July 2024 OHOF Magazine

*Roots Culture History: The Works of LaQuincy Reed & Markus Muse *Saying "I Do" at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum *The Butterfield Trail In Indian Territory: Rocks, Ruts and Springs *Jimmy's Egg and the Escape from Communism *Oklahoma's Story Through Its People

Hall of Fame




July 2024 OHOF Magazine - Page 2

JULY 2024 VOLUME 29 • NUMBER 1 PRESIDENT & CEO Shannon L. Rich VICE PRESIDENT CONTENTS Gini Moore Campbell CHAIRMAN, PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE Bob Burke DESIGN MAGAZINE OF THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME Skip McKinstry skipmckinstry.com 2 From the Chairman From the President Frank W. Merrick Shannon L. Rich 3 Roots Culture History: Subscription .....................................$35 The Works of Individualism ...................................$50 LaQuincey Reed Perseverance .................................$100 and Markus Muse Pioneer Spirit .................................$250 Gini Moore Campbell Optimism ...................................... $500 Friends of the Medallion ................... $1,000 16 Saying “I Do” at the Mistletoe Circle ............................. $2,500 Gaylord Pickens Museum| Gold Circle ................................$5,000 Oklahoma Hall of Fame D O N O R L E V E L SConstancy Circle ...........................$10,000 April Waggoner Mission Partner .......................$25,000 18 The Butter昀椀eld Trail in For additional information contact the Indian Territory: Oklahoma Hall of Fame Rocks, Ruts and Springs 1400 Classen Drive Susan Dragoo Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106 Telephone 405.235.4458 or Toll Free 888.501.2059 30 Oklahoma Hall of Fame E-mail [email protected] Member Spotlight: Visit the organization's website at T. Boone Pickens OklahomaHOF.com Mattie Barlow and Unsolicited manuscripts must be Charles Wren accompanied by return postage. Unless otherwise noted, all images are courtesy of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. 36 Jimmy’s Egg and the Escape from Communism Bob Burke LIBRARY DISTRIBUTION MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE GENEROSITY OF DONORS STATEWIDE. BENEFACTOR 40 Oklahoma’s Story THE CHICKASAW NATION Through Its People LEGACY PARTNER HERMAN AND LADONNA MEINDERS MISSION PARTNERS MR. & MRS. BOB BURKE THE PUTERBAUGH FOUNDATION COVER IMAGE: UNCLE WINNIFRED BY MARKUS MUSE OIL ON CANVAS.

FROM THE FROM THE CHAIRMAN... PRESIDENT... As the newly-elected chairman of and shared his journey with the next It is hard to believe that we are Oklahoma City; Benton C. Clark III, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, I want generation of our state’s and nation’s halfway through 2024. What is Oklahoma City; Tim DuBois, Grove; to thank you for your continued leaders. And, what you may not even harder to believe are the many Drew Edmondson, Muskogee; Anne support of this nearly 100-year-old know, is that he believed so much diverse and impactful contributions Morris Greenwood, Carnegie; and organization. As a board member, in the organization that he made the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (OHOF) Amber Valletta, Tulsa. Each member I knew of the many programs plans to provide additional support already has made in the 昀椀rst six of this year’s class brings a unique and opportunities offered to following his passing. months of this year. Highlights include list of accomplishments, service, and Oklahomans of all ages throughout Through planned giving, Pickens capacity registration for Homeschool generosity to their home state and we this great state. However, through a left a testament gift to the Oklahoma Days, schools from throughout cannot wait to share their stories with different lens, I now see 昀椀rsthand the Hall of Fame in the amount of Oklahoma taking advantage of the you at the 97th annual Oklahoma incredible impact my annual giving $2,000,000. His gift reminded us Free Field Trip Program, more than Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony has on others. that our generosity can, and should, $100,000 awarded in scholarships on November 14th. This year’s In this issue of Oklahoma, T. outlive us. How do you plan for your to high school students, over 3,000 induction ceremony will be held at the Boone Pickens is highlighted in the generosity to outlive you? Planned books distributed to public and school Oklahoma City Convention Center in “Oklahoma Hall of Fame Member giving is an excellent, and easy, way libraries, our traveling exhibits reaching downtown Oklahoma City. Spotlight.” From Holdenville and to support the organizations and every corner of the state and already I encourage you to visit our website, inducted in 2003, Pickens was the causes that mean the most to you. booked well into next year, and the oklahomahof.com, to stay up to date 昀椀rst to step up after the purchase With a wide range of programming announcement of the Oklahoma Hall on the many opportunities you have of our headquarters, a gift from to meet every interest, thank you of Fame Class of 2024. as a donor to the Oklahoma Hall of Edward L. Gaylord, to launch the in advance for considering the On May 16th, in the Bennett- Fame. From gallery exhibits and new renovations of the historic structure Oklahoma Hall of Fame as you plan McClendon Great Hall of the made-in-Oklahoma items in Scissortail the Oklahoma Hall of Fame calls for your legacy of giving. Gaylord-Pickens Museum, we Gifts to our latest book release and home. He showed a keen interest in introduced the men and women special events, we want to see you at the plans, progress, and subsequent who will receive our state’s highest the OHOF! care of the structure that bears honor in November with induction his name—the Gaylord-Pickens to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. The Museum. He spent time in the Frank Merrick 2024 Honorees are: Anita Golden Shannon L. Rich Museum with our youngest visitors CHAIRMAN Arnold, Tecumseh; Greg Burns, PRESIDENT & CEO CHAIRMAN CHAIRMAN’S COUNCIL KIM HENRY | EDMOND FRANK W. MERRICK | OKLAHOMA CITY GOV. BILL ANOATUBBY | ADA CATHY JAMESON | DAVIS CALVIN J. ANTHONY | STILLWATER JACQUELINE PRICE JOHANNSEN | TULSA CHAIR ELECT BRUCE BENBROOK | WOODWARD HANNIBAL B. JOHNSON | TULSA JENNIFER GRIGSBY | EDMOND NEVYLE CABLE | JENKS MAUTRA STALEY JONES | OKLAHOMA CITY GLEN D. JOHNSON | OKLAHOMA CITY DIAN JORDAN | HOCHATOWN CHAIR EMERITUS ROXANA LORTON | TULSA PEGGY KATES | OKLAHOMA CITY BECKY DIXON | TULSA TOM J. MCDANIEL | OKLAHOMA CITY KAREN KEITH | TULSA JOE P. MORAN III | TULSA KATHY LASTER | SHAWNEE ORS VICE CHAIRMEN LEE ALLAN SMITH | OKLAHOMA CITY MARK LONDAGIN | GROVE AMANDA CLINTON | TULSA MARK A. STANSBERRY | EDMOND GREG MASSEY | DURANT SAM COMBS | TULSA WES MILBOURN | OKLAHOMA CITY ART COTTON | OKLAHOMA CITY DIRECTORS MIKE NEAL | TULSA KEN FERGESON | ALTUS PATRICK ADAMS | EDMOND MARTIE OYLER | ENID AMY ANNE FORD | DURANT STEVEN C. AGEE | OKLAHOMA CITY SUSAN CHAPMAN PLUMB | PARK HILL D. SCOTT PETTY | STILLWATER RITA ARAGON | EDMOND BARRY L. POLLARD | WAUKOMIS JARI ASKINS | OKLAHOMA CITY WHITNEY RAINBOLT | OKLAHOMA CITY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AT-LARGE CHAIRMAN JOHN A. “ROCKY” BARRETT | SHAWNEE ROGER RAMSEYER | TULSA CLAYTON I. BENNETT | OKLAHOMA CITY CHIEF GARY BATTON | DURANT EDIE ROODMAN | OKLAHOMA CITY LINDA ENGLISH WEEKS | OKLAHOMA CITY PATRICK A. BROOKS | CHICKASHA ROBERT J. “BOB” ROSS | OKLAHOMA CITY ANDRE’ CALDWELL | OKLAHOMA CITY TIMILA ROTHER | OKLAHOMA CITY TREASURER BRAD CARSON | TULSA JOANN SCHAUB | AFTON STEVE BURRAGE | ANTLERS JILL CASTILLA | EDMOND TERRI CORNETT | OKLAHOMA CITY BILL SCHONACHER | OKLAHOMA CITY CORPORATE SECRETARY CHAD DILLINGHAM | ENID SUZANNE SCHREIBER | TULSA BOB BURKE | OKLAHOMA CITY STANLEY L. EVANS | OKLAHOMA CITY BRANDON D. SCOTT | BROKEN ARROW CATHRYN FRANKS | ROOSEVELT ROBYN ELLIOTT SCRIBNER | ADA ARD OF DIRECT PRESIDENT & CEO ANNE GREENWOOD | STILLWATER KAYSE M. SHRUM | STILLWATER SHANNON L. RICH | OKLAHOMA CITY AJ GRIFFIN | EDMOND RENZI STONE | OKLAHOMA CITY JOE D. HALL | ELK CITY LAUREN WARKENTINE | OKLAHOMA CITY VICE PRESIDENT MICHELLE HARDESTY | TULSA J. C. WATTS, JR. | NORMAN BO GINI MOORE CAMPBELL | OKLAHOMA CITY ANN HARGIS | OKLAHOMA CITY CHAD WIGINTON | ALTUS OklahomaHOF.com 222

