, sits near The Grande Hall and there are numerous outdoor areas peppering the grounds. The chicken coop fell into disrepair, but received a full makeover. It’s now the hangout for grooms and their groomsmen before weddings. Castle Falls sits in the southeast corner of the historic Council Grove area, originally located eight miles west of Oklahoma City and dense with trees. Native Americans used the Council Grove area for their council meetings, due to the good spring water, and the large groves of trees. In 1858, Jesse Chisholm established a trading post at Council Grove. The area was also a timber reserve, with the timber used for Fort Reno. When the United States opened the Unassigned Lands for the Land Run
of 1889, Council Grove was originally exempted from settlement. But the United States began selling the land in December 1896. The name of today’s Council Road originates from the Council Grove area. Informed by her love of the aesthetic, history, and the wow factor, Amy looks for ways to re-imagine the Castle Falls experience. All of the luscious plants on the grounds came from starter plants that friends gave Amy. People continue to offer pieces of history for Castle Falls. When Oklahoma City’s popular Charcoal Oven, established in 1958, closed in 2016 many of the iconic white concrete picnic tables found their new home at Castle Falls. Now in their 15th year at the helm of Castle Falls, Amy and Ralph live in The Cottage while maintaining the historic integrity, intimate atmosphere, and old-world charm of the one-of-a-kind castle, The Grande Hall, and all amenities on the grounds. And, in the process, they’re taking a reimagined castle into Oklahoma City’s dynamic core.
The Grande Hall, a medieval event venue, was built beside the castle in 2007.
By Alyssa Brandon and Larissa Adams
here she was in the second line of the chorus of J.J. Shubert’s “Innocent Eyes.” She had never been considered good enough to be in the front line. As the music played and the girls danced, the audience watched and cheered. Harry Rapf was a talent scout in the audience that night and had his eyes on Lucille LeSueur from Lawton, Oklahoma. Rapf arranged for a screen test for MGM Studios. After the third test, Lucille was called back and signed a five-year contract. It was her big break. She moved to Hollywood and changed her name. The little dancer changed her name after signing with MGM because the studio said her name was too long for a marquee. The name “Joan Crawford” was suggested in a name contest held by the studio. Despite her rough childhood, Joan faced diversity head on and climbed her way to the top of stardom. She got her start as a dancer, made her mark as a glitzy and glamorous actress, and gave her children the upbringing she never had. Her birthdate has always been a guessing game. Some have it as March 23, 1905, the recorded date in the 1920 census. According to Joan, though, she was born March 23,
1908. No one ever proved her wrong as there was no birth certificate issued at the time of her birth. Born in Texas, she was still a baby when her father left the family and her mother, Anna Bell, moved to Lawton. There Anna Bell married Henry Cassin. Lucille was five years old and credited her stepfather with influencing her interest in dancing. Henry operated the Ramsey Opera House in Lawton and often allowed his stepdaughter to hang around the shows. Henry gave her the nickname “Billie” when she was small because she acted like a tomboy. She absolutely loved being in the theater with her stepfather and the actors. Her parents would have to make her come home. Her stepfather was often overheard saying, “No dear, your mama will be sore enough about you staying this long. Now scoot!!” Lucille loved following her older brother, Hal, around, but he absolutely hated it. Lucille was constantly in trouble as a child both at school and home. School life for her was rocky because children would tease her about her beloved stepfather Henry. She would get into fights and end up in trouble at both places. Her mother believed in stern discipline.
Joan Crawford and the first of her five adopted children— Christina.
Operated by her stepfather, Lucille LeSueur enjoyed spending her time backstage at the Ramsey Opera House in Lawton.
While living in Lawton, Lucille LeSueur, better known as Joan Crawford, lived on D Avenue with her stepfather Henry Cassin, mother Anna Bell, and brother Hal.
In 1969, Joan Crawford received the Cecil B.deMille Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Entertainment Industry from John Wayne.
Joan Crawford began her career as a dancer
However, she did get good grades in school because if she brought home good grades, her parents rewarded her with being able to stay backstage at the theater. Soon, Lucille was dancing along with the performers. Her stepfather even paid for her dance lessons. The performers always loved having her around. They put makeup on her, dressed her in costumes, and taught her famous dances like cakewalk and buck and wing. She devoted all of her time and effort into becoming a famous dancer. When Lucille was around the age of six, she had jumped off the porch and landed on a piece of glass from a broken milk bottle. The glass cut her tendons and arteries. She had to have two different surgeries and was bedridden for months. The doctor told her parents she would always have a limp when she walked and would not be able to dance. But Lucille had a dream and was determined to fulfill it. She practiced dancing all summer. Finally, she could do whatever she wanted with no limp at all. One night she went exploring in the basement and found a big burlap bag full of gold coins. Not long after her discovery, she and her brother were sent to stay with an aunt in Kansas while her stepfather was tried for embezzling gold. He was eventually acquitted, however the marriage to Lucille’s mother did not survive. Now living in Kansas City, Lucille was enrolled at St. Agnes Academy. She worked her way through school with a number of jobs, including waiting tables and as a switch board operator. She devoted all of her free time and effort into becoming a famous dancer. She never wanted to work her life away like her mother did, for minimum wage, scrubbing clothes. She began dancing in large cities. In Detroit she started working at a local club called Oriole Terrace. Most of the 30 other ladies did not like her. She had only one friend that guided her and took her under her wing. She showed young Lucille how to kick high even at the last kick, put on seducing makeup, and give those male customers provocative looks. While she was working there, a gentleman named J.J. Shubert gave her an opportunity to go on the road and do a show called “Innocent Eyes.” She danced for Shubert for two years. When Lucille was discovered by Harry Rapf at MGM, she was given an audition, but did not really care to go. She had no intention of becoming just a plain actress. She went anyway and two weeks later received a telegram with details telling her she was given a five-year contract. Pete Smith, who worked in the publicity department at MGM, wanted Lucille to change her name, so the studio held a contest for the public to pick a name for their new actress. The winning name was “Joan Ardery,” but they ran into trouble with that name because a woman came forward and said that was her
Joan Crawford received an OSCAR for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1945 for Mildred Pierce. In 2012 the OSCAR sold at auction for more than $400,000.
name. So the runner-up name was “Joan Crawford,” which she automatically hated, but came to live with. From there her acting career flourished. Joan’s days as a young flapper girl were over. She starred in many movies for MGM. She began seeking and receiving more serious roles, the first in Possessed with Clark Gable. Joan dated a handful of Joan Crawford with, from left, Christina, Christopher, and twins Cathy and Cindy. Christopher, the second son adopted by Crawford, was originally given the name Phillip Terry, Jr.
different beaus in Hollywood. One was Douglas Fairbanks. While their first impressions of each other were not the best, they eventually grew fond of each other’s company. He called Joan every day and wrote poems with his own special drawings for her. Joan tried to become the woman Douglas wanted. She tried to change how she talked, dressed, and even how she interacted with her friends. They were married in June, 1929. Joan wanted children, but had multiple miscarriages. After their first year of marriage, things started going south and the couple divorced. She fell in love with fellow leading man Clark Gable before marrying Franchot Tone. They both loved to act so much that they built a little theater behind their home. They put on little acting gigs for friends. Their relationship was wonderful at first, but Tone’s drinking made him abusive and the couple divorced. Joan adopted her first child, Christina, in 1940, and Christopher, in 1941. However, Joan was heartbroken when, after raising Christopher as her own, his biological mother wanted him back. She married Phillip Terry in 1942, the same year Christopher was returned to his birth mother. Sometime later Christopher’s mother sold him to another couple. In all, Joan adopted five children. Over the next several years, Joan continued to rise to stardom and was named the “Queen of the Movies” by LIFE Magazine. Her marriage to Terry ended in divorce, although they remained in contact for the remainder of their lives. Her fourth marriage was to Pepsi-Cola President Alfred Steele. From 1925 to 1970, Joan Crawford made more than 80 films Although “Joan Crawford” was created in Hollywood, the passion for performing by a young “Lucille LeSueur” was born in the western town of Lawton, Oklahoma.
While married to Pepsi-Cola President Alfred Steele, and even for a time after, Pepsi products appeared in many films featuring Joan Crawford. She became known as the “Queen of Pepsi.” Crawford was one of the early actors that benefitted financially from product placement, featuring more than 70 products ranging from make-up and clothing to bicycyles and airlines.
Former Oklahoma Hall of Fame Teen Board Member and Intern By Nick Sayegh, Western Heights High School, Class of 2020
eens are experiencing an unprecedented reality where the priority of standardized testing and honor-roll status are being replaced by community engagement and volunteerism. Likewise, many of today’s youth are searching for opportunities to get involved with outside of the classroom while concurrently making an impact for those around them. While teens remain active in standard extracurricular activities such as sports and student organizations, an increasing number of teens today are involved with political organizations, corporate internships, and non-profit boards. As a result, teens are demonstrating the power of community engagement more than ever by actively participating in community affairs while working to eradicate many of the problems society is facing.
