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News

In Memoriam

May 1, 2024

Honoring OBA members we have lost


2024

May

Allison Jean Black of Joplin, Missouri, died Feb. 8. She was born Dec. 24, 1979, in Joplin and was a lifetime area resident. She graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising and received her J.D. from the OU College of Law in 2005. She practiced with her father at the law firm of Warten, Fisher, Lee & Brown in Joplin. She also worked as a trust officer at U.S. Bank and, most recently, as a realtor for PRO 100. Ms. Black was a member of the Hope City Church and a volunteer in its nursery during morning services. Memorial contributions may be made to the Joplin Humane Society. 

Caroleen Roberta Carman of Bethany died March 29. She was born Aug. 20, 1954. Ms. Carman received her J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1991. 

Kenneth Ray Feagins of Kingfisher died March 11. He was born Dec. 8, 1960, in San Antonio. He graduated from OU, where he was a member of the President’s Leadership Class and Beta Theta Pi, with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. Mr. Feagins received his J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School in 1989 and LL.M.s from Columbia Law School and the OU College of Law. His legal career began as a litigation associate with Vial, Hamilton, Koch & Knox in Dallas before he moved to Norman to start a private practice focusing on employment discrimination. Mr. Feagins then worked at the Oklahoma State Department of Health before returning to the private sector to practice oil and gas law. Memorial contributions may be made to the Beta Theta Pi Scholarship Fund or the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. 

Robert Samuel Flaniken of Edmond died March 30. He was born April 12, 1944, in Lamesa, Texas. Mr. Flaniken served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. He received his J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio in 1974 and was licensed to practice law in both Texas and Oklahoma until his retirement in 2020. 

Bruce Darrow Gaither of Tulsa died Nov. 11, 2022. He was born May 28, 1951. Mr. Gaither received his J.D. from the TU College of Law. 

Kelly Jeanne Kress of Oklahoma City died March 18. She was born Aug. 1, 1985. She attended Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, where she was the captain of the school’s volleyball team and earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology. Ms. Kress received her J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 2011. She focused her practice on patent law and served on the YWCA board. Memorial contributions may be made to the YWCA. 

Donald Ray Lambert of Del City died Feb. 7. He was born Sept. 12, 1946, in Guthrie. He attended the University of Central Oklahoma and received his J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1974. Mr. Lambert worked for the state of Oklahoma for more than 30 years until his retirement.  

Tomilou Gentry Liddell of Edmond died Nov. 20. She was born Dec. 30, 1952, in El Paso, Texas. She graduated from OU in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing and received her J.D. from the OCU School of Law. She served as an assistant attorney general through the administrations of Attorneys General Cartwright, Turpen and Henry, then as judicial assistant for the Oklahoma Court of Appeals from 1987 to 1995. Memorial contributions may be made to Free to Live Animal Sanctuary. 

Roger Dean Rinehart of El Reno died April 6. He was born June 17, 1931, in El Reno. He graduated from OU with a bachelor’s degree in 1952 and received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1956. He was also a member of the American Bar Association and the Canadian County Bar Association for 68 years. Mr. Rinehart was a member of the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Assistance Program Committee and served as chair of the committee from 1990 to 1993. Under his leadership, the committee established a statewide helpline and distributed thousands of pamphlets. He was awarded the Community Interest Award from The Law and You Foundation and the Joe Stamper Distinguished Service Award from the OBA. He served others, including presenting at international workshops on lawyer substance abuse and serving as a trustee-at-large, a world service delegate and member of the AA General Service Board. Mr. Rinehart was a member of the First Christian Church of El Reno since 1956, where he served as a Sunday school teacher, deacon and elder and was also honored as elder emeritus. He practiced law in El Reno with his father from 1956 to 1977, his brother from 1956 to 1997 and his son from 1989 to 2024. He received the El Reno Public Schools Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and was a longtime board member of the Russell Murray Hospice, as well as chair for many years. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Christian Church of El Reno. 

James F. Robinson of Oklahoma City died Feb. 15. He was born Sept. 26, 1944, in San Diego, California. He graduated from Phillips University and received his J.D. from the OCU School of Law. Mr. Robinson served in the U.S. Navy. He briefly worked in private practice before becoming a city attorney and an assistant district attorney for Oklahoma County and later joining the U.S. Department of Justice. In his 32 years as Assistant U.S. Attorney, he tried more than 150 cases and was counsel of record in more than 30 cases at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He began his career with the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuting drug and gun crimes. He later became an expert white-collar financial crime, from fraud to counterfeiting. Memorial contributions may be made to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma or the WildCare Foundation. 

