In Memoriam

June 15, 2021

Summer 2021

Jon M. Carter of Cleveland died March 23. He was born Dec. 9, 1954. Mr. Carter received his J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law in 1998. He served as a public defender for the Pawnee Nation Court, providing services to tribal members and acting as guardian ad litem for many children in need of representation.

Gordon Boyd Cecil of Tulsa died April 14. He was born Nov. 5, 1941, in Shenandoah, Iowa. Mr. Cecil served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard. He received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1966. After working for various law firms, he found his calling in white-collar crime and mail fraud as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern and Eastern District of Oklahoma, where he worked from 1989 until retiring in 2009. In retirement, he volunteered at Linnaeus Garden. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Timothy J. Crowley of Enid died May 11. He was born May 20, 1940, in Enid. As an Enid High School athlete, Mr. Crowley was named Oklahoma All-State left tackle, Oil Bowl MVP and was a highly regarded Division 1 football recruit. He received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1966 and practiced law with his father at Crowley and Crowley until his father’s death in 1967. He continued his private practice until 2011 when he joined Gungoll, Jackson, Box and Devoll as of counsel. Mr. Crowley served as president of the Great Salt Plains Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Grand National Quail Club and the Garfield County Bar Association. He also served on the board of the First National Bank, YMCA, Bass Baptist Hospital and was a member of the First Baptist Church of Enid. Memorial contributions may be made to the YMCA.

Shelley L. Ewer of Sayre died April 11. She was born Dec. 15, 1969, in Oklahoma City. Ms. Ewer received her J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 2006. While in college, she worked for the Bennett Schlinke law firm and later served as assistant district attorney for Beckham and Jackson counties. In 2016, she began working for the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System in Mangum, where she worked until her death.

Nancy C. Gaines of Edmond died June 2. She was born Feb. 5, 1942, in Lawton. Ms. Gaines earned her bachelor’s degree from OCU and taught in the business education department of Northwest Classen High School from 1964 to 1968. While teaching, she attended the OCU School of Law at night. She received her J.D. in 1969 and worked as a title examiner for the Commissioners of the Land Office. She opened the first lawyer-based real estate closing company in Edmond in 1977 and later created Consolidated Closing & Escrow Services. In 1993, she opened a private practice, where she practiced until retiring in 2004. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Christian Church of Edmond.

M. Thad Groom of Edmond died April 18. He was born Sept. 18, 1960, in Oklahoma City. Mr. Groom graduated from Edmond Memorial High School in 1978 and attended OSU. He received his J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1985. After practicing for over a decade with McKinney, Stringer & Webster PC in Oklahoma City, he founded the Groom Law Firm, where he primarily practiced in the areas of workers’ compensation and insurance defense. Memorial contributions may be made to the Edmond AA chapter or the First Christian Church of Edmond.

Don Michael Haggerty Sr. of Durant died April 13. He was born Nov. 23, 1944, in Durant. Mr. Haggerty graduated from Caddo High School and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture from OSU. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War as a first lieutenant and was honorably discharged in 1969. In 1988, he received his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, and practiced law in Oklahoma until March 2021.

Kyra Beth Houston of Catoosa died March 21. She was born Sept. 30, 1945. Ms. Houston received her J.D. from the TU College of Law.

Michael Paul Kirschner of Oklahoma City died April 6. He was born April 10, 1943, in Enid. He attended Westminster College but earned his bachelor’s degree from OCU. Mr. Kirschner received his J.D. from the OCU School of Law and was named Graduate of the Year by Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity from the 10th Circuit and OBA Outstanding Graduate of the Year. He was a member of the All Souls’ Episcopal Church for over 50 years, serving as junior and senior warden, lay reader and chancellor of the parish for 38 years.

Peter G. Pierce III of Oklahoma City died May 2. He was born Sept. 17, 1949, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mr. Pierce received his J.D. from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 1974 and litigated in Oklahoma City for 16 years. In 1990, he joined First Bethany Bank & Trust. At the time of his death, he served as chair of the bank and president of First Bethany Bancorp Inc. In 2002, he joined the faculty of OU’s College of Arts & Sciences, where he taught three courses. Mr. Pierce served four terms on the Nichols Hills City Council, chaired the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, ran for a seat in the Oklahoma Legislature and was a member of Leadership Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Academy. Memorial contributions may be made to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, Oklahoma Humanities Council, OU Foundation, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation or the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic.