Roots Culture history: The Works of LaQuincey Reed and Markus Muse By Gini Moore Campbell 33

LaQuincey Reed 昀椀gurative sculptor from Oklahoma City, LaQuincey A Reed’s earliest art memories are drawing with his uncles on the sun porch of his grandparent’s home. He remembers well creating and drawing his unique superheroes, most likely inspired by Saturday morning cartoons featuring He-Man and Transformers. Reed graduated from Eisenhower High School before earning his BFA in Studio Art from the University of Oklahoma, in addition to a minor in Art History. He spent the next seven years as assistant sculptor on the Oklahoma Land Run Monument, located at the south end of the Bricktown Canal in Oklahoma City, before teaching art at John Marshall Mid-High in Oklahoma City and Jones Middle School respectively. SCULPTOR LAQUINCEY REED. 4



“I don’t think there is anything I would rather do other than make art.” LAQUINCEY REED ONLY ONE TO GET THE JOB DONE BY LAQUINCEY REED, A BRONZE MEASURING 18” X 5” X 4”. 7

An Elected Member of the National Sculpture Society, Reed has exhibited across the United States, from the ACCI Gallery in Berkeley, California to the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg, Virginia and the SummerArts Fest in White昀椀sh, Montana to the Museum of Western Art in Kerrville, Texas. He has been commissioned to preserve the likeness of Oklahoma’s most notable sons and daughters, including Kate Barnard, Hannah Diggs Atkins, Perle Mesta, Clara Luper, James R. Scales, and Chief Allen Wright, just to name a few. Reed’s list of honors and awards is lengthy, including Artist in Residence at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City, named Best in Show by the Chisholm Trail Arts Council in Duncan, 3rd place in the Academy Center of the Arts Juried Expedition in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the Leila Gardin Sawyer Memorial Award during The American Artists Professional League’s 83rd Grand National Expedition in New York City, New York. Represented by the JRB Gallery in Oklahoma City’s historic Paseo district and Illume Gallery West in Philipsburg, Montana, Reed remains committed to telling new stories and bringing to fruition for the world to see the many ideas he has “roaming around in his mind.” Reed said, “Art has given me a passion. I don’t think there is anything I would rather do other than make art. It’s taught me that having a passion in life is so important to having direction in life. I think that people need direction in life to develop and progress as a person.” FLETCHER SUNDOWN SPAIN BRONZE BY LAQUINCEY REED. 8


Markus Muse self-taught artist with more than a decade of professional experience and owner of Oklahoma A City’s Museart Tattoo Co., Markus Muse was introduced to oil painting through his career as a tattoo artist. As a painter, with mediums including oil, watercolor, aerosol, and acrylic, Muse emphasizes the connection between African and world history. Through daily research he discovers the pieces of African history that have been untold or distorted and preserves those pieces on canvas. He focuses on the historical link which creates the contrast that not only attracts attention to art as a whole, but to culture and its measurement as a moral compass. His work, classical yet contemporary, invokes historical dialogue and provides an education for the viewer. Muse’s objective is to record the art of today with the traditions of the past; to involve the everyday working man with a sense of unity through supported cultural awareness. MARKUS MUSE WITH SISTER-COUSINS. 10


“I think that the more we become artists and artistic, the more we become creators and creatives. These are our natural instincts taking us to the best portions of ourselves.” MARKUS MUSE KEMETIC ANNUNCIATION, OIL ON CANVAS, BY MARKUS MUSE. 1212


An Oklahoma City native, Muse was born into a family steeped in creative talent. Some of his greatest memories are, as early as the age of eight, sharing art between family members. It was during the sixth grade that Muse’s large-scale color pencil portrait of Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver Randy Moss revealed his unique talent for detail—a characteristic his work is known and celebrated for today. The Moss piece sparked a 昀椀re in Muse, a 昀椀re to ensure immeasurable detail in his multiple creative outlets. Muse believes that understanding art and becoming a creator provides the avenue to change one’s reality. He also believes that everyone has an artist in them and hopes his work allows the artist in the viewer to come forward. In addition to owning and operating the successful Museart Tattoo Co. and art studio, Muse is currently attending Oklahoma City Community College and pursuing his BFA. He continues to show and create one-of-a-kind pieces re昀氀ecting the detail and subject matter he is known for. 14


Saying “ Saying “ Do Do” ” at the Gaylord-at the Gaylord- Pickens MPickens Museum | Oklahoma Hall of Fuseum | Oklahoma Hall of Fameame Jasmine Johnson and J. R. Brawner asmine Johnson, born into a military family, moved to Oklahoma as a child. Her father J was an o昀케cer in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed in Oklahoma City. J.R. Brawner’s family also relocated to Oklahoma, and he is a 昀椀rst-generation Oklahoman. Jasmine, an accomplished a琀琀orney, found herself captivated by J.R., a pharmaceutical sales representative. Their conversations soon blossomed into a deep connection, as they discovered a shared passion for family, food, and traveling, among many other things. Balancing demanding careers with their shared passion for travel, Jasmine and J.R. navigated life’s challenges hand in hand. The couple embarked on journeys that took them all over the United States, as well as places abroad. From the bustling markets in the Bahamas to the serene beaches of Cancun, their adventures were a tapestry woven with laughter, discovery, and culinary delights. They savored exotic dishes, eager to immerse themselves in each culture’s 昀氀avors and traditions. As days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, their bond grew stronger. They laughed together, shared personal challenges, and supported each other through thick and thin. Their love story continued to unfold, a testament to the strength of two individuals who found solace and joy in each other’s company. It became clear they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. J.R. surprised Jasmine by proposing with a ring that re昀氀ected the beauty of their love. They vowed to create a life 昀椀lled with love, laughter, and support for one another, surrounded by family and friends, on December 2, 2023 in The Foyer of the Gaylord-Pickens Museum |Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Together they lit a unity candle, representing the unity and togetherness as they began their married life. The guests were enthusiastic and excited, clapping at every opportunity. A昀琀er the ceremony, guests made their way to the Great Hall where the theme was classic and timeless with white 昀氀owers and crystals that sparkled all night. A delicious bu昀昀et dinner was served, and the champagne toasts were celebrated by all. The bride snuck away to change into a reception dress, and everyone headed to the dance 昀氀oor. The happy couple kicked it o昀昀 with a choreographed number and then danced the night away with their guests. Their grand send-o昀昀 was celebrated with sparklers. Mr. & Mrs. Brawner enjoyed a tropical honeymoon in Guanacaste, Costa Rica and look forward to residing in Edmond, Oklahoma. Jasmine Johnson and J. R. Brawner were married in The Foyer of the Gaylord-Pickens Museum | Oklahoma Hall of Fame on the evening of December 2, 2023. b-124: Jasmine Johnson and J. R. Brawner were married in The Foyer of the Gaylord-Pickens Museum | Oklahoma Hall of Fame on the evening of December 2, 2023. b-94: An “Oklahoman by Choice” and a 昀椀rst- generation Oklahoman, Jasmine Johnson and J. R. Brawner respectively. An “Oklahoman by Choice” and a 昀椀rst-generation Oklahoman, Jasmine Johnson and J. R. Brawner respectively. 16