A prominent example of someone who epitomizes such values is former Oklahoma Hall of Fame Teen Board member and intern Britton Stowell. After graduating from Edmond Memorial High School, Stowell attended Oklahoma State University where he aspired to use a Strategic Communications degree to convey the legacies of others. Following his prestigious internship at the Big Machine Label Group, he decided to take his newly-acquired skills, alongside his instilled Oklahoma values, to sunny Los Angeles California.Today, Stowell serves as an associate manager at Activist Artists Management, notable for managing celebrities such as Oklahoma-native Ben Rector, as well as Dead & Company,The Lumineers, Dwight Yoakam, and David Alan Grier, among others.
Britton Stowell attended the Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, earlier this year.
About Britton Stowell: • Oklahoma native • Resides in Los Angeles, CA
Britton Stowell, front row third from left, and members of the Teen Board attended a Naturalization Ceremony as guests of Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange.
• Graduate of Edmond Memorial High School and Oklahoma State University
• Interned at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Big Machine Label Group in Nashville, TN
• Currently, Associate Manager at Activist Artists Management
• Formerly, Assistant to the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications of ICM Partners
WHERE ARE THEY N O W ? With his post-college aspirations aligning with the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s mission, he became a dedicated member of the Teen Board. During his three years on the board, Stowell served as a committee chair, vice-chairman, and chairman, respectively. Along the way, he was able to learn many skills that have stuck with him in his career, including effectively communicating and professionally socializing. Sadly, many of these skills are crucial to a successful career, yet are not a part of the high school curriculum. However, with his passion for the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Teen Board and aspirations to give back to his community, he was able to, in his own words, “take on a new adventure that would become one of my greatest accolades in life.” Stowell accredits his successful career to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Teen Board and the many connections he made through his involvement. Aside from providing him with many networking and developmental
opportunities, he proclaims “I cannot put in words the impact that the Teen Board, and all of thoseGI Awas Y Lfortunate ORD-PICKENS enough to work with, have had on me. It helped shape me into the hardworking, determined person I am today. It gave me a reason to want to help others and have fun while doing so. It taught me why I am so proud to be from Oklahoma and how to share this mentality with anyone I run across.” It is important to note that Stowell still has a strong passion for his home state and dreams to one day return and be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame himself. Undoubtedly, he contributed greatly to his community during his time serving on the Teen Board and will continue to succeed and prosper throughout his career. Finally, his advice on achieving one’s ambitions is to “Take in every moment and learn from it. Most of all, enjoy what you are doing and always remember to smile.”
Britton Stowell welcoming participants to the Teen Board’s 5K, 10K, and 1-Mile Fun Run fundraiser.
“The real-world scenarios that you run into and are taught when participating in something like a Teen Board are not taught in school and some do not learn until way later in life. This is one of the best ways one can get ahead and further themselves while in high school.” —Britton Stowell
As a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s Teen Board, Britton Stowell had the privilege of serving as Kristin Chenoweth’s escort during her induction to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
The 2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Honorees, seated from left, J. C. Watts, Jr., Gray Frederickson, John Herrington, Tricia Everest, John T. Nickel, James C. Day, and Steve Largent. Standing, from left, Presenters Barry Switzer, Francis Ford Coppola, Bill Moore, Christy Everest, Dave Whitlock, and Mike Cawley. Allen Wright, standing right, accepted induction of the late Chief Allen Wright on behalf of the Wright family.
THE 2019 OKLAHOMA HALL of FAME
BANQUET & INDUCTION CEREMONY
BY GINI MOORE CAMPBELL 35 35
n the evening of Thursday, November 21, 2019, guests from throughout Oklahoma and across the United States gathered to celebrate the induction of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Held in the Great Hall of the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, the evening kicked off with a beautiful invocation performed by Oklahoma City University students Benjamin Johnston and Madeline Powell. Dinner followed with the big screens providing guests with a glimpse into the education programming, activities, and outreach made available year round by the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum. Patrons of the 2019 event also were recognized and former inductees of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame were honored through Link to a Legacy. Oklahoma Hall of Fame Chairman Gov. Bill Anoatubby and President and CEO Shannon L. Rich officially welcomed those in attendance. Rich thanked The Chickasaw Nation and The James C. and Teresa K. Day Foundation for their generosity in serving as Presenting Sponsors of the 2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony.
A sell-out crowd celebrated the 2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony.
Following an overview of programs and events made possible by the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, Anoatubby and Rich introduced Madison Stephens, a senior from Weatherford High School, as the recipient of the 2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Scholarship. In the amount of $6,000, this scholarship has been funded primarily by Members of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Stephens will be entering Oklahoma Christian University in the fall, 2020, and majoring in biology as part of her plan for a career in medicine. Anoatubby thanked Bob Burke, Becky Dixon, Ken Fergeson, Jane Jayroe Gamble, Harold Holden, and Mike Larsen for serving on the Selection Committee to select the 2019 recipient. Anoatubby and Rich next recognized the 59 Members of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame attending to honor the incoming class. In addition, they honored those Members who had passed since the 2018 ceremonyâ€”Bill W. Burgess, Jr.,Vida Chenoweth, Jerrie Cobb, Owen K. Garriott, Jeane Porter Hester, T. Boone Pickens, and Gregory E. Pyle. Anoatubby and Rich reminded guests that they would have the opportunity to greet Honorees and their Presenters during the reception immediately
ABOVE AND FACING PAGE: Oklahoma Hall of Fame Members Shannon Miller, Class of 2017, and Bart Conner, Class of 2012, served as masters of ceremonies for the 2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell welcomed all in attendance to the 2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony and congratulated those receiving Oklahoma’s highest honor.
From left, Governor Bill Anoatubby, Oklahoma Hall of Fame Scholarship Recipient Madison Stephens, and Shannon L. Rich.
following the ceremony. After a final thank you to those supporting the Oklahoma Hall of Fame by attending, the 2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony was underway. From Muskogee, recording artist and saxophonist Braylon Dedmon performed “The National Anthem” before Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell welcomed those in attendance. Pinnell recognized the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for bestowing Oklahoma’s highest honor on its sons and daughters since the first induction in 1928 and introduced Bart Conner and Shannon Miller as masters of ceremonies for the evening. The inductions began with Dave Whitlock presenting John T. Nickel, followed by Mike Cawley presenting James C. Day and Barry Switzer presenting J. C. Watts, Jr. Francis Ford Coppola presented Gray Frederickson before the posthumous induction of Chief Allen Wright. Great-great
grandson Allen Wright accepted the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Medallion on behalf of the Wright family. The inductions continued with Christy Everest presenting daughter Tricia Everest for induction, followed by Bill Moore presenting John Herrington and Jim Zorn presenting Steve Largent. During the Induction Ceremony, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s Teen Board served as escorts to Honorees, Presenters, and others with roles in the pre-show and induction ceremony. The Oklahoma Hall of Fame Orchestra, under the direction of Jeff Kidwell, provided dinner music and performed during the pre-show and induction ceremony. Following the inductions of the eight Honorees, the Class of 2019 returned to the stage to close out the 92nd annual Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony and lead the crowd in the best state song—“Oklahoma!”
Muskogee native Braylon Dedmon, saxophonist and recording artist, performed “The National Anthem” during the 2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony.
To celebrate the 92nd annual Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony, Members of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in attendance were invited to participate in a commemorative photo.
JAMES C. DAY pond creek James Day was reared in the town of Pond Creek, Oklahoma and graduated from Enid High School before attending the University of Oklahoma and Phillips University where he earned his B. S. Degree in Business Administration. He spent forty-four years in the energy sector—fourteen years at ONEOK and thirty years at Noble Corporation. As chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president of Noble Corporation, founded in 1921, the Noble team helped build one of the largest worldwide offshore drilling companies. Over Day’s tenure, Noble’s share price increased substantially and the company became a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 and Fortune 500. Day has received the American Petroleum Institute’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement and the World Affairs Council’s International Citizen of the Year Award. He has served or is currently serving on the board of many organizations including ONEOK, Noble Energy, Inc., Tidewater, EOG Resources, the International Association of Drilling Contractors, the National Ocean Industries Association, and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. He currently serves as a member of the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy Board of Visitors at the University of Oklahoma In 2007, Day established the James C. and Teresa K. Day Foundation. Through the foundation, and personally, he has been a strong supporter of many Oklahoma endeavors and entities, including the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, Charles B. Goddard Center for Visual and Performing Arts, Inc., Arcadia Trails, Pond Creek-Hunter Schools, and the University of Oklahoma. Day also served as co-chair for the 125th Live On University Campaign for the University of Oklahoma and was inducted into the Seed Sower Society in 2019. Day resides in Sugar Land, Texas, with his wife Pinkie.