Tamar Graham Scott of Yukon died March 21. She was born April 11, 1957. Ms. Scott graduated from OU with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and philosophy in 1979. She received her J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1983. She briefly worked for the district attorney of Pottawatomie County before serving as deputy general counsel for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.  

Ricki Walterscheid of Purcell died March 21. She was born Jan. 8, 1979, in Denton, Texas. Ms. Walterscheid graduated from OCU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She received her J.D. from the OU College of Law in 2004 and spent 20 years as a criminal defense attorney at the General Appeals Division of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System. Memorial contributions may be made to Susan G. Komen.  

Stanley Monroe Ward of Noble died March 10. He was born June 10, 1939. Mr. Ward was recruited by Bud Wilkinson to play football at OU, where he became a member of Beta Theta Pi. He then transferred to OSU, where he served as a Ford Foundation scholar and graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1966 and was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Oklahoma Law Review. He began his legal career at the law firm of Treadway & Brandmeyer in Downey, California, and got involved in the business community, serving on the Downey Community Hospital Board of Directors. He also served as president of the Downey Kiwanis Club. Mr. Ward and his family returned to Oklahoma, and he began to work as legal counsel under the leadership of Bill Banowsky. He served as a member of the OU Board of Regents and was a member of the McFarlin United Methodist Church, where he taught lessons at the Friendship Sunday School class. Memorial contributions may be made to the WildCare Foundation or the Amyloidosis Research Consortium. 

Tony Joe Watson of Bartlesville died Jan. 21. He was born July 24, 1946, in Stillwater. Mr. Watson graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in production management and completed the Air Force Reserve Office Training Corps. He was commissioned with the U.S. Air Force, reaching the rank of captain and serving as a flight instructor before being honorably discharged after five years of service. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law and began his legal career in private practice in Ponca City. Mr. Watson later moved to Bartlesville to join the Phillips Petroleum Co., where he served on the legal team until his retirement. Memorial contributions may be made to the Boy Scouts of America. 

Frederick Anthony Zahn of Oklahoma City died April 1. He was born Jan. 17, 1940, in Oklahoma City. He graduated from Yale University and New York University, where he earned a master’s degree in corporate law. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1965 and practiced as a management consultant for law firms in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago before returning to Oklahoma to practice labor relations. Mr. Zahn served as an adjunct professor at the OCU School of Law and the TU College of Law. He transitioned to full-time ministry in Tulsa before serving as executive director of The Education and Employment Ministry in Oklahoma City. He was involved in his community, including as a founding trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a member of the Oklahoma City Council, a trustee of OCU and more. Memorial contributions may be made to Mosaic Community Church. 

April

Willie Joe Albright of Sulphur died Feb. 11. He was born June 27, 1927. Mr. Albright grew up in Sulphur on a row-crop dairy farm. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and served in the Army during the Korean Conflict with the Office of Military Personnel. Mr. Albright received his J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1957. His entire professional career was spent working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which combined with his military service, resulted in 50 proud years of U.S. government service. During retirement, he returned to his childhood home in Sulphur and became involved in the community. He served as a board member for the Murray County Rural Water District. 

Catherine J. Codding Coke of Altus died Feb. 19. She was born Sept. 10, 1950, in Ponca City. Ms. Coke graduated from Shidler High School as valedictorian and earned her bachelor’s degree in music from OU in 1972. She received her J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1975 and served as the city attorney in Altus for many years. During her legal career and continuing into retirement, she was a member of P.E.O. Chapter GQ, the MacDowell Club of Allied Arts and president of the Oklahoma Federation of Music Clubs. Ms. Coke also served as choir director at the First Presbyterian Church of Altus for more than 30 years. 

Charles Lee Hamit of Nowata died Feb. 20. He was born June 5, 1944, in Hays, Kansas. Mr. Hamit served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam Conflict. He graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree and received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1988. He practiced law in Jenks, Sapulpa and Nowata for a decade. For the past 25 years, he served as a municipal judge in South Coffeyville. He was involved with the Living Word Family Church in Nowata and the Grace Community Church in Bartlesville. Mr. Hamit served on the GRAND Mental Health board for 20 years. Memorial contributions may be made to Heifer International, the YWCA or a ministry of your choice.  