Saying “ Saying “ Do Do” ” at the Gaylord-at the Gaylord- Pickens MPickens Museum | Oklahoma Hall of Fuseum | Oklahoma Hall of Fameame Elly Kohs and Ryan Brantley lly Kohs, a 昀椀昀琀h-generation Oklahoman, and Ryan Brantley, a sixth-generation EOklahoman, met at a hockey game in February of 2019. They went on their 昀椀rst date one week later. Once they started talking, they realized they had crossed paths many years before during junior high. Elly grew up with Ryan’s sister and had no idea she was dating her friend’s brother. As the days passed their love grew stronger. They discovered they both shared a love for food, family, and their dogs. They o昀케cially became a couple in March of that same year and Ryan popped the question during a romantic evening in 2022. Elly spent all her time planning the perfect wedding while 昀椀nishing law school at Oklahoma City University. At the Gaylord-Pickens Museum | Oklahoma Hall of Fame on October 28, 2023, Elly and Ryan vowed to spend their lives together. Their wedding epitomized the essence of autumn. Every detail, from the bridesmaid dresses to the table decor, embraced the vibrant hues and cozy charm of the season. Joy & Honey Events coordinated the festivities, and it was their 昀椀rst wedding at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. The Foyer served as the backdrop for the ceremony, followed by a cocktail hour. Fall 昀氀owers 昀椀lled the Great Hall. Dinner and drinks were enjoyed, champagne toasts brought on tears, the cake was cut, and everyone spent the rest of the evening dancing to great music. Glow sticks and other swag made its way to the black and white checkered dance 昀氀oor. The couple honeymooned in Sea琀琀le, Washington, exploring Bainbridge Island and hiking Mount Rainier. Elly and Ryan have been each other’s biggest fans in life’s new endeavors. From new jobs, law school, hobbies, moving, exciting accomplishments, and devastating hardships, they have supported each other through it all. Ryan and Elly will reside in Oklahoma City’s Midtown. BY APRIL WAGGONER Ryan Brantley and Elly Kohs were married at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum | Oklahoma Hall of Fame on October 28, 2023. Surrounded by a bridal party of family and friends, Ryan Brantley and Elly Kohs began their life as “Mr. and Mrs.” at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. 17

il a ield Tr f 琀琀er u The B y: r o it n Te爀爀 a i in Ind gs in r nd Sp ts a u , R ocks R he old road is still there, if you look for it. Faint traces skip across the countryside on a southwesterly T diagonal, spanning a corner of Oklahoma from Fort Smith to the Red River. Wells and cisterns and rock-lined springs, rubble, and broken grave markers remain deep in the woods. Stones stood on edge along wagon ruts serve as signposts. They tell the story of four-horse teams drawing stagecoaches at top speed across the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, rushing to bring the United States mail to the Paci昀椀c Coast, a destination nearly By Susan Dragoo 2,800 miles from the journey’s beginning in St. Louis, Missouri. 18

il a ield Tr f 琀琀er u The B y: r o it n Te爀爀 a i in Ind gs in r nd Sp ts a u , R ocks R 19

he stagecoaches belonged to Tthe Overland Mail Company, organized by New York transportation giant John Butter昀椀eld in 1857. Awarded the government contract to provide the 昀椀rst transcontinental overland mail service, Butter昀椀eld set up the line in a year’s time, a remarkable feat given the infrastructure required along the frontier. The stage line operated for two and a half years on the “Southern Route,” passing through Missouri, Arkansas, Indian Territory, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California, bound for San Francisco to serve a recently transplanted population hungry for news from the east and letters from home. The service operated successfully, transporting mail and passengers in both directions ef昀椀ciently and safely, for the most part, during its brief life. The 昀椀rst westbound 20

Muriel Wright, a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, was Oklahoma’s most prominent historian of the Bu琀琀er昀椀eld trail. She created the map of the trail, le昀琀. Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society. 21

stagecoach, which left Missouri on About two hundred miles of the old September 16, 1858, arrived in mail road cross southeast Oklahoma and, San Francisco one hour shy of twenty- thanks to the efforts of twentieth-century four days’ time, a breathtaking historians, the route is well understood. performance for long-distance overland At 昀椀rst it followed the Fort Smith-Boggy travel in the day, and shorter times Depot Road, using wagon trails which had were often recorded. In the spring of existed since the late 1830s as a result of 1861, with the onset of the Civil War, the Choctaw and Chickasaw removals and the Overland Mail service was moved U.S. Army movements. Oklahoma historian to a more northern route. Muriel Wright extolled the route, writing: In spite of its short life, the The good roadbeds in the valleys, name “Butter昀椀eld” acquired cultural shallow crossings on the larger signi昀椀cance over the years as an icon streams and easy passes through of the Old West. In 2023, it was named the outlying ridges of the San Bois a National Historic Trail, a federal and the Winding Stair Mountains lay designation which identi昀椀es and along this same line, which made it protects pathways of historic importance the best and the most direct route for public use and enjoyment. The for travel from Fort Smith across the Butter昀椀eld Trail joins the Santa Fe Choctaw and the Chickasaw country Trail and the Trail of Tears as the to Red River and points southwest. So third National Historic Trail within it was a natural trailway undoubtedly Oklahoma’s borders. followed by the native Indian tribes and by visitors to the country lying between the Arkansas and Canadian and the Red rivers long before the 昀椀rst permanent settlements were established in that region. Near Atoka, the Fort Smith-Boggy Depot Road converged with the Texas Road, which began as a trail leading from St. Louis to trading posts among the Osage people in southwest Missouri and northeast Oklahoma. It became a well traveled road by the 1820s, continuing southwesterly into Texas and serving as The Centennial Commi琀琀ee of the Oklahoma the avenue by which thousands of home Historical Society placed historic markers at all of seekers traveled to Texas before the the Oklahoma Bu琀琀er昀椀eld stations in 1958. coming of the railroad in 1872. 22

For twenty-昀椀rst-century travelers, the Butter昀椀eld in Oklahoma offers a pleasant couple of days exploring back roads and off-the-beaten-path historic sites. One of the challenges of 昀椀nding the trail today is that most of it, except what has been incorporated into modern byways, is behind barbed wire fences and locked gates. Luckily, in 1958 the Oklahoma Historical Society placed roadside markers at the sites of Butter昀椀eld relay stations to commemorate the trail’s centennial, and most of the monuments are still intact and accessible. Relay stations provided fresh teams of horses or mules so the stages could Tandy Walker was governor of the Choctaw keep going, night and day. Passengers Nation when the 昀椀rst westbound Bu琀琀er昀椀eld stage could also embark or disembark at these passed through. He ran a Bu琀琀er昀椀eld relay station spots. In the Indian Territory, the stands at Skullyville, near present-day Spiro. Courtesy were operated primarily by Choctaw Oklahoma Historical Society. and Chickasaw citizens living on or near Walker’s Station originated as the Choctaw Agency the mail road, some of whom obtained circa 1832. It was destroyed by 昀椀re in 1947, at which concessions from their governments to time it was the oldest structure in Oklahoma. charge tolls to non-citizens for use of road improvements such as bridges and turnpikes. A dozen stations dotted the stage line across Oklahoma, an average of sixteen miles apart. Walker’s Station at Skullyville was the easternmost. The trail then ran southwest through Red Oak, Wilburton, Atoka, and Boggy Depot before reaching the Red River at Colbert’s Ferry. The site of Walker’s Station occupies a spot on a quiet country lane just outside Spiro. It originated as the Choctaw Agency, established about 1832 to manage the Choctaw removal from the western end, and to distribute annuities to Choctaw citizens. By 1858, the agency house served as the home 23

The vehicles used by the Overland Mail company in Indian Territory and points west were celerity wagons, tailor made for rugged roads. Illustration courtesy Gerald T. Ahnert. of Choctaw Governor Tandy Walker, who was also the Butter昀椀eld station keeper. This historic structure survived until 1947 when it burned, at that time the oldest structure in Oklahoma. Today the spot is on private property and would be easy to miss, but on Spring Road a green sign for Roselawn Cemetery marks a turn-off, and a walk y the time the Overland Mail north along the street reveals a granite Breached the Indian Territory, it was marker and bronze plaque in a trace of riding on something other than a the stagecoach road. Looking southwest stage “coach.” In Arkansas, westbound from the marker, the depression in the mail and passengers transferred from earth is obvious. the familiar Concord coaches to “Celerity Other historic sites in the area invite wagons,” designed speci昀椀cally for the investigation. The Skullyville cemetery rough roads of the west. The wagon’s abides just west of the station, a place weight was about half that of a stagecoach of quiet antiquity where the graves and its lower center of gravity made it less of Tandy Walker and other Choctaw apt to tip over. The Celerity wagon was leaders are shaded by massive oaks. used on about seventy percent And, just a few miles north, the Spiro of the Butter昀椀eld Overland Mail route and Tandy Walker and Mounds Archeological Center is open for the entirety of the segment through other Choctaw leaders to the public, one of the nation’s most Indian Territory. are buried in the important American Indian sites and From Walker’s, the road continues picturesque Skullyville the only such prehistoric archaeological southwest to Trahern’s Station then, about cemetery near Spiro. site in Oklahoma. sixteen miles southwest, a real treasure 24