Former president, CEO, and trustee of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Mike Cawley, left, presented James C. Day for induction.
A Member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and former chairman and CEO of the Oklahoma Publishing Company, Christy Everest, left, presented daughter Tricia Everest for induction.
TRICIA EVEREST oklahoma city Tricia Louise Everest is a native of Oklahoma City and fourth-generation Oklahoman. She graduated from Casady High School before earning her Bachelor of Science Degree from Vanderbilt University in 1993 and, after returning home to Oklahoma, her Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 2003. She also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Oklahoma City University. Her professional law career led her to the Attorney General’s office where she was Assistant Attorney General representing the State of Oklahoma. Everest serves as a trustee of the E. L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation and chair of Inasmuch Foundation’s Advisory Committee, continuing her family’s legacy of philanthropy while simultaneously crafting her own. Everest focuses her efforts and time on leading initiatives designed to help people find hope and purpose by creating pathways for stronger lives. She plays an integral role as the founding chair of Palomar, Oklahoma City’s Family Justice Center, which removes barriers for abuse victims to access the services they need. She is the founding chair of ReMerge, which diverts mothers from prison and empowers women to build healthy foundations for themselves and their children. Other philanthropic endeavors of Everest include chair of Allied Arts, past-chair of YMCA—the organization’s first female chair in its 128-year history—and serves on numerous nonprofit boards. Recognized by United Way of Central Oklahoma as the John and Berta Faye Rex Community Builder Honoree in 2019, Everest was also named Societies Philanthropist of the Year in 2012 and received the Lee Allan Smith Oklahoma Legacy Award in 2013. Everest loves the outdoors, relaxing on the lakes in Michigan, and hiking the mountains in Colorado. Always an adventurer, she has hiked the Swiss Alps and followed the Raika, a tribe of nomadic herders in India.
GRAY FREDERICKSON oklahoma city
OSCAR and Emmy Award-winning producer Gray Frederickson’s career has spanned more than five decades. Three of his films are included in The American Film Institute’s Top 100. He earned an OSCAR for producing The Godfather Part II and an Emmy Award for Dream No Little Dream, The Life and Times of Robert S. Kerr. A native of Oklahoma City, Frederickson attended Casady School and the University of Oklahoma before making it on the big screen. With more than fifty titles to his credit, the list includes The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, and cult hits The Outsiders and UHF, both filmed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Other credits include Ladybugs, My Five Wives, and One From the Heart. Frederickson served as executive producer of Heaven’s Prisoners starring Alec Baldwin and wrote the original story for Twentieth Century Fox’s film Bad Girls starring Drew Barrymore, Andie MacDowell, and Madeleine Stowe. Shortly after producing South of Heaven, West of Hell in 1999, Frederickson returned home to support the creation of a technical digital cinema program at Oklahoma City Community College. Graduates are finding success and recognition in the entertainment industry throughout the United States. In addition to the nine movies Frederickson has produced locally through his production company GrayMark Productions, including Cloud 9, Surveillance, and Soul’s Midnight, he recently teamed with longtime friend and colleague Francis Ford Coppola to produce Distant Vision, an experimental live cinema movie, in the college’s movie studio. A former vice president in charge of feature film production at Warner Bros./Lorimar and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Art and Sciences, Directors Guild of America, and the Screen Actors Guild, Frederickson is married to Karen and is the father of two—Kelsey and Tyler.
American director, producer, and screenwriter for some of the most iconic films, Francis Ford Coppola, left, presented Gray Frederickson for induction.
President of the Stafford Air & Space Museum and author of Oklahomans and Space, Bill Moore, left, presented John Herrington for induction.
JOHN HERRINGTON wetumka
John Bennett Herrington is a retired United States Naval Aviator, Naval Test Pilot, and NASA astronaut. A native of Wetumka, Oklahoma, he graduated from Plano Senior High School in Plano,Texas, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He enlisted in the United States Navy, earning a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering at the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School and a place in NASA’s Group 16 Astronaut Class of 1996. In 2002, Commander Herrington flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-113, the 112th Shuttle mission, logging more than 330 hours in space and performing 19 hours, 55 minutes of Extra-Vehicular Activity—the 143rd person to walk in space and the first Native American in history. Since retiring from NASA, his focus has been promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and careers, particularly for Native American youth. He undertook RocketTrek, a 4,300-mile cross-country solo bicycle ride from Makah,Washington, to Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center, earned a PhD in education from the University of Idaho, and wrote a children’s book, Mission to Space. He serves as a judge and judge advisor for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Oklahoma Regional and supports cultural and educational initiatives across the country. Herrington’s honors include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, NASA Spaceflight Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal. He received the Red Dirt to Rockers Oklahomans in Space Award, the Wiley Post Spirit Award, was an inaugural inductee into the Native American Hall of Fame, an inductee into the San Diego International Air and Space Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame, and The Chickasaw Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City.
STEVE LARGENT tulsa An NFL Hall of Famer, former Congressman, and CEO, native Tulsan Steve Largent accepted a football scholarship and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from The University of Tulsa. For 14 years he was a record-setting receiver with the Seattle Seahawks, setting six different NFL career records and participating in seven Pro Bowls. He was named NFL Man of the Year for his community service and Athletes in Action recognized him with the inaugural Bart Starr Award for serving as an exemplary role model on and off the field. At the time of his retirement from professional sports, he held every receiving record in the NFL. Respected and known for working “across the aisle,” Largent served four terms as a member of the United States Congress representing Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District. During his tenure he served as vice chairman of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee and on the Telecom Subcommittee, the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, and the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. His four-term voting record reflected consistent support for lower taxes, less regulation, and strong free markets. As president and CEO of CTIA, a trade association representing the wireless communication industry in the United States, he saw extraordinary growth in the wireless industry with limited interference from the regulatory agencies and Congress. Largent’s for-profit and nonprofit board service includes Cross First Bank, B&T Engineering, Focus on the Family, The University of Tulsa, and Code 3—an organization mending the relationship between law enforcement and local communities. He has served as the Midwest Chapter executive director of the Wheelchair Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs to every adult and child worldwide who needs one but cannot afford it. The father of four and grandfather to 10, Largent and his wife, Terry, make Tulsa their home.
Former NFL and Seattle Seahawks quarterback and current head coach of the Seattle Dragons of the XFL, Jim Zorn, left, presented Steve Largent for induction.
Research chemist turned artist, author, and preservationist, Dave Whitlock, left, presented John T. Nickel for induction.
JOHN T. NICKEL muskogee
Born in Muskogee, John Nickel grew up alongside his younger brother Gil working in his parents’ retail landscape nursery. He attended Connors State College in Warner and the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Santa Monica, California. At the age of 22, he established Greenleaf Nursery Wholesale south of Tahlequah on Lake Tenkiller. Today, Greenleaf is one the nation’s largest wholesale producers of shrubs and trees with locations in Oklahoma, Texas, and North Carolina. To foster continued horticulture education, Nickel and leadership of his company made a $1-million donation to the Horticulture Department at Oklahoma State University for a new greenhouse teaching facility. In 1979, John and Gil, as Nickel & Nickel, made the first Chardonnay wine bottled under the new label of Far Niente Winery in Napa Valley. Built in 1885 and closed during prohibition, Far Niente has now grown into one of the world’s great wine estates. Because of his passion for nature, Nickel donated 14,000 acres to The Nature Conservancy to ensure the land would remain pristine and undeveloped. Nestled in the rolling Cookson Hills and overlooking the Illinois River, The J. T. Nickel Family Nature & Wildlife Preserve is the largest privately protected conservation area in the Ozarks and was officially dedicated in 2000. In 2005 elk were reintroduced to the preserve, a dream fulfilled for Nickel. For his dedication, Nickel received The Nature Conservancy’s first Oak Leaf Award and a Wildlife Stewardship Award from Nature Works, which included a bronze monument of a Cimarron Pronghorn Antelope that is located on Tulsa’s Riverside Drive. Nickel’s honors include being named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in Dallas, Texas, and induction during Oklahoma’s Centennial to the Tulsa Hall of Fame. Nickel lives in Tulsa with his wife, Julie, and is the proud father of five and grandfather of two.