James Horace Holloman Jr. of Oklahoma City died Feb. 7. He was born May 27, 1946, in Wichita Falls, Texas. He graduated from OU with a bachelor’s degree in accounting with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1966. He received his J.D. with highest honors from the OU College of Law in 1969. Mr. Holloman served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps Judge Advocate Division from 1969 to 1972. He earned his final degree, an LL.M. in taxation, from the NYU School of Law in 1973, graduating second in his class. He practiced law for 50 years, the majority of which he spent at Crowe & Dunlevy, where he chaired the taxation practice. Mr. Holloman was involved in his community. He served as president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation from 2003 to 2006, as a trustee from 1996 to 2006 and continued to serve as a member of the foundation’s investment committee. He was also an active member of the Deer Creek Board of Education from 1988 to 1998, serving as board president for three years. Throughout his life, he served on countless other committees and groups. Memorial contributions may be made to Trinity Legal Clinic of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation or FaithWorks of the Inner City. 

Kenneth Ray Johnson of Ada died Feb. 29. He was born May 4, 1940, in Lexington. He graduated from OU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1963 and received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1965. Mr. Johnson practiced law in Ada for more than 50 years. He started his own law firm in the early 1970s in partnership with George B. Thompson; the firm was later known as Johnson & Nimmo. Additionally, he was involved in his community, serving as the attorney for the Ada School District and on the Board of Directors of the First National/Vision Bank, Valley View Hospital, the Ada Boys’ Club, the Ada Industrial Development Corp. and the Ada Jobs Foundation. Mr. Johnson was also an adjunct professor at East Central University, where he taught business law. He was named the OBA Outstanding Lawyer of the Year in 1969. Memorial contributions may be made to the Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 

Douglas Herwig Morgan of Oklahoma City died Feb. 7. He was born Sept. 1, 1948, in Oklahoma City. He graduated from OCU and Ohio State University and received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1976. During his time at OCU, he became a member of Kappa Sigma. Mr. Morgan worked as an attorney for the Commissioners of the Land Office and later as a petroleum landman. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Warr Acres.  

William Riley Nix of Sherman, Texas, died Oct. 13, 2023. He was born Feb. 17, 1958, in Lamesa, Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1980 and received his J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1985. Mr. Nix developed a practice as a lawyer for several banks in the Texoma region, representing the same clients for well over three decades. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Sherman and was a Sunday school teacher for many years. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Sherman.  

Robert Mark Solano of Claremore died Dec. 3. He was born April 17, 1951. Mr. Solano received his J.D. from Albany Law School in 1981. 


March

Ronald Dean Cates of Owasso died Jan. 8. He was born Aug. 25, 1955. He received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1980. 

Michael R. Collins of Ponca City died Jan. 16. He was born Aug. 3, 1946, in Cherokee. He graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, where he played football. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1972. Mr. Collins served as the first assistant district attorney for Kay and Noble counties for more than 10 years, and he was honored with the Assistant District Attorney of the Year Award by the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association. In 1984, he opened a private practice in Ponca City, where he practiced for more than 35 years. He also formed the Bankruptcy Law Center before his semi-retirement in 2019 and continued to practice law until his death. Mr. Collins served as past president of the Kay County Bar Association, two rotary clubs and the Cimarron Council of the Boy Scouts of America, of which he was also vice president of the Executive Committee. He served on numerous committees in the state and local bar associations, Leadership Oklahoma, Leadership Ponca City and the Board of Trustees at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, among others. He received national recognition as a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award, along with other recognitions over the years of his service to the Boy Scouts. Memorial contributions may be made to the Northern Oklahoma Humane Society. 

Richard Casey Cooper of Tulsa died Nov. 12. He was born Jan. 20, 1942. He graduated from TU with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1964 and received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1967. He was a recipient of the Mervin Bovaird Foundation Scholarship and served as an editor of the Tulsa Law Review during his final year of school. Mr. Cooper joined the U.S. Navy. In July 1967, he was the first Oklahoma law graduate accepted into the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. In 1971, he returned to civilian life and worked as an attorney in Denver. A year later, he went to work for Boesche, McDermott & Eskridge, the Tulsa law firm where he had been a law school intern, as an associate, partner and finally managing partner until 2001. Mr. Cooper then founded the Cooper, McKinney & Woosley Law Firm and later joined Hall Estill in 2010. He became a shareholder at GableGotwals in 2015, where he continued his practice until November 2023. He practiced complex litigation, environmental law, oil and gas, corporate law and higher education law. Throughout his life, he was involved in his community. He served on the board of the Mervin Bovaird Foundation, of which he was elected president in 1995. He also served on the Board of Trustees for TU and the TU College of Law and the boards of the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa Opera, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa Arts Management Consortium, Tulsa Philharmonic and Bacone College. Memorial contributions may be made to the Austin Gnostic Society or the TU College of Law. 