comes into view. It is the Edwards Store, The Edwards Store obtained nearby. Efforts to preserve the the only standing structure remaining is the only structure structure are currently in progress and along the Choctaw Nation segment of the dating from Bu琀琀er昀椀eld it is accessible to the public when active road contemporaneous with the operation days still standing along restoration efforts are not underway. of the Overland Mail. The log cabin the Choctaw Nation Beyond Edwards Store, the road segment of the trail. was the home of storekeeper Thomas passes through a gap in the mountains Edwards, an Englishman who married into known as the Narrows and the site of a Choctaw family. Meals were provided Holloway’s Station, then enters present- for travelers at the establishment, which day Red Oak. Turning due west, the trail began in 1850 as a single log structure crosses the Fourche Maline and arrives built from hand-hewn pines and sandstone at Riddle’s Station, just east of present-day Lutie Cemetery, on the eastern outskirts of Wilburton. From Lutie, the old road parallels U.S. Highway 270 for several miles then turns southwest, ascending to Mountain Station. 25

the hill. The wagon left the road, collided with a tree, and was broken to pieces. A passenger named Andrew Mackey was Mountain Station, killed and everyone on the stage was atop Blue Mountain injured. A grave marker for Mackey is southwest of located in the Mountain Station cemetery. Wilburton, was the site Also riding on the wrecked stage was of the only accident Eadweard J. Muybridge, traveling as a fatal to a passenger on through passenger from San Francisco. the entire Bu琀琀er昀椀eld Best known for his use of photography Overland Mail route. to capture animals in motion for the 昀椀rst time in 1878, Muybridge laid the groundwork for modern motion pictures, developing a shutter system to stop motion and one of the earliest motion picture projectors, the zoopraxiscope. Headed to the east coast to board a ship for his native England, Muybridge sustained a serious head injury in the accident. He eventually recovered and lthough not an of昀椀cial Butter昀椀eld returned to California, but the long-term stop, Mountain Station occupies a effects of the head injury led to signi昀椀cant Asigni昀椀cant place in history. It was changes in Muybridge’s personality. here, where stages would stop for water Rather than inhibiting his achievements, after climbing the mountain, that the only however, some speculate the head injury Butter昀椀eld accident fatal to a passenger enhanced his creative abilities. He became occurred. On July 20, 1860 an eastbound more willing to take risks and pursued his stage carrying eight passengers wrecked art obsessively, perhaps contributing to when the horses ran away on the descent of his innovations in the 昀椀eld of photography. Eadweard Muybridge, a pioneer in early motion picture photography, was also a passenger on the ill-fated Mountain Station Bu琀琀er昀椀eld stage. Despite a serious injury to his head with lasting e昀昀ects, Muybridge went on to a creative and successful career. 26

Beyond Mountain Station, the trail becomes more obscure. An unpaved county road over a low water bridge at Buffalo Creek leads to Pusley’s Station, where only the base of the historical marker remains. From here, the original trail passes through what is now private ranchland, so a detour through Hartshorne is required. Reconnecting with the trail in Ti Valley via Savage Highway, the route continues west between limestone hills through a broad prairie. Soon, near Pine Top Cemetery, the sudden presence of the A yellow metal sign saying “Bu琀琀er昀椀eld” marks a turn-o昀昀 leading to Indian Nation Turnpike interrupts the the ruins of a later stage stand at Bread Town Creek. nineteenth-century reverie induced by miles of lollygagging along dirt roads. Immediately after the bridge over the An old well survives at Pusley’s Station, in the southwestern reaches turnpike, a left on the county road leads of Latimer County. to the marker for Blackburn’s Station, hidden in brambles along the roadside, its bronze plaque missing. Turning back west, the road traverses Brushy Creek at a low water crossing and continues along tree-shaded dirt and gravel to Waddell’s Station. Soon the path enters the Atoka Wildlife Management Area. There, a yellow metal sign saying “Butter昀椀eld” appears at a southbound turn-off, leading to the ruins of a stage stand at Bread Town Creek, not an of昀椀cial Butter昀椀eld station but a near- contemporary. 27

eaving the Wildlife Southwest of Atoka, the next LManagement Area, the road Butter昀椀eld station was located at pops out onto pavement Boggy Depot which, in 1858, was amid high-speed traf昀椀c at U.S. the largest and most important Highway 69 near Stringtown. The settlement between Fort Smith, back roads between Spiro and Arkansas, and Sherman, Texas. Stringtown have wound through The station was located at Guy’s some of Oklahoma’s most Hotel. Boggy Depot’s most famous beautiful mountains and prairies, resident was Chief Allen Wright, where settlements are few and other Chief Allen Wright, perhaps best remembered for suggesting vehicles are rare. It would have seemed a member of the the name, “Oklahoma,” meaning “Red 昀椀tting to meet a stagecoach along the Oklahoma Hall of People” in Choctaw. Wright’s family home way. Fame, was the most in Boggy Depot survived until 1952, when The next station is Geary’s Stand, prominent resident it was destroyed by 昀椀re. Today Boggy which sat on the east side of North Boggy of Boggy Depot. He Depot is a quiet and attractive recreation Creek and was inundated in 1959 by the famously suggested area managed by the Chickasaw Nation. creation of the Atoka Reservoir. A marker the name “Oklahoma” Allen Wright is buried in the adjacent for the territory in for Geary’s is located at the dam and a 1866. Boggy Depot Cemetery, now the only stretch of the original trail is walkable on visible remnant of the once-thriving the eastern shore of the lake. Continuing community other than the historical south, the Atoka County Museum and marker at the park’s eastern entrance. Civil War Cemetery, about a mile north of From Boggy Depot, the road continues Atoka on U.S. Highway 69, offers another toward Red River, passing through Nail’s opportunity to walk the trail. Crossing, a station on the east bank of the Blue River. On the western bank is the site Allen Wright’s antebellum home in Boggy Depot survived until 1952. of Fort McCulloch, an 1863 Confederate encampment. Both are on private property, but the Fort Washita Historic Site, just a few miles off the trail, offers a worthy side trip. Established in 1842, Fort Washita was, by the 1850s, a busy stop for military expeditions and travelers headed for California’s gold 昀椀elds. Fisher’s Station is the next Butter昀椀eld stand south of Nail’s and from there the trail skirts the western edge of Durant, then ends its Oklahoma leg at Colbert’s Ferry on the Red River. The historical marker for Colbert’s is located on River 28

Road and there, from the county highway, in the history of Oklahoma and other the Colbert family cemetery is visible. sections of the Southwest, there still The pilings of a toll bridge established lingers something of the spirit of Indian later at the ferry site can be viewed from Territory days.” the U.S. Highway 69 bridge across the Although no longer a continuous, Red River. discrete pathway, the road abides With the coming of the railroad to nonetheless, and something of that Indian Territory in 1872, many of the same spirit of Indian Territory days does villages along the Butter昀椀eld road fell on indeed still linger. Faded scars on the hard times and dwindled away, bypassed land remain: a swale through a pasture, as new communities sprang up nearer a cutdown creek bank, a path worn bare the railroad. As a consequence, many through the forest. In forgotten places, road swales, old wells, springs, and other A stretch of the stone-lined wells still stand near the physical remnants of the trail’s existence Bu琀琀er昀椀eld road is rubble of rock buildings and graveyards have been preserved away from major memorialized at the of broken tombstones. But with each roads. Along the old mail route, the Atoka County Museum. passing year, these few tangible remains preponderance of unpaved byways of the Butter昀椀eld crumble and disappear. passing through sparsely populated farm Even the 1958 concrete and bronze and ranchland lends an air of remoteness markers are deteriorating. This portal to which prompts the imagination to wander a different time is closing in a physical back through time, contemplating sense, disintegrating as earthly things do. the experience of earlier travelers. As Fort Washita, But the story of Oklahoma’s Butter昀椀eld Muriel Wright wrote in 1933, “For one established 1842, Trail offers a journey through time back who will follow the traces of the old was an important to Indian Territory’s antebellum days, as stage line road from Fort Smith to Red stop adjacent to the concrete and steel dissolve into wagon River, bearing in mind the part it had Bu琀琀er昀椀eld trail. ruts, hewn logs, and 昀氀owing springs. 29

OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME MEMBER SPOTLIGHT T. BOONE PICKENS il and gas entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens was one of America’s most successful O businessmen and philanthropists of the twentieth and twenty-昀椀rst centuries. He created thousands of jobs and, over his lifetime, donated more than $1 billion to a wide range of charities, organizations, and institutions, including Oklahoma State University, the University of Texas’ M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and the American Red Cross. Born just before the Great Depression, Pickens’ story began in a small Oklahoma town. Perhaps growing up during wide- spread tough economic times shaped his view of business and philanthropy. T. Boone Pickens BY MATTIE P. BARLOW & CHARLES WREN 30