J. C. WATTS, JR. eufaula
A fourth-generation Oklahoman, J.C. Watts, Jr. was born in Eufaula to Helen Watts and Julius Ceaser “Buddy” Watts. He graduated from Eufaula High School before being recruited on an athletic scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. After leading the Sooners to back-to-back Orange Bowl victories, where he was named MVP of both games, and earning a degree in journalism, Watts was drafted by the New York Jets. However, he opted to sign with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League. After five seasons, leading the Rough Riders to Canada’s Super Bowl—the Grey Cup—and again being named MVP, Watts returned to Oklahoma. He served as youth pastor for Sunnylane Baptist Church in Del City before becoming the first African American elected to a statewide office when he ran for a seat on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. In 1994, he was elected to serve the 4th Congressional District of Oklahoma in the United States House of Representatives and four years later was elected by his peers to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference. While on the Hill, Watts delivered the GOP Response to President Bill Clinton’s State of the Union Address and played a critical role in the legislation creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture. After eight years in Congress, Watts established a private consulting business, became president of Mustang Equipment, the first African-American owned John Deere Dealerships, and began writing. His latest book, Dig Deep: 7 Truths to Finding the Strength Within, was released in 2016. Early next year Watts will launch BNC, the nation’s only channel dedicated solely to covering the unique perspective of African American communities. Watts is married to Frankie and is the father of six and grandfather to nine.
A Member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and former coach of the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Dallas Cowboys, Barry Switzer, left, presented J. C. Watts, Jr. for induction.
Great-great grandson Allen Wright accepted the Oklahoma Hall of Fame CHIEF ALLEN WRIGHT Medallion on behalf of 2019 Honoree Chief Allen Wright, inducted lukfata, boggy depot, choctaw nation posthumously, and the Wright family. 2019 POSTHUMOUS HONOREE
Allen Wright, whose Choctaw name was Kiliahote, was born in Attala County, Mississippi, in 1826. Following the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, which forced the removal of the Choctaw, he immigrated to Indian Territory and settled near present-day Lukfata, Oklahoma, in McCurtain County. At the age of 13 he relocated to Boggy Depot, making it home for the remainder of his life. Wright served as Chief of the Choctaw Nation from 1866 to 1870 and was an accomplished civic and religious leader. He made a significant impact on the Choctaw Nation post-Trail of Tears, post-Civil War, and prior to Oklahoma’s statehood. Chief, Presbyterian minister, diplomat, linguist, and rancher are all titles that are associated with Wright; the title he cherished most was Servant of Christ. Wright is best known for suggesting the name Oklahoma for the new territory during his role as lead negotiator of the Choctaw-Chickasaw Treaty of 1866. Other significant accomplishments include translating portions of the Bible from Hebrew to Choctaw and the creation of the Choctaw dictionary, Chahta Lexicon, for use in the tribal school system. Wright also spoke five languages—English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Choctaw. Learning was a lifelong passion for Wright, who earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the 1850’s, remarkable accomplishments for the times and considering he did not begin his formal education until age fourteen. In addition, he graduated from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, the first Native American from Indian Territory to earn the degree. Throughout his life he used his intellectual and leadership gifts for the advancement of his people. Wright married a direct descendant from Mayflower passengers. Harriet Newell Mitchell was a missionary from Ohio and had ten children with Wright. Today, there are 234 living descendants of the union.
2019 HALL OF FAME PATRON DONORS PRESENTING SPONSORS
SPECIAL THANK YOU TO JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION, SUGAR LAND, TX MR. AND MRS. JOHN T. NICKEL, TULSA PREMIER PATRONS MR. AND MRS. CLAYTON I. BENNETT, OKLAHOMA CITY CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA, DURANT JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION, SUGAR LAND, TX DILLARD’S INC., LITTLE ROCK, AR DORCHESTER CAPITAL, OKLAHOMA CITY INASMUCH FOUNDATION, OKLAHOMA CITY MR. AND MRS. JOHN T. NICKEL, TULSA CHARLES & PEGGY STEPHENSON FAMILY FOUNDATION, TULSA HERITAGE PATRONS PHIL B. AND JOAN M. ALBERT, CLAREMORE ALLEN FAMILY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, ENID THE CHICKASAW NATION, ADA JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION, SUGAR LAND, TX DEVON ENERGY CORPORATION, OKLAHOMA CITY MRS. HENRY FREEDE, OKLAHOMA CITY MR. AND MRS. JOHN D. GROENDYKE, ENID TRACY AND DAVID KYLE, TULSA LOVE’S TRAVEL STOPS & COUNTRY STORES, OKLAHOMA CITY MCCLENDON FAMILY, OKLAHOMA CITY HERMAN AND LADONNA MEINDERS, OKLAHOMA CITY MR. AND MRS. JOHN T. NICKEL, TULSA LEGACY PATRONS MR. AND MRS. RICHARD ANDERSON, OKLAHOMA CITY AMERICAN FIDELITY ASSURANCE COMPANY, OKLAHOMA CITY JIM AND CHRISTY EVEREST, OKLAHOMA CITY FOUNDATION MANAGEMENT, OKLAHOMA CITY MR. ROBERT A. FUNK, YUKON E.L. AND THELMA GAYLORD FOUNDATION, OKLAHOMA CITY
MR. FRED HALL, OKLAHOMA CITY MR. TIMOTHY HEADINGTON, DALLAS, TX IBC BANK, OKLAHOMA CITY MIDFIRST BANK, OKLAHOMA CITY OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION, STILLWATER OU OFFICE OF CENTRAL DEVELOPMENT, NORMAN OU MEDICINE, OKLAHOMA CITY PAYNE FAMILY, OKLAHOMA CITY MR. RICHARD L. SIAS, OKLAHOMA CITY HARRIET AND WARREN STEPHENS, STEPHENS INC., LITTLE ROCK, AR TULSA WORLD MEDIA COMPANY, TULSA UMB BANK, OKLAHOMA CITY & TULSA WHITTEN & BURRAGE, LLP, OKLAHOMA CITY TRACKMAKER PATRONS ASCENT RESOURCES, OKLAHOMA CITY BANCFIRST, OKLAHOMA CITY BANK OF OKLAHOMA, TULSA BKD LLP, OKLAHOMA CITY SUSAN BROWN AND BILL MCCOY, DALLAS, TX/ RANDY BROWN, OKLAHOMA CITY/ SAM AND VIVIAN DUBOSE, ATLANTA, GA/ STEVE AND BARBARA YOUNG, OKLAHOMA CITY MIKE AND PAT CASE, TULSA THE CHICKASAW NATION, ADA CHEROKEE NATION BUSINESSES, CATOOSA CHOCTAW NATION GOVERNMENT RELATIONS OFFICE, DURANT CONTINENTAL RESOURCES, OKLAHOMA CITY COX, OKLAHOMA CITY DEVON ENERGY CORPORATION, OKLAHOMA CITY EXPRESS EMPLOYMENT INTERNATIONAL, OKLAHOMA CITY FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF OKMULGEE, OKMULGEE SHANNON AND CHIP FUDGE, OKLAHOMA CITY MRS. LESLIE SUE HEALEY, DAVIS INASMUCH FOUNDATION, OKLAHOMA CITY TERRY AND STEVE LARGENT, TULSA LINDA AND DUKE R. LIGON, OKLAHOMA CITY MANHATTAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, OKLAHOMA CITY MERCY, OKLAHOMA CITY JOE AND DARCEY MORAN, TULSA OKLAHOMA CITY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, OKLAHOMA CITY OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER, OKLAHOMA CITY OGE ENERGY CORPORATION, OKLAHOMA CITY ONEOK, TULSA OSU CENTER FOR HEALTH SERVICES, TULSA THE OU FOUNDATION AND OU ATHLETICS, NORMAN PALOMAR, OKLAHOMA CITY RENFRO FAMILY FOUNDATION, PONCA CITY SEMINOLE STATE COLLEGE, SEMINOLE MR. AND MRS. JOHN SIMONELLI, NORMAN STANDLEY SYSTEMS, CHICKASHA UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA, EDMOND THE UNIVERSITY OF TULSA, TULSA ALLEN AND JACQUE WRIGHT, EDMOND THE ZARROW FAMILIES FOUNDATION, TULSA