Vicki Lawrence MacDougall of Oklahoma City died Jan. 21. She was born Aug. 21, 1952, in Oklahoma City. She received her J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1976, graduating top of her class. Ms. MacDougall worked as a clerk for a local judge until she was offered a job as a professor at the OCU School of Law. Her career at the school lasted until her death.  

Susan J. Manchester of Oklahoma City died Jan. 22. She was born July 15, 1950, in Oklahoma City. She graduated from OSU with a degree in art in 1972. After years of working as an accomplished artist, she received her J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1980. Ms. Manchester began her legal career at the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, where she served as chief of the Appellate Crime Division. She eventually became a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for the Western District of Oklahoma for the remaining 30 years of her career. Memorial contributions may be made to the Oklahoma Humane Society. 

Floyd Miller Jr. of Madill died Jan. 16. He was born Sept. 10, 1925, in El Dorado, Arkansas. After graduating high school, Mr. Miller joined the U.S. Navy and served three years as a Seabee in World War II. He attended Murray State College and OSU, where he completed his pre-law undergraduate studies. He received his LL.B. from the OU College of Law in 1950. Mr. Miller served as the county attorney for Love County until 1955 when he moved to Madill to practice law as a solo practitioner until his retirement in 2020. He was a member of the ABA and the American Judicature Society. He also served as president of the Southern Oklahoma Legal Institute and on numerous OBA committees. Mr. Miller was a municipal attorney for Ravia, Mannsville, Oakland, McBride and Mill Creek and a Madill municipal judge for 12 years. He was active in organizations including the First United Methodist Church, Lake Texoma United Ministry, Madill Lions Club and Boy Scouts of America, and he served in various leadership positions, including president, deputy district director and zone chairman of the Madill Lions Club and chairman of the Madill Salvation Army. He was also honored with the Silver Beaver Award. 

Gregory A. McKenzie of Oklahoma City died June 24. He was born Dec. 15, 1947, in Champaign, Illinois. He graduated from OU, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and served as president of the Oklahoma Kappa chapter in 1969. He received his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School in 1972 and began his legal career as the deputy defender general and deputy attorney general for Vermont. Upon returning to Oklahoma in 1981, he joined his father in practicing oil and gas law at the Watson & McKenzie Law Firm. He then founded and served as principal at the law firm of McKenzie, Moffett, Elias & Books from 1987 to 1997 and later represented himself at Gregory A. McKenzie PC from 1997 to 2014. Mr. McKenzie concluded his career as of counsel in the Oklahoma City office of Crowe & Dunlevy as a member of the Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Practice Group. His 40-year-long legal career and accomplishments were almost exclusively devoted to complex oil and gas disputes. Memorial contributions may be made to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. 

Virginia Suzanne Palmer of Yukon died Jan. 2. She was born Dec. 4, 1944, in Oklahoma City. She graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she was a member of Pi Delta Epsilon, and from OU with a master’s degree in history. She received her J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1979. Ms. Palmer worked in private practice with her husband for more than 44 years. She served as an officer of Oklahoma Citizens for Animals and founded Volunteers for Animal Welfare.  

Fenton R. Ramey of Yukon died Jan. 12. He was born May 12, 1935. He graduated from OU in 1957, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta. Mr. Ramey received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1959. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a first lieutenant and agent for the Office of Special Investigations. During his career, he practiced law in Yukon and served as assistant county attorney for Canadian County. He also served as a district judge for Canadian and Oklahoma counties and was a member of the OBA Board of Governors, the Board of Bar Examiners and the Oklahoma Crime Commission. Additionally, he served as an adjunct professor at the OCU School of Law and Redlands Community College and as city attorney for Yukon, Mustang and Piedmont. He practiced law for 61 years. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to support a scholarship at the OU College of Law, payable to the OU Foundation.  

Robert Alan Ravitz of Oklahoma City died Jan. 23. He was born July 15, 1952, in Miami, Florida. He graduated from the University of Colorado and received his J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1977. After law school, he worked in the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office, eventually becoming the chief public defender. Mr. Ravitz was also an adjunct professor at the OCU School of Law, teaching trial practice, capital litigation and criminal procedure. He was known for being an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform. He was honored with the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Clarence Darrow Award, the OCU School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award and the Oklahoma City Association of Black Lawyers Opio Toure Champion of Justice Award, among others. He was also involved with Oklahoma Lawyers for Children, the Oklahoma County Drug Court, Community Sentencing and Court Services, Legal Aid of Western Oklahoma and more, most of which he served in leadership positions.  