Jerry L. Salyer of Oklahoma City died March 24. He was born Sept. 20, 1936, at his grandmother’s house in Binger. After attending Cameron Junior College, he enrolled at OU in 1958. He was selected as the outstanding government student and was a Rhodes Scholar nominee. Judge Salyer received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1961. After law school, he served four years in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps at Fort Jackson as a government prosecutor and attorney for defendants. He continued to serve in the active U.S. Army Reserves and retired as a full colonel in 1989. Judge Salyer served as assistant general counsel for the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority for over 20 years. He was also appointed as a judge on the Workers’ Compensation Court, where he served a total of 18 years. He was the first Oklahoma judge to receive the Diploma of Humanities and Judging from the American Academy of Judicial Education.

Marion D. Stinson of Big Cabin died March 28. He was born Aug. 19, 1953. Mr. Stinson received his J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 2002.

Jack F. Tracy of Noble died May 24. He was born Aug. 16, 1949, in Tulia, Texas. Upon graduating from high school in Amarillo, Texas, Mr. Tracy attended Panhandle State University on a basketball scholarship. He worked as a butcher for 13 years and a roughneck in the oil field before returning to college to earn his bachelor’s degree. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1985 and opened a law practice in Purcell. Mr. Tracy taught Sunday school and served as a youth leader and interim pastor at Heaven Bound Pentecostal Church of God in Norman. For the last seven years, he was a member of the Memorial Assembly of God Church in Purcell.

Martha Glea Hatcher Tutwiler of Clinton died Dec. 17, 2019. She was born Jan. 18, 1917, on her family’s ranch. Ms. Tutwiler received her J.D. from the OU College of Law and was the only female in her graduating class. After working as a secretary for the office of Justice Riley, she opened her own law practice in Arapaho, later moving it to Clinton. She was a member of the OBA for over 70 years, a director on the Board of Action Associates and served as chair of the Custer County Mineral Owners for 15 years. Ms. Tutwiler was honored at the 2003 OBA Women in Law Conference as a pioneering woman in law.

Joel Shannon Utley II of Sallisaw died May 13. He was born Feb. 8, 1955, in Tulsa. While in college at OU, he played football for the Sooners under Barry Switzer. He received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1996. Three years later, he earned his master’s degree in taxation. Mr. Utley had his own law and CPA firm in Tulsa, Tahlequah and Sallisaw. He was a certified public accountant, certified internal auditor, licensed private investigator and licensed real estate broker in Oklahoma. He also served as an adjunct instructor at Tulsa Community College and the University of Phoenix.

Richard L. Wheatley Jr. of Tulsa died April 7. He was born July 17, 1933, in Vinita. After attending Shattuck Military Academy in Faribault, Minnesota, he transferred to OU, where he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1957. Immediately following law school, he joined the U.S. Army and graduated from Army Ranger school at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He was elected as a state representative in 1959 and served one term before returning to Vinita to practice law with his father at the Wheatley Law Firm. He was appointed to serve as the first administrator of consumer credit for Oklahoma and chairman and CEO of University Bank in Stillwater. Memorial contributions may be made to the Tulsa Botanical Garden or Asbury United Methodist Church.

Bryan L. Wright of Guymon died Feb. 11. He was born April 13, 1939, in Optima. Mr. Wright served in the U.S. Army Reserves and was honorably discharged in 1965. In 1966,he received his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law. He joined the Guymon law firm of Dale, Belanger and Wright as a partner, which was renamed the Wright & Dale Law Office in 2021. He also served as the Guymon city attorney from 1966 until 1974, and he was recognized by Panhandle Telephone Cooperative Inc. in 2016 for serving as their legal counsel for 40 years. Memorial contributions may be made to the Victory Memorial United Methodist Church.

Please send members news, including obituary information to:

Lauren Rimmer Communications Dept.
Oklahoma Bar Association
405-416-7018 barbriefs@okbar.org

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