PIONEER PATRONS BRUCE AND SHERYL BENBROOK, WOODWARD THE BURRAGE FAMILY, ANTLERS CAMERON UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION, LAWTON BARBARA COOPER, OKLAHOMA CITY DEAN MCGEE EYE INSTITUTE, OKLAHOMA CITY JEFF AND MENDI DUNN, TULSA MARYBETH & IKE GLASS, NEWKIRK HELMERICH & PAYNE, INC., TULSA DR. JAMES HIGGINS, TULSA ROXANA AND BOB LORTON, TULSA MR. AND MRS. JOHN MASSEY, DURANT THE MEDALLION GROUP, OKLAHOMA CITY OKLAHOMA MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION, OKLAHOMA CITY PIVOT, A TURNING POINT FOR YOUTH, OKLAHOMA CITY QUAIL CREEK BANK, OKLAHOMA CITY RAM ENERGY LLC/ LARRY & MARILYN LEE, TULSA PATRICK T. ROONEY/ FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF OKLAHOMA, OKLAHOMA CITY SIMMONS BANK, OKLAHOMA CITY THE WINCHESTER GROUP, CHICKASHA HOMESTEADER PATRONS MR. PATRICK ADAMS, EDMOND MR. THOMAS L. BAKER, OKLAHOMA CITY JON AND LISSA BLASCHKE, OKLAHOMA CITY DR. AND MRS. JOHN R. BOZALIS, OKLAHOMA CITY MR. AND MRS. BOB BURKE, OKLAHOMA CITY DR. ANN AND TRACY CAINE, OKLAHOMA CITY MS. HOLLY CHANDLER, EUFAULA MS. TERRI COOPER, OKLAHOMA CITY MS. CARA COWAN WATTS, CLAREMORE DR. CHERYL EVANS AND MR. TOM EVANS, TONKAWA BILL AND NANCY FORD, SHAWNEE MR. CHRISTOPHER FREDERICKSON, GALVESTON, TX HALL & LUDLAM, PLLC, OKLAHOMA CITY BILL AND NICKI HANCOCK, PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS MRS. JANE B. HARLOW, OKLAHOMA CITY GERALD AND JANE JAYROE GAMBLE, OKLAHOMA CITY CARLOS E. JOHNSON, OKLAHOMA CITY GOVERNOR AND MRS. FRANK KEATING, OKLAHOMA CITY THE ANN LACY FOUNDATION, OKLAHOMA CITY MR. FRANK MCPHERSON, OKLAHOMA CITY GARY AND KATHY MOORES, EUFAULA LARRY AND POLLY NICHOLS, OKLAHOMA CITY MARK NOVOTNY, RONALD BLUE TRUST, FISHERS, TN WILLIAM G. PAUL, OKLAHOMA CITY PAM AND BILL SHDEED, OKLAHOMA CITY MR. AND MRS. MARK STANSBERRY, EDMOND MARNIE AND CLAYTON TAYLOR, OKLAHOMA CITY BOB AND REBECCA THOMPSON, OKLAHOMA CITY HARDY AND KARI WATKINS, OKLAHOMA CITY JOHN MICHAEL AND KATHY WILLIAMS, OKLAHOMA CITY LIST REPRESENTS DONORS AS OF CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON OCTOBER 31, 2019
2019 LINK TO A LEGACY The Oklahoma Hall of Fame partners with supporters to provide a link between the Class of 2019 and the legacies of those who were inducted before them through Link to a Legacy. Link to a Legacy recognizes past Inductees of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame who have contributed to our state’s rich heritage. Link to a Legacy sponsors continue the preservation of our state’s heritage and the remarkable stories of each of our members by supporting the programs of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. Listed below are those honored with Link to a Legacy, including their years of induction and hometowns. We would like to thank each Link to a Legacy sponsor for joining us to recognize these inspiring Oklahomans once again. Each sponsor is listed below the Hall of Fame Member they have chosen to honor this year. GOVERNOR BILL ANOATUBBY 2004 ADA LOVE’S TRAVEL STOPS & COUNTRY STORES LARRY BRUMMETT 1999 TULSA DAVID KYLE BILL W. BURGESS, JR. 2008 LAWTON CAMERON UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION/ PRESIDENT JOHN MCARTHUR IN MEMORY, OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME MICHAEL BURRAGE 2016 ANTLERS CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA THE CHICKASAW NATION VIDA CHENOWETH 1985 ENID IN MEMORY, OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME JERRIE COBB 1976 PONCA CITY IN MEMORY, OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME TOM COLE 2017 MOORE THE CHICKASAW NATION LUKE CORBETT 2001 OKLAHOMA CITY JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION JAMES C. DAY 2019 POND CREEK VIVIAN AND SAM DUBOSE DAN DILLINGHAM 2016 ENID GRUMPS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP FREDERICK DRUMMOND 2004 PAWHUSKA JOHN T. NICKEL DAN LUTHER EDWARDS 1947 ENID DAN DILLINGHAM RALPH ELLISON 2002 OKLAHOMA CITY BOB BURKE TE ATA FISHER 1957 TISHOMINGO THE CHICKASAW NATION OWEN K. GARRIOTT 1980 ENID IN MEMORY, OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME EDWARD L. GAYLORD 1974 OKLAHOMA CITY LOUISE AND CLAY BENNETT E. L. AND THELMA GAYLORD FOUNDATION
E. K. GAYLORD 1930 OKLAHOMA CITY LOUISE AND CLAY BENNETT E. L. AND THELMA GAYLORD FOUNDATION JOHN D. GROENDYKE 2013 ENID JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION VIRGINIA G. GROENDYKE AND FAMILY HAROLD HAMM 2011 LEXINGTON CONTINENTAL RESOURCES JEANE PORTER HESTER 1987 CHICKASHA IN MEMORY, OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME JACK VAN DOREN HOUGH 1990 OKLAHOMA CITY CANDOR FRANK KEATING 2005 TULSA PHIL B. AND JOAN ALBERT DAVID L. KYLE 2007 JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION CHIEF GREGORY E. PYLE 2007 HUGO IN MEMORY, OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME ROBERT E. LORTON 1996 TULSA MR. & MRS. JOHN T. NICKEL ROXANA LORTON 2001 TULSA MR. & MRS. JOHN T. NICKEL JUDY LOVE 2010 OKLAHOMA CITY GOVERNOR BILL ANOATUBBY THE CHICKASAW NATION TOM LOVE 2000 OKLAHOMA CITY GOVERNOR BILL ANOATUBBY NEAL MCCALEB 2014 OKLAHOMA CITY THE CHICKASAW NATION JOHN T. NICKEL 2019 MUSKOGEE STEVE AND HEIDI HAYS MARY JANE NOBLE 1995 ARDMORE JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION SAMUEL “LLOYD” NOBLE 2000 ARDMORE JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION
LIST REPRESENTS DONORS AS OF CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON OCTOBER 31, 2019
OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME AVERY BROWN WILLIAM BANKHEAD MAKIA MAXEY AVA WOOLERY GWENDOLYN HERRADA MATTHEW MCANGUS CAM WALLIS MICHAYLA TATE MADELYN SMITH
SAMUEL “SAM” R. NOBLE 1974 ARDMORE JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION WILLIAM G. PAUL 2003 OKLAHOMA CITY THE CHICKASAW NATION T. BOONE PICKENS 2003 HOLDENVILLE IN MEMORY, OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME WILEY POST 2004 MAYSVILLE BOB BURKE JAY G. PUTERBAUGH 1950 MCALESTER THE PUTERBAUGH FOUNDATION H. E. (GENE) RAINBOLT 1999 OKLAHOMA CITY JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION CARL RENFRO 2008 PONCA CITY RENFRO FAMILY FOUNDATION RAY H. SIEGFRIED II 1990 TULSA MILANN SIEGFRIED JOHN F. SNODGRASS 1993 ARDMORE JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION CHARLES C. STEPHENSON 2008 TULSA JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION MR. & MRS. JOHN T. NICKEL PEGGY STEPHENSON 2014 ANTLERS MR. & MRS. JOHN T. NICKEL JUSTICE STEVEN W. TAYLOR 2009 MCALESTER THE PUTERBAUGH FOUNDATION STEADMAN UPHAM 2015 TULSA PEGGY A. UPHAM LEW O. WARD 2010 ENID JAMES C. AND TERESA K. DAY FOUNDATION REGGIE N. WHITTEN 2013 SEMINOLE CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA CHIEF ALLEN WRIGHT 2019 LUKFATA CANDOR
JERZI HAWKINS KENNEDY CAMPBELL ELISE MCGOLDRICK NATALIE NORTON DREW BURBANK NANCY WANG ELLA DREESE KYLA COLVIN SADIE RITTENBERRY
TEEN BOARD ESCORTS MELANIE CAUDILLO WYATT HOOD DALY BARNETT TOBIAS JOHNSON SOPHIA DARROW GRACE JACKSON JACOB COPE DELANEY BARGHOLS SHELBY WILLY
AMELIA MELTON BRODY SMITH CLAYTON CHIARIELLO JANIAH BOWERS JENNA KING JACK GRIGSBY AMBER BURRIS JORDAN ABRAHAM
H A L L
F A M E
M E M B E R
S P O T L I G H T Father Gregory R. Gerrer W
hat does Oklahoma, a monk, and a world-class museum collection ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to Renaissance masterworks have in common? Father Gregory R. Gerrer. Born Robert Francis Xavier Gerrer on July 23, 1867 in the village of Lautenbach, Alsace, France, Gerrer immigrated at the age of five with his family to the United States. The Gerrer family settled in Missouri and then Iowa to escape the FrancoPrussian War. His home of Alsace was occupied during the war and annexed by Germany. The relocation from a setting of war to Americaâ€™s Midwest was a welcome change that enabled Gerrer to pursue his musical and artistic talents. In 1891, Gerrer even had a brief circus career performing as a clarinetist for the Hurlbert and Leftwich Circus Orchestra.