Henry Peter Rheinberger of Clearwater, Florida, died Sept. 19, 2023. He was born March 3, 1933, in Tulsa. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and received his J.D. from the OU College of Law. Mr. Rheinberger practiced real estate law at Crowe & Dunlevy from 1961 until his retirement in 2018.  

R. Thomas Seymour of Tulsa died May 27, 2023. He was born July 13, 1942, in Tulsa. He graduated from Harvard University and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1967. Mr. Seymour joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. He practiced in the areas of civil rights, securities and business litigation and criminal defense. He served on the Tulsa Opera board for several years, during which he served as president and founded the President’s Council. He also was on the board of All Souls Unitarian Church and served for a period as president. Mr. Seymour also wrote a book about his experiences in Vietnam. Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. 

Paul Gordon Summars of Oklahoma City died Jan. 11. He was born Oct. 13, 1957, in Beaver. He attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University and transferred to OU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction in business administration in 1979. Mr. Summars received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1982. He was a member of the Blue Lakes Baptist Church and was involved in the South Oklahoma City Lawyers Association and the Oklahoma County Bar Association. He practiced at the Oklahoma City firm of Summars & Associates Law. Memorial contributions may be made to the OU Foundation for the College of Law General Scholarship Fund, Blue Lakes Baptist Church, Oklahoma Foundation Quarter Horse Registry or a charity of your choice. 

Claude S. Woody Jr. of Edmond died Jan. 14. He was born Dec. 24, 1932, in Oklahoma City. He joined the U.S. Army after a year at OU and retired at the end of the Korean War. He returned to OU and earned a bachelor’s degree in business and received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1959. He practiced law for 20 years, opening his own practice in 1966. Mr. Woody attended the Art Students League of New York workshops and won several awards for his art, which led him to begin a career painting portraits. His work – which included portraits of Supreme Court justices, governors and prominent figures across the nation – is displayed in the Oklahoma Heritage Museum, among other places. In 1984, he took over the management of the Woody Candy Co., his family’s business and Oklahoma’s oldest candy manufacturer. Memorial contributions may be made to the Oklahoma Humane Society. 


February

Barry Weldon Benefield of Oklahoma City died Dec. 1. He was born Dec. 28, 1942. Mr. Benefield received his J.D. from the OU College of Law and became a member of the ABA in 1967. After law school, he worked on a project in New Jersey, fighting against discrimination. He also worked for Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, and his heart was with the Native American Center, helping Native Americans all over the world with their legal matters.  

Jordan Barrett Ellis of Oklahoma City died Dec. 10. He was born Aug. 3, 1980, in Tulsa. He was a National Merit Scholar at OU, where he dual majored in letters and Spanish. Mr. Ellis was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, student congress chairman, a Cortez A.M. Ewing Public Service fellow and a J.R. Morris Campus Life Award honoree. He graduated from OU summa cum laude in 2003 and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2006, where he served as managing editor of the Harvard Negotiation Law Review. Mr. Ellis began his career as an associate attorney at the Chicago office of Jones Day, practicing in the area of mergers and acquisitions. He also worked at McAfee & Taft for 10 years before returning to his alma mater. Mr. Ellis served as of counsel for the OU Foundation. He enjoyed outdoor activities, such as backpacking and mountain biking, and was a layperson and teacher at Connect United Methodist Church. Mr. Ellis served on the Board of Directors of Skyline Urban Ministry and the Redbud Classic. Memorial contributions may be made to OU’s Barrett and Megan Ellis Study Abroad Scholarship. 

James H. Essman of Midland, Texas, died Aug. 5, 2023. He was born Feb. 23, 1933, in Tulsa. He graduated from TU with a degree in business administration and received his LL.B. from the TU College of Law in 1958. He was a member of Sigma Chi and Delta Theta Phi and worked full time throughout law school. Mr. Essman began his legal career with Shell Oil Co. as a lease and title analyst before eventually working as a landman. After 10 years, he became an independent petroleum landman and primarily worked on drilling deals, purchasing oil and gas leases, as well as investing in minerals and royalties until shortly before his death. Mr. Essman was a long-time member of the Midland YMCA and a past member of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center or a charity of your choice. 