Born on May 22, 1928, Pickens was the 昀椀rst baby born via cesarean section in Holdenville. His father, Thomas Boone Pickens, Sr., was an attorney for the land acquisitions department of Phillips Petroleum Company. His mother, Grace Pickens, ran the Of昀椀ce of Price Administration for three Oklahoma counties during World War II, rationing Main Street in Holdenville, Oklahoma. Aerial view of Holdenville, Oklahoma, the goods that were low in supply. The Photo by the Oklahoma Publishing Company. hometown of T. Boone Pickens whose home Pickens grew up in had been built Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society. childhood home was located at 217 N. by his grandfather, and his maternal entered the oil and gas industry, taking his Kelker Street. Holdenville was named for grandmother and aunt lived next door. The J. F. Holden, general manager of the 昀椀rst job as a geologist at his father’s former Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Gulf Railroad. tight-knit family instilled in Pickens lifelong employer—Phillips Petroleum. Photo by Aero Photo Company. August 25, values, morals, and business ethics. In Pickens, however, soon became 1930. Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society. 2019, longtime friend and Oklahoma discontent with Phillips Petroleum, mostly State University President Burns Hargis as a result of boredom and disagreement said of Pickens, “Boone could keep you with the company’s bureaucratic ways mesmerized with stories of Holdenville and of doing business. He stayed with them small-town America. The in昀氀uence of his for about three years before deciding to family in his rural community was profound. leave to start his own company. Using The Holdenville life lessons of honesty and $2,500 in cash from his savings, along hard work set the pace and trajectory of with a substantial $100,000 in borrowed his life.” money, Pickens established Petroleum As a young boy, Pickens operated Exploration with two other investors in a successful newspaper route on his 1954. The company’s primary operations bike. His customer base began with 28 were in locating and supplying oil. In 1959 households, but he grew his business he formed his second company, Altair Oil through acquisitions. The additional & Gas, which performed similar operations T. Boone Pickens graduated from Oklahoma neighboring routes he acquired grew his in western Canada. Pickens took both State University in 1951. Photo by Meyers Photo delivery route to 154 papers a day, six Shop. Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society. days a week, resulting in $38 a month. His grandmother repeated messages about 昀椀scal responsibility to the twelve-year-old Pickens, important lessons in the midst of the Great Depression. He saved the money accumulated from his paper route under a 昀氀oor board in his closet. In 1944, when Pickens was in his teens, his family moved to Amarillo, Texas, where he attended high school and excelled in basketball. He enrolled at Texas A&M on a basketball scholarship. After the scholarship was not renewed, Pickens transferred to Oklahoma A&M College, known today as Oklahoma State University, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in geology. Pickens fell in love with the campus and the culture of the university. He graduated in 1951 and immediately T. Boone Pickens shakes hands with Gulf Oil Chairman James Lee before a special shareholders meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 2, 1983. Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society. 31

T. Boone Pickens could often be found in companies public in 1964, forming restructuring of corporate America. Pickens his company’s 昀椀tness center peddling on Mesa Petroleum Co., and establishing its 昀椀rst implemented this strategy in 1982 with a stationary bike or playing racquetball. headquarters in Amarillo, Texas. the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Cities Service Photograph by the Oklahoma Publishing Company, January 11,1983. Courtesy In 1969 Pickens bought out Hugoton Company. The attempt resulted in an Oklahoma Historical Society. Production Company, giving Mesa a intense bidding war among several rival substantial portion of the Hugoton Gas oil companies that drove up stock prices. Field. The largest gas 昀椀eld in the nation In the end, Occidental Petroleum bought at the time, it stretched from the Texas out Cities Service and Mesa walked away Panhandle to southwestern Kansas. The with a $31 million pro昀椀t. following year Pickens struck out in his Pickens went on to use the strategy on attempt to buy out the Fort Worth, Texas- 昀椀ve more big oil companies, including based Southland Royalty Company, who Unocal and his one-time employer managed to avoid the takeover by waging Phillips Petroleum, which earned him $89 a successful legal campaign against Mesa. million. Perhaps his most stunning victory Three years later, however, Mesa grew came in 1984 when he took on Gulf Oil, considerably again as Pickens purchased leading to a merger between Gulf Oil the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based and Standard Oil Company to create Pubco Petroleum Company, acquiring a Chevron. In the end, Mesa earned $760 large number of oil and gas properties million. While his success skyrocketed, located in southern Louisiana, the Rocky he never forgot his time in Stillwater. In Mountains, and the northern part of the 1983, the Oklahoma State University mid-western United States. Board of Regents awarded Pickens the A longtime advocate of physical 昀椀tness Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service as fundamental for increasing the focus, Award in recognition of a $1 million stamina, and productivity of his company donation that he made to the university’s workforce, Pickens built a $2.5 million, School of Geology. 30,000-square-foot 昀椀tness center at Mesa In 1985, Pickens became recognized Petroleum’s headquarters in 1979. He as the highest-paid corporate executive instituted corporate wellness programs for in the United States for earning more his employees and their spouses, and was than $20 million in salary and deferred In 1985, T. Boone said to have been at the center most days, compensations from Mesa. That year he Pickens was featured usually playing racquetball or peddling on turned Mesa Petroleum into Mesa Limited on the cover of a stationary bike. Partnership, Inc., with an emphasis on TIME Magazine. Prior to the 1980s, Mesa had grown returning capital to shareholders, following Courtesy Oklahoma into one of the largest independent oil and a friendly merger with Amarillo, Texas- Historical Society. gas companies in the world. By 1982, its based independent oil company Pioneer assets had exceeded $2 billion. In both Natural Gas. He also formed the Boone 1981 and 1982, The Wall Street Transcript Company with business partners Drew awarded Pickens with the “gold award,” Craig, Sidney Tassin, and David Batchelder acknowledging him as the top executive in to make deals separate from Mesa. In the oil industry. addition, Pickens’ victory over Gulf Oil Mesa was getting ready to take on the prior year earned him the spotlight on a number of big oil companies. From a 1985 TIME Magazine cover featuring Pickens’ perspective, many of these Pickens holding a hand of playing cards companies were being led by corporate depicting oil derricks. The cover drew managers whose lack of regard for infamy from rival corporate circles. shareholders’ interests and ability to get In 1986, Pickens founded the United away with incompetence weakened their Shareholders Association (USA) to companies. Pickens instituted a unique address a wide range of shareholders’ A popular shirt among former Cities Service corporate acquisition strategy to challenge issues with corporate governance. At the employees in Tulsa, Oklahoma shows entrenched, ineffective corporate height of its eight-year existence, it had the history of that company since 1981. managements by focusing on their lack of more than 65,000 members. Once a Photograph by Bob Albright for The Daily ownership and accountability. The result year, USA published a report listing 昀椀fty Oklahoman, September 15, 1983. Courtesy triggered a movement that led to a broad of the most non-responsive companies Oklahoma Historical Society. 32

to shareholders. It also critically assessed Donating more than $652 million to his alma mater, T. Boone Pickens was one of the most companies, with ratings determined by generous university benefactors of all time. Courtesy Oklahoma Hall of Fame Archives. performance, executive compensation, and acknowledgement of shareholders’ rights. The USA had its most apparent success in July 1988, when it got the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to pass a one-share, one-vote rule for all corporations and their shareholders. Even more important, however, was the overall impact that the association had on corporate America. By the 1990s, American businesses had become more productive and competitive than they had ever been. Pickens continued to acquire natural gas-producing companies with the expectation that gas prices would increase. Unfortunately, prices plummeted in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, exacerbating Mesa’s debt covenants. He was forced to resign as head of Mesa on December 31, 1996, but continued to work for the company, serving as commodity market consultant until 1997 and then as a member of the company’s board of directors. He focused on resolving Mesa’s debt long after his departure from the company. Soon after stepping down, Pickens formed and chaired BP Capital LP, a hedge fund that managed billions of dollars for energy industry investors. The fund would continue until December 2017, when Pickens’ declining health forced its closure. To promote natural gas as an alternative to fossil fuels, in 1997 Pickens formed Pickens Fuel Corp., the predecessor to the company known today as Clean Energy Fuels. In 2005, Pickens made the single- largest donation in NCAA history when he gifted $165 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University. That same year he also donated $7 million to the American Red Cross, the largest individual donation the organization had received in its 150 years of existence. In 2006, Pickens launched the T. Boone Pickens Foundation, an enormous, multi- charity fund that focused on providing monetary donations to medical research, medicine, and treatment; professional development and entrepreneurship; at-risk youth; corporate health and 昀椀tness; and T. Boone Pickens presented Oklahoma State University President V. Burns Hargis for induction to environmental and wildlife conservation. the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2009. Courtesy Oklahoma Hall of Fame Archives. 33