Father Gregory R. Gerrer came to El Reno, Oklahoma with his family shortly after the Land Run of 1889. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
BY MATTIE P. BARLOW 50
It was that same year when he met Abbot Thomas Duperou, Superior of the Benedictine community at Sacred Heart Mission in Oklahoma. Duperou invited Gerrer to visit the Sacred Heart community in hopes of recruiting him. Around this historical time of the land run era in Oklahoma, Gerrer’s family had relocated to El Reno. His father found success as a businessman, owning and building a block of spaces for businesses known as “Gerrer Block” on Rock Island Avenue. In 1892, El Reno newspapers continuously updated the public on the highly anticipated two-story property and the relocation of the Gerrer family from Bedford, Iowa. Gerrer’s father became a model El Reno citizen, serving on the city council while also running a grocery, bakery, and meat market. As a young man, Gerrer spent time learning the art of baking from his father. All the while Gerrer became more and more interested in pursuing a life of faith. Gerrer traveled by train and prairie schooner to Sacred Heart Mission located in what is now the southeast corner of Pottawatomie County. It was founded May 13, 1877 by Father Isidore
Robot, O.S.B., a Benedictine monk that had arrived in Indian Territory in 1875 following religious hostility in France. The Potowatomi Nation offered a section of land north of the Canadian River to Father Robot and other French refugees where they established a monastery, schools, and a seminary. By 1892, Gerrer had received the Benedictine habit and religious name Gregory. In 1893, the Indian Advocate hailed his “pure Christian” devotion and included reference to his brilliant artistic talent. Gerrer’s talent would continue to be fostered between religious studies, art lessons, and composing music. Visiting Abbot Leander Le Moine recommended that Gerrer travel to Europe for further art studies. On September 22, 1900, Gerrer was ordained in Devonshire, England at Buckfast Abbey and soon after traveled to Rome to study art. The El Reno Democrat detailed his departure for Europe with his brother John, “Rev. Gregory Gerrer has been called by the Vicar-General of St. Benedict, upon the recommendation of the Abbot of the order, who regards the young priest with the highest of favor. He will remain abroad
Father Gregory R. Gerrer developed an early interest in music and art. Courtesy the MabeeGerrer Museum of Art.
A young Father Gregory R. Gerrer beginning his religious studies. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
Father Gregory R. Gerrer was a world-renown artist and religious leader. Courtesy the MabeeGerrer Museum of Art.
three years, and will have the finest of opportunities to continue his studies under the most favorable auspices.” In October of 1901, The El Reno Daily American reported on a letter Gerrer sent home during his time in Rome, where he had arrived in December the year before. The Sacred Congregation for
Father Gregory R. Gerrer in 1900 around the time of ordination. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
the Propagation of the Faith, responsible for the spread of Catholicism, missionary work, and the education of young priests, selected Gerrer “to further art in the United States.” His published letter detailed the works of art by master artists that he had seen as part of his education including ancient Rroman ruins. He studied under artists like Ciro Galliazzi, Salvatore Nobili, Antonio Ortiz, and Giuseppi Gonnella. In addition to his time in Italy, Gerrer also traveled throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. During a 1903 trip to
Palestine, known as the Holy Land, with Abbot General Maurus Serafini, he was given a small Egyptian scarab with a goose hieroglyph, and so began a world-class museum collection. That same year, Pope Pius X was selected as the new pope and there was a call for artists to paint his official portrait. Gerrer worked for eight months on the painting that would become his most famous. His portrait of Pope Pius X won a medal at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Pope Pius X was so pleased with the portrait that he ordered it to be the only
one of him displayed at the Vatican. Gerrer liked the portrait so much that he painted a second one to send to Rome, saving the original portrait for his collection. The Indian Advocate reported about the portrait and the end of Gerrer’s studies in Rome, “It is a wonderfully true likeness: Pius X is represented seated on a throne, with the cupola of St. Peter’s in the distance, and the coloring is throughout wonderfully rich and harmonious. The last pose given by the Holy Father for this painting was to have lasted but a few minutes, but His Holiness himself insisted that the painter should take all the time he wanted, and at the end warmly congratulated him on his work.” The Indian Advocate went on to describe how Gerrer sat with the Pope on several occasions for the portrait and upon examination by eminent artists of Europe at the time it was believed to be the best portrait ever produced of a pope, at a towering 7 x 5 feet without the frame. Gerrer returned home from Rome, first stopping in New York City, then to the World’s Fair in St. Louis, and finally to El Reno were he delivered his first mass in Oklahoma to the congregation of his aging parents. During his stay in Europe, Sacred Heart
Father Gregory R. Gerrer in El Reno during the 1910s. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
Father Gregory R. Gerrer painting Watling Island, Bahamas, 1907. Courtesy the MabeeGerrer Museum of Art.
Father Gregory R. Gerrer painting in Amecameca, Mexico in 1936. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
Father Gregory R. Gerrer painting at Riding Rock Harbor in 1907. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
Mission was destroyed in a devastating fire. While rebuilding the monks realized that their mission would serve the public better if it was more accessible and located near a railroad. Monks already had been relocating to the Shawnee area to serve the growing population. Gerrer continued his religious duties while also establishing an art studio behind St. Benedict’s Church where he was assistant pastor. Many famous art schools throughout Europe and the United States wished to acquire the talented priest, but Gerrer preferred peace and seclusion over a worldly society. The town of El Reno
Father Gregory R. Gerrer painting in Taxco, Mexico in 1936. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
was ecstatic when Gerrer painted a portrait of El Reno Mayor Henry Lassen so soon after the international success of his portrait of the pope. In 1912, there was a highly anticipated exhibit of Gerrer’s work at the Shawnee City Hall. He was lauded as one of the truly great modern artists of the time and therefore a real blessing for the people of Oklahoma to have access to such an artist. By 1915, leaders in the world of art called Gerrer “the most accomplished painter in Oklahoma or the southwest.” Gerrer would spend Sundays performing his pastoral responsibilities, traveling to
give mass in nearby towns, but during the week he devoted his time to art. When he wasn’t teaching art classes, Gerrer would be found creating works of art for patrons in Oklahoma and beyond. Using the money made from commissions, Gerrer continued to travel and acquire items for his collection. He would also trade some of his paintings with other artists, including members of the famous Hudson River School movement, a movement particularly influential on landscape painters in the northeastern United States, and persuade other collectors to donate art and artifacts to the collection. His studio soon turned into a small museum. Representatives from the University of Notre Dame sought Gerrer’s expertise to guide their growing art collection and establish the Wightman Memorial Art Gallery in 1917. Over the next 15 years Gerrer split his time between South Bend, Indiana and Shawnee, Oklahoma. Gerrer was the first director and curator at the Wightman Memorial Art Gallery and acted as an advisor and art instructor at Notre Dame. He was eventually bestowed an honorary degree for his service to the university. In 1919, Gerrer’s personal collection was outgrowing its home in his art studio behind the church. The collection moved to St. Gregory’s High School and College, established by monks from Sacred Heart Mission. It was displayed in Benedictine Hall and designed with the great European museums in mind with objects like taxidermic animals, wood, seashells, and weapons from around the world in addition to the fine art of the collection. Gerrer also worked to further art for all Oklahomans. He established an association of artists in 1916 and worked to promote the state’s cultural heritage with art leaders like Nan Sheets and Oscar Jacobson, both Oklahoma Hall of Fame Inductees. Gerrer was inducted to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1931. In 1942, Gerrer produced a catalog
Father Gregory R. Gerrer in 1903, during his studies in Europe. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
Father Gregory R. Gerrer with a breadfruit tree, 1907. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
of his collection detailing more than 6,500 pieces, 218 paintings, and 6,347 artifacts. It included many of Gerrer’s original works of art from landscapes to portraits. During his lifetime Gerrer had been commissioned to paint an estimated 80 portraits. Gerrer passed away on August 24, 1946 of pneumonia and was buried at St. Gregory’s Abbey cemetery. In 1962, St. Gregory’s High School and College needed the space occupied by Gerrer’s collection for its growing student body. The collection was temporarily loaned to the Kirkpatrick Science and Arts Foundation at the Oklahoma City Fair Grounds until a new space could be secured. A new building was made possible by the Mabee Foundation and in 1979 the MabeeGerrer Museum of Art celebrated its grand opening. The museum continues to fulfill Gerrer’s passion for bringing the world to Oklahoma.