Don W. Fugate of Inola died July 4, 2023. He was born March 4, 1935, in the township of Strike Axe. He was a member of the Osage Nation and grew up in Tulsa and Collinsville. Mr. Fugate worked in information management systems as a scientific and software programmer for more than 30 years. He retired from American Airlines and began practicing law. He received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1975. He was elected as an Osage Nation district judge for four years and worked as a Tulsa County assistant public defender for six and a half years, representing deprived children. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church Inola preschool ministry.  

John George Ghostbear of Tulsa died Dec. 28. He was born Feb. 16, 1943, in Tahlequah. Mr. Ghostbear graduated from TU with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science and received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1969. He practiced in the area of federal Indian law. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. 

Carlton Robert Jones of Tulsa died April 18, 2023. He was born June 10, 1936, in Enid. He graduated from OSU and the OU College of Law. During his time at OSU, he was the treasurer of Sigma Nu and president of Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting honorary society. At the OU College of Law, Mr. Jones was an editor of the Oklahoma Law Review, a member of the Order of the Coif and president of Phi Alpha Phi. He became a partner of the law firm of GableGotwals and was a founding partner of Johnson & Jones PC in 1994. He also co-authored a book on estate planning in Oklahoma with W. Thomas Coffman.  

Charles Scott Letcher of Kirkwood, Missouri, died July 20, 2023. He was born Sept. 1, 1934, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He graduated from TU in 1955 with a degree in chemical engineering and began his career at General Mills. Mr. Letcher graduated from the TU College of Law in 1979. He began practicing in the areas of labor negotiations, federal registration and patent submissions for Petrolite and also had a private law practice. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ladue Chapel Presbyterian Church or the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center’s Memory & Aging Project. 

Kenneth L. Meyer Jr. of Muskogee died Dec. 18. He was born Feb. 22, 1926, in Woodward. He served in the U.S. Army and Navy during World War II and was recalled by the Navy to serve during the Korean War. Mr. Meyer was initiated into Phi Delta Phi and graduated from the OU College of Law in 1950. He practiced law in Checotah and served as an assistant county attorney of McIntosh County before associating with the First National Bank and Trust Co. of Muskogee, where he was an officer and director for nearly 30 years. He was also elected president of the Trust Division of the Oklahoma Bankers Association. After retiring from banking, he joined the Phoenix Federal Savings and Loan Association to establish trust services for customers. After the company’s closure, he practiced law with Mike Norman until Judge Norman was elevated to the bench. Mr. Meyer served as past president of the Muskogee County Bar Association and as treasurer of the association for 43 years. He held leadership positions in and was a member of various organizations, including the Muskogee Rotary Club, First United Methodist Church, Veterans of Foreign Wars and more.  

George William Newton of Tulsa died Jan. 2. He was born Jan. 24, 1937, in Perry. He graduated from OU, where he was a walk-on member of the football team and an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1959 and his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1962. Mr. Newton was a solo practitioner for 12 years before forming a legal practice with John O’Connor, which evolved into Newton, O’Connor, Turner & Ketchum in Tulsa. In 2013, he received the Tulsa County Bar Association’s Golden Rule Award, recognizing him for making outstanding contributions to the legal profession, having the highest of ideals and being willing to mentor those with less experience. Mr. Newton also served his community through numerous charitable activities. He was a member of the Sunrise South Rotary Club of Tulsa and the Rotary Club of Southeast Tulsa, serving on many committees. He was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church, where he regularly served as a Sunday school teacher. 

Leola C. Schumacher of Muskogee died May 31, 2023. She was born Nov. 14, 1932, in Oklahoma City. Ms. Schumacher graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and from OU with a master’s degree in library science. She received her J.D. with honors from the OU College of Law in 1984 and dedicated her career to helping low-income Oklahomans with legal needs. When she retired, she was the managing attorney for a multi-county region in eastern Oklahoma for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. 

Lana Jeanne Tyree of Oklahoma City died Dec. 23. She was born Jan. 29, 1945, in Oklahoma City. Ms. Tyree graduated from OCU in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and received her J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1971. She practiced law for 50 years in the area of civil law. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or the Humane Society of the United States. 

Larry Gene Vickers Jr. of Vian died Dec. 4. He was born Nov. 9, 1972, in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He graduated from Northeastern State University in 1996 and received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 2000. He worked in private practice for more than 20 years and served as the Vian city attorney for 18 years. Mr. Vickers was the attorney for Webber Falls and surrounding communities as well. He became a judge in Fort Gibson, where he served for four years. Most recently, Mr. Vickers served as an assistant district attorney for Muskogee County. Additionally, he served as the vice president of the Muskogee County Bar Association and was a longtime member of the Landmark Missionary Baptist Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association. 