The foundation also focused on friends in his Dallas, Texas home, the education and athletics, especially 91-year-old billionaire philanthropist, for Oklahoma State University. In entrepreneur, and shareholder rights 2007, Pickens launched the Pickens champion from small-town Oklahoma, Plan, spending $100 million out of his whose audacious forays against some own pocket in support of U.S. energy of America’s biggest oil companies independence. He began a project forever changed the national to build what would have become corporate playbook, died of natural the world’s largest wind farm in the causes on September 11, 2019. Texas Panhandle. Unfortunately, his Pickens was one of the most wind energy efforts in the region were generous university benefactors crippled due to the slow pace in the of all time, contributing more than development by Texas of the needed $652 million to his alma mater, infrastructure to export the wind energy including one of his 昀椀nal gifts of $25 outside of the region. Pickens lost in million to make possible the Human excess of $140 million, leading him to Performance and Nutrition Research abandon the project. He then shifted Institute. In OSU’s $1 billion Branding his focus to Congress in an attempt to Success fundraising campaign, secure incentives for converting diesel he challenged other alums to be trucks to compressed natural gas. generous by agreeing to match Nevertheless, Pickens’ efforts served T. Boone Pickens routinely spoke to Oklahoma donations up to $100 million. Pickens as the catalyst for the renewable energy State University graduates. Photograph by Jim 昀椀rmly believed one of the reasons he was landscape that has transformed nationally Argo, May 4, 1984. Courtesy Oklahoma put on this earth was to make money and that energy sector. Historical Society. be generous with it. The Holdenville house Having maintained an active lifestyle for he grew up in now sits at Oklahoma most of his life, Pickens had an incredible State University’s Karsten Creek. He amount of energy that carried him well never forgot where he came from and in into his 80s. However, after suffering a a poetic ending to his monumental life, series of strokes and a “Texas-sized fall” his eternal resting place is just outside his in 2017, it became clear to Pickens that childhood bedroom window, a place he was approaching the end of the fourth where he once imagined big ideas and quarter of his life. Surrounded by family and dreamed of a world not yet built. In the fall of 2024, the Boone Pickens Legacy Experience will open in the West End Zone of Boone Pickens Stadium on the campus at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. The museum will chronicle not only Pickens’ upbringing, but his enormous impact as a result of his keen business acumen and generous philanthropy. The Experience also will explore Oklahoma’s rich history, providing for a well-rounded, immersive “experience.” 34

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and the escape from communism BY BOB BURKE Mai Khanh, bottom right, and her brother and sisters with an uncle and aunt in DaNang, South Vietnam, in 1972. This is the only photograph of the family while still in South Vietnam. Loc and Kim Le in 2018. They were retired and often traveled back to their native Vietnam. This photo was taken two years before COVID-19 would claim both their lives within a 10-day period. or nine-year-old Mai Khanh, it was a frightening Ftime. She and her family scrambled to reach their 昀椀shing boat as artillery shells shattered nearby boats and sent people into the water where many would drown. Bullets from automatic ri昀氀es whistled over Mai’s head as her father yelled for the rest of their family to run for their lives. It was April 1975, on the beach in the pretty seaside town of Vung Tau, South Vietnam, two hours from Saigon, the capital of the country that was falling to the Communists. The United States had withdrawn its troops and large battalions of North Vietnamese Army soldiers overran the undermanned and underequipped South Mai Khanh was nine years old Vietnamese army. But Mai’s family story began when the Communists invaded two generations before. South Vietnam. 36

Mai’s father, Loc Le, and her mother, Kim Le, colonial town, and its beach was dotted with resorts. lived in a big house in Da Nang, the 昀椀fth-largest As enemy troops began taking the northern parts town in South Vietnam on the coast of the East of Saigon, Loc moved his family of about 30 people Sea of Vietnam. Da Nang was in the northern part to the boat. They had to leave their homes and of South Vietnam, 600 miles from the capital of businesses behind, but stocked the boat with food Saigon. Da Nang was one of the country’s most and water. Many brought gold and diamonds with important port cities. It was the commercial and them to 昀椀nance a new beginning in a new world. education center of South Vietnam, and it was For a week, Mai and her immediate family and where Loc, one of eight children, became a rich uncles, aunts, and cousins, lived aboard the 昀椀shing and powerful businessman. His parents owned a boat. One day, because some were getting seasick, large food company in Da Nang and helped him they decided to leave the boat to have a good meal become established in the canning business to and shower at a nearby resort hotel. However, they supply C-ration products to the U.S. military. Loc had scarcely arrived on the beach when North also owned a trucking 昀椀rm and was a real estate Vietnamese artillery shells began bursting all around Mai Khanh married Quan broker and general contractor. At the height of the them. They were being shot at as Loc yelled, “Turn Vuong in 1998. He is a Vietnam War, he was Chief of Customs in Da Nang, back, go back, now!” The family quickly returned to mechanical engineer. a highly respected leadership position. the boat and the children were sent to the hold. When American troops left South Vietnam, Even in the safety of the inner part of the things began changing for the worse. Loc and his ship, Mai remembered the sounds of explosions wife, Kim, traveled extensively for their businesses as other boats were destroyed and the screams and saw signs that the Communists were of people being thrown into the water. She later preparing to invade their country. A few weeks learned from her mother that their 昀椀shing boat before North Vietnamese troops overtook Da was one of the lucky ones and many lives were Nang, Loc and Kim were in Saigon and sent for Mai lost that day, victims of the savagery of North and her brother and two sisters. Yen was 16 and Vietnamese soldiers. It was heartbreaking when cared for Trang, age 14, Quan, age 11, and Mai, who other Vietnamese citizens tried to board their Loc and Kim Le on one of was in the fourth grade and spoke 昀氀uent French in boat. For the survival of his own family, Loc had their many trips to Vietnam to addition to her native Vietnamese. Before South to say no. It was April 30, 1975. The Fall of Saigon build churches and schools Vietnam became a sovereign nation, it was a was complete. It was the last major event of the and provide money to fund French colony, French Indochina, and the in昀氀uence Vietnam War. programs for the poor. of the French colonization was part of the culture. Mai and her siblings were glad to leave Da Nang. For more than a week, they heard bombs exploding in other parts of the city. At school, when a bomb exploded, Mai and other students hid under their desks. Mai and the children did not know what was happening because there was no television, and they had no access to newspapers. However, Loc learned that Da Nang could not repel North Vietnamese advances and arranged for his children to 昀氀y to Saigon to live in their grandmother’s simple home. Kim’s father had died and her brother, a surgeon, supported their mother. Loc hoped that the Communists would be satis昀椀ed in taking Da Nang, Hue, and dozens of South Vietnamese cities and stop short of capturing Saigon. His hopes were dashed when Communist troops moved farther south and overran more southern cities. Large numbers of residents commandeered every possible boat to try to escape by sea. Six weeks after Da Nang fell, Loc wanted to be ready and purchased a 昀椀shing boat and anchored it off the beach at Vung Tau. It had been a French 37

Members of the Jimmy’s Egg ownership family in 2024. Courtesy The Oklahoman. Loc had owned boats for many years and Camp Pendleton, California. Mai and her family became captain of the 昀椀shing boat. He steered it stayed in Guam a month, then were loaded onto from the bay into the open waters of the South a military transport plane and 昀氀own to Camp China Sea. It was not safe because pirates tried Pendleton. They lived in a tent city and adults and to hijack any of the hundreds of vessels seeking children began English classes. freedom. Only a few hours after they were safe After sponsorships in Nebraska and Texas, the from enemy shelling, Loc’s boat encountered a family’s aunt and uncle, members of the Oklahoma larger 昀椀shing boat owned by a man that Loc’s father City catholic parish, The Cathedral of Our Lady knew. Loc knew that if his family was to escape, of Perpetual Help, commonly called Our Lady’s they needed a ship even larger than the friend’s Cathedral, sponsored Loc’s family to relocate to 昀椀shing boat. Oklahoma City. They arrived in the winter of 1978. Luckily, a Vietnamese cargo ship 昀椀lled with The church rented and furnished them a house rice was sailing nearby. Loc and his father asked for near Northwest 29th Street and Classen Boulevard, permission for his family to be allowed to board the an area that within a few years became a thriving ship. The captain refused and only gave Loc water Asian District. The family had no money. Their only for his passengers. Loc clung to the ship’s anchor clothing was used, given to them by the American line and told the captain he and his family would military while on the cargo ship escaping Vietnam. die on the open seas. Only after family members Mai was 11 years old and had learned enough surrendered what gold and diamonds they left English to begin classes at Edgemere Grade School. Saigon with, they were allowed to board the ship Loc and Kim took odd jobs to support their four along with approximately 100 more refugees. U.S. children and improve their English. Loc understood military ships in the area provided canned food trucking and transportation and eventually was and water for the week-long trip to Guam, a U.S. able to land a job as an inspector with the Santa Fe territory in the North Paci昀椀c Ocean about 1,800 Railway. Kim opened a wig shop that became miles east of Manila in the Philippines. Hi-Fashion Wigs. American military troops stationed in Guam By 1980, Kim owned three wig shops. She set up tents for refugees and fed them. The often ate breakfast at a restaurant owned by Jim U.S. government had put into action a plan to Newman at Northwest 16th Street and May Avenue transport refugees to several American military in Oklahoma City. It was called Jimmy’s Egg and Kim posts, including Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, and discovered Newman would like to sell the business. 38