Father Gregory R. Gerrer painting Mt. Sheridan, Oklahoma. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
Father Gregory R. Gerrer at work in his art studio that doubled as a small museum. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
Gerrer Museum at St. Gregory’s campus, the portrait of Pope Pius X dominated the far left wall. Courtesy the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
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Guests attending Oklahoma Born & Brewed had a chance to win more than $12,000 in raffle prizes and participate in a gift card pull, all in supporting free family programing. Photo by AJ Stegall Photography.
Celebrating the fifth annual Oklahoma Born & Brewed event, from left, front row, Michelle Sopp and Halsey Musselman with the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s Second Century Board—Cassidy Weaver, Morgan Brammer, Veleecia Hearne, Lindsey Funk, Amanda McCormack, Lauren Warkentine, and back row Morgan Roberts, Matt Bell, Frank Hinton, Heath Hornbeek, and James Biscone. Photo by AJ Stegall Photography.
Guests enjoyed sampling products offered by craft breweries from throughout the state at the 2019 Oklahoma Born & Brewed event. Photo by AJ Stegall Photography.
Guests attending the Friends of the Medallion event at the Gathering Place had the opportunity to hear from George Kaiser about the inspiration and creation of the park.
Xavier Neira and Bruce Benbrook help with crafts in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Garden during Fall Y’All.
Gini Campbell, right, helps a young visitor with his mask during Summer Thursdays at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
The Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s resident T-Rex, Emma Fritz, visited with guests during Fall Y’All’s Dinosaur Day at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
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Shannon Rich read to those attending Superhero Day at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum during free family programming’s Summer Thursdays.
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Tom Colbert and Doretha Guion congratulate Gray Frederickson and wife Karen on Gray’s induction to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
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Greg Elliott read during Fall Y’All’s Dinosaur Day at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
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2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Honoree J. C. Watts, Jr. addressing the media prior to the 92nd annual Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony.
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Celebrating the 92nd annual Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony were Barry Switzer , Nadia Comaneci, Shannon Miller , and Bart Conner .
OHOF’S STORY THROUGH ITS PEOPLE
Max Weitzenhoffer read to those attending Dance Day as part of Fall Y’All’s free family programming at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
Attending the fifth annual Oklahoma Born & Brewed at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum were Brittni Shull, Bryan Bauer, Jason Acock, and Caroline Cotton. Photo by AJ Stegall Photography.
Game Changer author Gary Sparks signs copies of his book for Whitney McKellar during a book signing in at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
During the October Second Century Board event, J. C. Watts, Jr. signed copies of his latest book, Dig Deep: 7 Truths to Finding the Strength Within.
Oklahoma Boren & Brewed Co-chair Lauren Warkentine, left, and Chair Morgan Brammer greeted guests arriving at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum for Oklahoma Born & Brewed. Photo by AJ Stegall Photography. Erick Taylor and Jon Skaggs with Erick Taylor and Friends entertained the more than 400 guests attending Oklahoma Born & Brewed to support free education programming offered by the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum. Photo by AJ Stegall Photography.
Game Changer author Gary Sparks and Pistol Pete celebrated the book’s release during an Oklahoma State University alumni event in Ponca City.
Jeff Jacobsen keeping Tricia Everest dry as she arrives for the Honoree and Patron Donor Reception.
OK Cider Company was one of 18 breweries participating in the fifth annual Oklahoma Born & Brewed at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. From left, Megan Buchanan, Luke Hadsall and Tim King. Photo by AJ Stegall Photography.
The Art of the Portrait exhibit opened in the Tulsa world | Lorton Family Gallery on October 4th.
From left, J. C. Watts, Jr. , James C. Day , and Pinkie Day on the eve of the 92nd annual Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony.
J. C. Watts, Jr. spoke at the October gathering at Chalk of the Second Century Board.
John Herrington was congratulated by daughter Jessica and son-in-law Phil Lenard.
At The Art of the Portrait opening at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum were, from left, Shaylyn Sawyer, Olivia Reyes, Donna Merkt, and Mattie Barlow.
Former Oklahoma First Ladies Cathy Keating and Donna Nigh at the Honoree and Patron Donor Reception at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
Enjoying the Honoree and Patron Donor Reception at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum on November 20th were Jimmy Everest, Christy Everest , and Lee Allan Smith .
Showing their support for the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s Second Century Board were, from left, Art Cotton, Randy Macon, Sandy Cotton, and Tom Persechino. Photo by AJ Stegall Photography.
Members of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Class of 2019 led the crowd in “Oklahoma!” to bring the 92nd annual Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony to a close.
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OHOF’S STORY THROUGH ITS PEOPLE
Hollywood Day was a hit at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum with crafts celebrating our visiting “stars!”
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Clayton I. Bennett at the 2019 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony.
Attending the Friends of the Medallion event at Tulsa’s Gathering Place were, from left, Oklahoma Hall of Fame Inductees Becky Dixon , Jon R. Stuart , Peggy Stephenson , Charles Stephenson , Roxana Lorton , Robert Lorton , and Milann Siegfried.
Spiderman made a guest appearance during Summer Thursdays’ Superhero Day at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
Attending the Friends of the Medallion event at Tulsa’s Circle Cinema Film Festival to honor Gray Frederickson , center, were, from left, Michelle Sopp, Brenda Schwartz, Lauren Warkentine, Halsey Musselman, Jarod Armstrong, and Kyle Impson.
As part of Summer Thursdays and Fall Y’All, guests of all ages enjoyed movies in the Chesapeake Oklahoma Theater.
Halsey Musselman, Shannon L. Rich, and Michelle Sopp at the fifth annual Oklahoma Born & Brewed event at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum on August 16th. Photo by AJ Stegall Photography.
Guests of all ages enjoyed exploring the corn maze during Fall Y’All, one of the many free family programs available at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum.
Tulsans Frank Keating and Cathy Keating congratulate 2019 Honoree Steve Largent on his induction.
Gary Sparks, author of Game Changer: Oklahoma State University’s Gallagher-Iba Arena and Boone Pickens Stadium, and OSU Men’s Head Basketball Coach Mike Boynton celebrated the book’s release at an OSU alumni event in Tulsa.
OHOF’S STORY THROUGH ITS PEOPLE DONOR HIGHLIGHT Leaving a Legacy: Peggy Kates gift has been incredibly useful in elevating craft Peggy Kates grew up on a dairy farm in time for free family fun days. Calumet, Oklahoma. She graduated from the Philanthropic giving lives in the heart University of Central Oklahoma, then known of Peggy Kates. One of her favorite quotes is as Central State University, with degrees in “It’s not what you gather but what you scatter biology and chemistry. She married the love that tells what kind of life you have lived.” of her life, Ben Kates, in 1971. Together, along Kates has been blessed in so many ways and with a college classmate, they started Midwest her greatest pleasure is sharing some of those Wrecking Company in 1976. blessings. “The Oklahoma Hall of Fame is A donor to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame important to me because it celebrates the since 2017, the impact of her giving has been state of Oklahoma—its history—its people. immediate. Kates’ gifts have allowed the Oklahoma We have a great heritage and Oklahomans Hall of Fame to expand free family programming are some of the most talented and giving. and exceed annual goals year over year. It is important that we share that heritage Kates recently attended a Summer Peggy Kates with guests during not only with fellow Oklahomans, but with Thursday free family program and saw the Summer Thursdays’ Space Day at others in this nation and that we also make impact these programs have on the community. the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. others aware of the wonderful and talented For Space Day, children dressed up as astronauts, people who live in Oklahoma.” listened to a book about traveling to space, and created their For information on becoming a Friend of the Medallion own space collage. After joining a table of children and creating or learning more about supporting the Oklahoma Hall of her own planetary masterpiece, Kates saw a need and acted Fame’s mission, please contact Michelle Sopp, director of on it. Every shape used during the craft had been cut by hand development at 405/523-3207, toll free at 888/501-2059, or by Oklahoma Hall of Fame staff. To streamline future craft via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. preparation time and to help deliver an improved experience to families, Kates offered to purchase a die cut machine. That
BY OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME PUBLISHING
Oklahoma Adjusts to War: 1942—The Critical Year By Larry A. Lewis $29.95 Numerous books discuss World War II’s political and military leaders and the war’s momentous air, land, and sea conflicts. No one doubts the significant impact of those events on the home front. Although this book broadly reviews those conflicts, the focus centers on the effect of America’s entry into the war during 1942 on life in Oklahoma. National war-time economic and societal adjustments to what had been ordinary life altered Oklahoma society forever. Oklahomans had to tackle the responsibilities required by, and the uncertainties and fears arising from, war. The vast demands the war
placed on society, the economy, government operations, and military material production could not avoid changing individual lives. The Oklahoma home front necessarily also had to keep adapting to policy and industrial changes wrought by the demands of war. Oklahomans learned fur garments could be transformed into jackets to warm merchant marines carrying cargoes across the cold North Atlantic to England, women’s nylon hose could be converted into parachutes, meat fats returned to the grocer contributed to ammunition production, common household rubber items provided essential components in the manufacture of a multitude of necessary military supplies, old phonograph records could be “regrooved” to play modern music servicemen enjoyed, and donated books helped soldiers pass the time in USO facilities being constructed throughout the nation. The war thrust on Oklahomans extensive individual and communal responsibilities. This book recounts the story of civilian Oklahomans who faced the enormous challenges of 1942 and through those sacrifices or transformed vocational or social positions helped defeat our enemies. Available in the Gaylord-Pickens Museum Store by calling toll free 888.501.2059, Amazon.com, and bookstores statewide.