Joseph A. Walkowski Jr. of Salt Lake City died June 13, 2023. He was born Sept. 30, 1949, in Heidelberg, Germany. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware in 1971 and his J.D. from the Georgetown Law School in 1975. He also earned his master’s degree in business administration with highest honors from OCU. Mr. Walkowski began working as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before going into private practice as a civil litigation attorney. He then became a patent attorney for Halliburton Energy Services and served as chief patent counsel for Eastman Christensen Co. Eventually, Mr. Walkowski returned to private practice with the patent law firm of Trask Britt in Salt Lake City, where he served as general counsel from 1990 until his death. 

Charles Vernon Williams Jr. of Oklahoma City died Nov. 25. He was born Dec. 29, 1930, in Tulsa. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1950 and was discharged in August 1953. Mr. Williams served as a flight chief, putting basic trainees through boot camp. He ended up working on B-25s at the Vance Air Force Base in Enid. He graduated from TU with his bachelor’s degree and received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1961. Mr. Williams served as an assistant district attorney in Beckham and Blaine counties and was appointed district judge for the Osage Nation Tribal Court in 1993. 


January

James Franklin Davis of Oklahoma City died Sept. 20. He was born March 7, 1933, in Eufaula. He graduated from OU, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta, with his bachelor’s degree in accounting. Mr. Davis received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1957. He enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard and served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in Fort Smith, Arkansas, for 18 months during the Berlin Crisis. Mr. Davis practiced at the law firm of Andrews Davis for more than 50 years in the areas of estate and tax. He served on the OU Bizzell Memorial Library board and the OU College of Law Board of Visitors and was a deacon, elder and trustee at Westminster Presbyterian Church. He was a founding board member of Westminster Day School, a founding board member of the Westminster Church Foundation and a member of the 100 Club, which supports families of fallen policemen and firemen. Memorial contributions may be made to the OU College of Law, the Westminster Presbyterian Church Foundation or the Westminster Day School. 

Larry L. Field of McKinney, Texas, died March 24, 2022. He was born Aug. 20, 1937, in Liberal, Kansas. Mr. Field earned his bachelor’s degree from OSU and his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1963. He practiced in Guymon for 42 years, starting with Grester LaMar, which later became Tryon, Field, Sweet & Petty. In 1985, he established his own firm, Law Offices of Larry L. Field PC, where he practiced until his retirement in 2006. 

Charles S. Holmes of Sag Harbor, New York, died March 28. He was born Dec. 29, 1944, in Bayshore, New York. Mr. Holmes graduated from Pennsylvania State University and received his J.D. from the TU College of Law. He began his career at Cities Service Co. in Tulsa as a research engineer and patent lawyer. He eventually became a partner at Doyle, Holmes, Gasaway, Green & Harris in Tulsa and was a member of the American Bar Association. Mr. Holmes collaborated with his brother in the chemical and refining industries to form CHART Industries Inc., which was honored as Best in State in the Plain Dealer 100 in 1997. He was named Ernst & Young’s Ohio Entrepreneur of the Year in 1996 and served on the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital board and the Harvard Medical School Endocrinology Advisory Board. He was a member of the Southampton Bath & Tennis Club, Westchester Country Club, East Hampton Golf Club and Metropolitan Club. Memorial contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. 

Robert Lewis Jackson of Kirkwood, Missouri, died Feb. 11, 2023. He was born Sept. 18, 1940. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his LL.M. from Yale Law School and the New York University School of Law. Mr. Jackson taught tax law at the NYU School of Law, clerked for Judge William Fay of the U.S. Tax Court and practiced tax law in St. Louis for more than 50 years. He also operated a cattle ranch in Oklahoma. Memorial contributions may be made to The Nature Conservancy, the Ethical Society of St. Louis or a charity of your choice. 

William G. Kerr of Oklahoma City died July 4. He was born Oct. 18, 1937. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law. Mr. Kerr was chair emeritus and a founding trustee of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming. Memorial contributions may be made to the National Museum of Wildlife Art. 