Loc tried the restaurant and agreed with his wife’s assessment. They sold Hi-Fashion Wigs and personal jewelry to raise $40,000 to buy the restaurant. Loc was not certain that the restaurant would make it, so he kept his job at the railroad for six months. Loc, Kim, and their children worked long hours and the restaurant 昀氀ourished. By 1983, they had three locations. Mai went to Harding Junior High School and Classen High School. She continued to live at home while she earned a degree in business marketing from Oklahoma City University. As more Jimmy’s Egg locations opened, Loc had time to return to Vietnam. In 1999, he took his 92-year-old father to visit his homeland for a 昀椀nal time. On another trip, Loc created the Le Family Trust Fund to build a Catholic church, schools, nursing homes, and other projects for the poor and elderly. Loc and Kim even built a bridge across a creek in a small town. Meanwhile, Mai married Quan Vuong. Quan, a mechanical engineer, is the only one of Loc’s children or spouses who does not work for the Jimmy’s Egg enterprise. Quan and Mai’s daughters, Celine, left, and Gabrielle. and Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City. She said, “My parents taught me the value of hard work. As long as I am healthy, I intend to work as much as I can to make certain that our customers are taken care of.” Mai Nguyen and her father, Loc Le, at the counter of the Jimmy’s Egg location on North Classen in Oklahoma City where she still cooks seven days a week. Courtesy The Oklahoman. Loc Le greets a customer at Jimmy’s Egg. Courtesy The Oklahoman. In 2018, 70 members of Loc’s family visited Vietnam, toured the country, and were reunited with family members and friends who survived the war. By 2020, there were more than 60 Jimmy’s Egg locations in eight states, stretching from New York to Texas. Tragically, the COVID-19 outbreak was worse for Loc and Kim than the North Vietnamese artillery shells were. In December 2020, Loc, age 75 and Kim, age 84, died from complications of the virus. They were preparing to move into a new home in northwest Oklahoma City. The four children, Yen, Trang, Mai, and Quang inherited ownership of the 15 restaurants in the Oklahoma City area. Son-in- law Ban Nguyen is the CEO of the business. Even as an owner, Mai still arrives at 6:30 a.m. seven days a week at the Jimmy’s Egg at Northwest 50th Street 39

OHOF’S STORY THROUGH ITS PEOPLE From left, Suzette Chang, Markus Muse and LaQuincey Reed at the Roots Miss Oklahoma Sunny Day, left, and Mike Lauren Warkentine, left, and Rachel Cannon at the Oklahoma Hall of Culture History Artist Panel. Hearne following the recording of a This is Fame Announcement Luncheon on May 16th. Oklahoma podcast. Jancy Scott, right, University of Central Oklahoma Hall of Fame Vice President of From left, Frank Merrick, Sam Presti, Lee Allan Smith , Patricia Fennell, and Shannon L. Rich during Oklahoma Director of Admissions and Building Operations Bethany Deason, right, the presentation of the Lee Allan Smith Oklahoma Legacy Awards. Presti and Fennell received the Recruitment presented a $1,000 tuition grant to presented Aliya Lee with a $1,000 cash awards for 2024. Caden Johndrow from Grant County . scholarship for students attending school in Adair County. The scholarship was made possible by the late Tom J. and Edna Mae Carson of Stilwell. In May, the Oklahoma Chiller team provided lunch from Ted’s Escondido for staff at the Oklahoma Vince Gill , second from right, with, from left, Shannon L. Rich, Michelle Sopp, Bethany Deason, Hall of Fame. Julie Korff, and Kristen Olmsted during Gill’s visit to the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. DENOTES MEMBER OF THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME 40

OHOF’S STORY THROUGH ITS PEOPLE Oklahoma Hall of Fame Marketing Coordinator Announcing the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Class of 2024 on May 16th Kristen Olmsted filming board member Andre’ was EMMY Award-winning journalist Joleen Chaney of KFOR-TV in Caldwell for Women’s History Month. Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Hall of Fame Chair-Emeritus Rebecca Dixon and Chairman Frank W. Merrick. Sam Ramos, Museum Visitors Associate, reminding guests that the Gaylord-Pickens Local artists LaQuincey Reed, left, and Markus Muse at the opening Museum offers free sensory kits to its visitors. reception of Roots Culture History in the Tulsa World | Lorton Family Gallery. Military’s 昀椀nest, from left, Colonel Stanley Evans and Major General Rita Surrounded by family and friends, Anita Arnold, third from left, celebrated being named an Oklahoma Hall of Fame Class of Aragon-Watson serve on the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors. 2024 Honoree during the Announcement Luncheon on May 16th. DENOTES MEMBER OF THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME 41

OHOF’S STORY THROUGH ITS PEOPLE Schools from throughout the state take advantage of the Free Field Trip On behalf of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s publishing program, Gini Chief Gary Batton joining in on the “Hide the Program at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma Hall Moore Campbell, left, delivered books to the newly-opened Hochatown Duck” fun at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. of Fame. Public Library and Librarian Carissa Dierksen. On April 24th, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame awarded more than $100,000 to students statewide On May 16th, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Class of 2024 was announced. Receiving Oklahoma’s through the Oklahoma Scholarship Competition. highest honor this November are, from left, Drew Edmondson, Anita Arnold, Greg Burns, Anne Morris Greenwood, and Amber Valletta. Not pictured are Benton C. Clark III and Tim DuBois. On April 17th, students explored the “Journey to Statehood” during Winning scavenger hunt team at the Teen Board Teen Board members having fun on their flashlight scavenger hunt around Homeschool Day. Lock-In were, from left, Patrick Flinn, William the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. Oilfield, Jules Reed, and McKenzie Morgan. DENOTES MEMBER OF THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME 42

OHOF’S STORY THROUGH ITS PEOPLE Celebrating the announcement of Drew Edmondson, left, as a 2024 Students enjoyed Homeschool Day at the The Gaylord-Pickens hosted the press conference announcing Oklahoma Hall of Fame Honoree were Linda Edmondson and Bruce Gaylord-Pickens Museum on April 17th. Oklahoma’s new professional bull riding team—Oklahoma Wildcatters. Benbrook at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Announcement Luncheon. From left, Cooper Tate, Sara Pezeshkian Ghajar, Meredith McCasland Current Second Century Board (2CB) Members, from left, Logon Collins, Guests of all ages enjoy Makerspace at the Woods, and Tanner Hanstein at the Second Century Alumni Reception. Mike Hearne, and James Foster enjoyed the 2CB Alumni Reception at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. Gaylord-Pickens Museum. From left, Second Century Board Alumni Meredith McCasland Woods, Jorge Chavez received thank you notes Annually in March, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame hosts Spring Thing at the Matt McCombs, Travis Weedn, and Brian Lux at the second annual from Cement Elementary School students for Gaylord-Pickens Museum to provide programming to students on Spring Break. Second Century Board Alumni Reception. conducting the Oklahoma Originals educational program in their classroom. DENOTES MEMBER OF THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME 43