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•One-year subscription to Oklahoma: Magazine of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Hall of Fame Headlines e-newsletter
•Pioneer Spirit benefits plus one weekday use of the Devon Classroom or Centennial Boardroom
•Friends of the Medallion benefits plus one weekend use of a Gaylord-Pickens Museum event space*
INDIVIDUALISM | $50 •Subscription benefits plus annual admission pass to the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame •Invitations to gallery openings, book signings and other Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum events
PERSEVERANCE | $100 •Individualism benefits plus annual family admission pass for two adults and household children under 18 to the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame
PIONEER SPIRIT | $250 •Perseverance benefits plus a 25% discount on a one-time rental of the Devon Classroom*
FRIENDS OF THE MEDALLION | $1,000 •Optimism benefits plus invitation for two to Friends of the Medallion special events in 2019 •One weekday use of a Gaylord-Pickens Museum event space* •Advance opportunity to purchase tickets to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony •Recognition in Oklahoma: Magazine of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony printed program
•Recognition at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony and in the printed program.
CONSTANCY CIRCLE | $10,000 •Gold Circle benefits plus the opportunity to honor one member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame with a Link to a Legacy at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony in November •Customized benefits package
MISTLETOE CIRCLE | $2,500 •Friends of the Medallion benefits plus one weeknight use of a Gaylord-Pickens Museum event space*
*Event space must be used within one year of contribution and is subject to availability; additional fees may apply For more information about any of our donor levels or to customize your donor package at the $2,500 level and above, call Michelle Sopp at 405.523.3207.
FRIENDS OF THE MEDALLION GIVING SOCIETY Friends of the Medallion have a shared interest in preserving and telling the stories of extraordinary Oklahomans. Their support sustains the 92-year tradition of recognizing accomplished Oklahomans with the state’s highest honor–induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
MISSION PARTNER Candor
The Chickasaw Nation ADA
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Burke OKLAHOMA CITY
FRIENDS OF THE MEDALLION E. L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation OKLAHOMA CITY
The Puterbaugh Foundation MCALESTER
Standley Systems, LLC CHICKASHA
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Inc.
James C. and Teresa K. Day Foundation
R. A. Young Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Herman Meinders OKLAHOMA CITY
Reba McEntire DENISON, TX
Anschutz Foundation DENVER, CO
Governor and Mrs. Bill Anoatubby ADA
Mr. and Mrs. Steven Grigsby EDMOND
Devon Energy Corporation OKLAHOMA CITY
Ms. Shannon L. Rich
Mrs. Anne Morris Greenwood
Bruce and Sheryl Benbrook
Fred Jones Hall
Tim Headington DALLAS, TX
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Groendyke ENID
Walton Family Foundation BENTONVILLE , AR
Mustang Fuel Corporation OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. and Mrs. Calvin J. Anthony
Greg and Paige Elliott
Dewey F. Bartlett Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Clayton I. Bennett OKLAHOMA CITY
Honorable Dan and Andrea Boren EDMOND
Charles and Cassandra Bowen Foundation OKLAHOMA CITY
Mrs. Barbara Braught Mr. and Mrs. Steve M. Brown NICHOLS HILLS
Robert and Karen Browne Family Fund NICHOLS HILLS
Nevyle and Carol Cable JENKS
Ann and Tracy Caine OKLAHOMA CITY
Chris and Gini Moore Campbell EDMOND
Mr. Stan Clark STILLWATER
Ms. Amanda Clinton
MISTLETOE CIRCLE Helmerich & Payne, Inc.
Carl and Susan Edwards
GOLD CIRCLE Allied Arts
Robert H. Alexander, Jr.
SUGAR LAND, TX
OSU Center for Health Services TULSA
Mr. and Mrs. Steve Burrage ANTLERS
Mr. and Mrs. William E. Durrett
Phil B. and Joan M. Albert
Dean Andrew M. Coats OKLAHOMA CITY
Richard Cook HINTON
Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth H. Cooper DALLAS , TX Mr. Rick Cooper
Mr. and Mrs. Mick Cornett OKLAHOMA CITY
Randy and Teresa Crook OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. and Mrs. Chad Dillingham ENID
Ms. Rebecca Dixon TULSA
Mr. Everett Dobson OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. Bob Drake DAVIS
Wendy and Gentner Drummond TULSA
Jeffrey T. Dunn
Judge Linda English Weeks Cheryl and Tom Evans ENID
Mr. and Mrs. Ken Fergeson ALTUS
Chip and Shannon Fudge OKLAHOMA CITY
Dr. and Mrs. Gilbert “Gib” Gibson OKLAHOMA CITY
The Harold Hamm Foundation OKLAHOMA CITY
Nathaniel Harding OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. and Mrs. V. Burns Hargis STILLWATER
Fred and Kellie Harlan OKMULGEE
Mrs. Jane B. Harlow NICHOLS HILLS
H. T. and Edna Mae Holden KREMLIN
Ronnie and Shahnaaz Irani OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Jewell STILLWATER
Chancellor and Mrs. Glen Johnson OKLAHOMA CITY
Fred Jones Family Foundation
Mr. John McArthur and Ms. Karla Oty LAWTON
Mary and Jeff McClean SIMPSONVILLE , KY Tom and Brenda McDaniel OKLAHOMA CITY
Frank and Debbi Merrick OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. and Mrs. Joe Moran III TULSA
Jasmine and Melvin Moran SEMINOLE
Mr. and Mrs. Mike Larsen PERKINS
Mr. Bill Lance SULPHUR
Larry and Marilyn Lee RAM Energy, LLC TULSA
Mr. and Mrs. Duke R. Ligon OKLAHOMA CITY
Roxana and Robert Lorton TULSA
Tom and Judy Love OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. and Mrs. John Massey DURANT
Bill and Julie Masterson
Mr. and Mrs. Thad R. Valentine OKLAHOMA CITY
Global Health TULSA
Blake and Donna Wade OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. Gregg Wadley OKLAHOMA CITY
Hardy and Kari Watkins EDMOND
T. D. Williamson
Ms. Leslie B. Paris
Mr. William G. Paul
Mr. and Mrs. Allen Wright
S. Bond Payne and Lori Payne OKLAHOMA CITY
Presbyterian Health Foundation OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. and Mrs. David Rainbolt OKLAHOMA CITY
Adam and Whitney Rainbolt OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. Robert Reilly and Judge Maxey Reilly Mr. Frank C. Robson
Mr. and Mrs. David L. Kyle
Mr. Ron Norick
The Honorable and Mrs. Frank Keating
Dr. Jim Utterback
Mr. and Mrs. G. Rainey Williams Jr.
Rebecca and David Keesling
Linda and Xavier Neira
Bill and Lynne Schonacher OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Ross NICHOLS HILLS
Brenda and Colby Schwartz YUKON
Mr. T. W. Shannon
Gwen Shaw EDMOND
Lee Allan Smith
Charles and Peggy Stephenson TULSA
Marnie and Clayton Taylor OKLAHOMA CITY
Mr. Sean Trauschke OKLAHOMA CITY
THANK YOU TO ALL DONORS OF THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME A portion of every donation, regardless of the amount, goes toward funding Oklahoma: Magazine of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and its distribution to every senior high school library statewide. With questions, please contact Michelle Sopp at 405.523.3207 or email@example.com. This list represents donors making unrestricted contributions as of OCTOBER 31, 2019.
OKLAHOMA’S HIGHEST HONOR
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