Gerald G. Knight of McLoud died April 10. He was born Sept. 18, 1929, in Dill City. He was drafted during the Korean War in 1951 and served in the U.S. Army for two years until 1953, serving at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort Sill. He graduated from OCU with his bachelor’s degree in 1955. Mr. Knight briefly worked at an accounting job with U.S. Gypsum Co. in Sweetwater, Texas, before moving back to Oklahoma. He received his J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1960. Mr. Knight worked as an insurance adjustor for Farmers Insurance for five years. He opened his own law practice in 1966, practicing for more than 50 years. Additionally, he was involved in real estate as a broker and founded his own oil and gas company. Mr. Knight was a member of the American Legion for more than 50 years and, with his wife, cofounded Christian Friends to Others and associated with missionaries in the Philippines, India, China and Mexico. He assisted in legal work for many new churches and ministries in several states. Memorial contributions may be made to any local church. 

James Ellwood McCright of Oklahoma City died Nov. 6. He was born Oct. 6, 1943, in Walker, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1968. Mr. McCright was inducted into the U.S. Army after graduation and completed basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas. He served as a personnel specialist/personnel clerk for the 573rd Personnel Service Company, processing between 500-600 soldiers returning from overseas each day. He was promoted to specialist E-5 less than a year after being inducted and was honorably discharged at the rank of E-5 on Feb. 20, 1970. Mr. McCright received the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service while stationed at Fort Bragg. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in Waterloo, Iowa, serving two years before transferring to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, where he served as a personnel service specialist. He was honorably discharged at the rank of E-6 on April 29, 1981, having served eight years in the reserves. Mr. McCright earned his J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1993 and practiced for 40 years before working at OSU as a risk management specialist for three years. He then returned to practice law and coach. He coached various sports for more than 40 years throughout his career, including basketball, track, football and baseball.  

Joe Bailey McMillin Jr. of Rancho Mirage, California, died Sept. 24. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1968. 

William G. Odell of Denver died July 18. He was born Aug. 15, 1931, in Sapulpa. He graduated from the OU College of Law in 1954 and began working at Humble Oil Co. in Denver. He was a founding partner of the law firm of Poulson, Odell & Peterson and became integrated into the oil and gas industry in Denver. His proudest honors included being named Landman of the Year by the Denver Association of Professional Landmen and being inducted into the Western Energy Alliance’s Rocky Mountain Hall of Fame in 2014. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or a charity of your choice. 

Alan Albert Pason of Oklahoma City died Aug. 29. He was born June 4, 1942, in New York City. His family moved to Tulsa, and he went on to graduate from TU. Mr. Pason served in the U.S. Army Armored Division in Fort Knox. Following his service, he received his J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1969. He began his career at the Department of Justice in the Antitrust Division. He worked on several high-profile antitrust cases and served as chief of the Dallas Field Office until his retirement in 2002. Mr. Pason dedicated his life to public service and charitable causes. 

Gary George Prochaska of Oklahoma City died June 28. He was born Aug. 8, 1951, in Berwyn, Illinois. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he had an athletic scholarship in wrestling. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1976. He began his legal career at the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office and practiced in the area of worker’s compensation. Since 2010, he worked at the law firm of Laird Hammons Laird. Memorial contributions may be made to the ALS Association of Oklahoma. 

Charles Harold Purdy of San Antonio died Oct. 27. He was born Nov. 12, 1931, in San Antonio. He graduated from Baylor University with his master’s degree in economics. Mr. Purdy joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Montana. After his service, he graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1960 and worked for Phillips Petroleum Co. for 30 years.  

Joseph William Strealy of Oklahoma City died Oct. 12. He was born Feb. 15, 1953, in Oklahoma City. He graduated from OU, where he became involved in politics and served as the student body president during his sophomore year. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law. Mr. Strealy began his career at Pritchett and Schnetzler, practicing in the area of employment law. In 1995, he joined the Oklahoma Department of Human Services in the Office of the General Counsel. He retired in 2016 after serving for 21 years. He remained involved in his community, leading a group to prepare and serve spaghetti at his church, volunteering with Oklahoma Lawyers for Children and reading to children in an afterschool program.  

William B. Thompson of Hillsboro, Texas, died Sept. 15. He was born July 8, 1941, in Oklahoma City. Mr. Thompson attended OU on an academic scholarship and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 1965. He served as a lieutenant detailed to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps at Fort Holabird, Maryland, until 1967. He practiced law for 44 years with licenses in Oklahoma, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Hawaii and Texas. He worked for a Wall Street law firm and as legal counsel for corporations including S.S. Kresge (later Kmart Corp.), Pullman Inc. and Robert Bosch Corp. He later worked in small business litigation and on civil rights cases in state and federal courts. Mr. Thompson was a member of the University Club of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago. Since 1990, he developed the “Loophole Bill” brand promoting brief, amusing summaries of oddball law cases. Memorial contributions may be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Hill County or a charity of your choice. 


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