OHOF’S STORY THROUGH ITS PEOPLE Enjoying the 2024 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Announcement Luncheon on On February 7th students statewide and their families participated in From left, Michelle Sopp, Vince Gill , and May 16th were, from left, George Nigh , Glen Johnson , Malinda “Law & OHOF” Homeschool Day at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. Shannon L. Rich having fun in the Picture Yourself Johnson, and Donna Nigh . exhibit at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. From left, LaQuincey Reed, Mattie Barlow, and Markus Muse talking Jennifer Grigsby, left, chair-elect of the Teen Board seniors receiving their cords of distinction at the Teen Board about the Roots Culture History art exhibit with Martha Steele on her Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and Chairman Frank Lock-In were, from left, William Oilfield, Jules, Reed, McKenzie Morgan, radio show on KISS-FM. Merrick at the April board of directors meeting. Julia Woolery, Moriah Smith, and Mitchelle Ackah-Mensah. Oklahoma Hall of Fame Manager of Program “Law & OHOF” Homeschool Day provided Spring Thing 2024 at the Oklahoma Hall of Hochatown Mayor Dian Jordan, left, and Outreach Jorge Chavez, left, and President students with information and activities designed Fame provided a wide range or programming Shannon L. Rich, President & CEO of the & CEO Shannon L. Rich, right, receive the to support their curriculum. and activities for students. Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Jordan donated Greater OKC Asian Chamber of Commerce Hochatown coffee mugs to be distributed to recognition plaque from Executive Director directors at the April board of directors meeting. Cassie Kalancha. DENOTES MEMBER OF THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME 44


NEW RELEASE WHAT A RIDE! THE LIFE OF HAL SMITH BY BOB BURKE $34.99 orn in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Hal Smith began his career in the Brestaurant business while attending the University of Oklahoma. Soon, he joined Steak and Ale and eventually was president and CEO of the nationwide chain and vice president of Pillsbury. Along the way, he was president of Chili’s Restaurants and chairman and CEO of Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurants. At every stop along the way, Sandy, his wife of more than 50 years, has been his biggest supporter and cheerleader. In 1991, Hal and Sandy returned to Norman and founded Hal Smith Restaurants and began restaurant concepts that have become household names. Hal has created brands that heighten the senses through inspired architectural settings, excellent service, and cuisine that satis昀椀es all tastes, from 昀椀ne dining to casual eats. In his more than 50 years in the restaurant business, Hal has opened more than 500 restaurants. Hal Smith Restaurants now operates 14 different restaurant concepts in seven states. AVAILABLE AT SCISSORTAIL GIFTS IN THE GAYLORD-PICKENS MUSEUM, SCISSORTAILGIFTS.COM, AND AT BOOKSTORES STATEWIDE. 46

FRIENDS OF THE MEDALLION GIVING SOCIETY BENEFACTOR FRIENDS OF THE MEDALLION The Chickasaw Nation Dr. Steven C. Agee Mayor Dian Jordan Jennifer and Mark Allen Ms. Karen Keith and Mr. Patrick Malloy LEGACY PARTNER Calvin J. Anthony Dr. Kathy and Charlie Laster Herman and LaDonna Meinders Major General Rita Aragon-Watson Mr. Mark Londagin The Honorable Jari Askins Roxana and Bob Lorton Chief Gary Batton Mr. and Mrs. Greg Massey MISSION PARTNERS Mr. and Mrs. Clayton I. Bennett Tom and Brenda McDaniel Mr. & Mrs. Bob Burke Mr. and Mrs. Patrick A. Brooks Wes and Sandy Milbourn The Puterbaugh Foundation Robert and Karen Browne Family Fund Michael S. Neal Nevyle R. Cable Oklahoma Natural Gas Company CONSTANTANCY CIRCLE Andre’ and Mary Caldwell Martie Oyler James C. & Teresa K. Day Foundation Chris and Gini Moore Campbell William G. Paul Mr. Brad Carson D. Scott and Gerri Petty Inasmuch Foundation Jill Castilla Susan Chapman Plumb Peggy Kates Amanda R. Clinton Dr. Barry and Mrs. Roxanne Pollard R.A. Young Foundation Samuel and Rita Combs Whitney Rainbolt Standley Systems Mrs. Terri Cornett Mr. Roger Ramseyer Art and Sandy Cotton Edie Roodman and Dr. Eli Reshef GOLD CIRCLE Bill and Carol Crawford Mr. Frank C. Robson Governor and Mrs. Bill Anoatubby Ms. Rebecca Dixon Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Ross Colonel and Mrs. Stanley L. Evans Mrs. Timila Rother Bruce and Sheryl Benbrook Tom and Cheryl Evans Ed Ruscha Steve Burrage Amy Anne Ford Phyllis Sandmann Jennifer Grigsby Mrs. Cathryn Franks Ms. JoAnn Schaub Hardesty Family Foundation Dr. & Mrs. Gib Gibson William Schonacher Ms. Shannon L. Rich Earnie and Marilyn Gilder Suzanne Schreiber Walton Family Foundation David and Kirsten Griffin Mr. Brandon D. Scott Dr. AJ Griffin Mrs. Robyn Scribner Joe D. Hall Kayse M. Shrum, D.O. MISTLETOE CIRCLE Mr. and Mrs. V. Burns Hargis Lee Allan Smith Mr. Patrick Adams Fred and Kellie Harlan Nancy and Mark Stansberry Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett Jane B. Harlow C. Renzi Stone Mike D. and Patsy L. Case The Honorable Brad and Kim Henry Judge and Mrs. Ralph G. Thompson Chad Dillingham Mrs. Catherine J. Jameson Ph.D. Lauren Warkentine Ken and Mary Ann Fergeson Jacqueline Price Johannsen The Honorable J.C. Watts, Jr. Mrs. Anne Morris Greenwood Dr. Glen D. Johnson and Frankie Watts Mr. Carlos E. Johnson Judge Linda English Weeks Frank & Debbi Merrick Hannibal B. Johnson, Esq. Dr. and Mrs. Ronald H. White Mustang Fuel Corporation Dr. Mautra Staley Jones Dr. Chad Wiginton THANK YOU TO ALL DONORS OF A portion of every donation, regardless of the amount, goes toward funding Oklahoma: Magazine THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and its distribution to every senior high school library statewide. With questions, please contact Emily Poppe at 405.523.3203 or [email protected]. This list represents donors making unrestricted contributions as of May 31, 2024. ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR Bob Burke Frank and Debbie Merrick THE MAGAZINE RECEIVED FROM Sam and Rita Combs Moran Family Foundation Peggy Kates Stock Exchange Bank 47

GAYLORD-PICKENS MUSEUM YES! I WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT THE OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME. MR./MRS./DR./MS. SUBSCRIPTION .....................................$35 SPOUSE PREFERRED TELEPHONE ( ) INDIVIDUALISM ....................................$50 PERSEVERANCE ..................................$100 ADDRESS EMAIL PIONEER SPIRIT .................................$250 CITY STATE ZIP OPTIMISM .........................................$500 PREFERRED LISTING FRIENDS OF THE MEDALLION ............$1,000 Your name as you wish to be acknowledged in Oklahoma Hall of Fame publications. MISTLETOE CIRCLE ..........................$2,500 CHECK PAYABLE TO: OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME GOLD CIRCLE ..................................$5,000 CONSTANCY CIRCLE........................ $10,000 CHARGE MY VISA MASTERCARD DISCOVER AMEX NUMBER EXPIRATION DATE / CVV# SIGNATURE MAIL TO: OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME | 1400 CLASSEN DRIVE | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73106 DONATION LEVELS & BENEFITS SUBSCRIPTION | $35 PIONEER SPIRIT | $250 MISTLETOE CIRCLE | $2,500 •One-year subscription to Oklahoma: Magazine •Perseverance bene昀椀ts plus a 25% discount on a •Friends of the Medallion bene昀椀ts plus upgrade to of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and OHOF Connect one-time rental of the Devon Classroom* one weeknight use of a Gaylord-Pickens Museum e-newsletter event space* INDIVIDUALISM | $50 OPTIMISM | $500 GOLD CIRCLE | $5,000 •Pioneer Spirit bene昀椀ts plus one weekday use of the •Subscription bene昀椀ts plus invitations to gallery Devon Classroom or Centennial Boardroom •Friends of the Medallion bene昀椀ts plus upgrade to openings, book signings and other Oklahoma Hall one weekend use of a Gaylord-Pickens Museum of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum events event space* FRIENDS OF THE MEDALLION | $1,000 •Recognition at Oklahoma Hall of Fame Induction PERSEVERANCE | $100 •Perseverance bene昀椀ts plus invitation for two to Ceremony •Individualism bene昀椀ts plus annual family admission Friends of the Medallion special events pass for two adults and household children under •One weekday use of a Gaylord-Pickens Museum CONSTANCY CIRCLE | $10,000 18 to the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the event space* Oklahoma Hall of Fame •Advance opportunity to purchase tickets to the •Friends of the Medallion bene昀椀ts plus upgrade to Oklahoma Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony one weekend use of a Gaylord-Pickens Museum event space* •Recognition in Oklahoma: Magazine of the •Customized bene昀椀ts package Oklahoma Hall of Fame *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 $10,000 level and above, call Emily Poppe at 405.523.3203. 48

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