DAVIS — Baren “Skip” Healey, of Davis, was described by his friend, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, as “a true cowboy — tough, straight, honest, loyal, generous, hard working and decent.”
Healey died Sunday. He was 78.
He was a cattleman, an oilman, a pilot, a lifelong Republican and a civic leader in Davis.
Cole, R-Moore, in a statement Monday, described Healey as his friend, mentor, supporter and a role model for more than 30 years.
“He taught me a lot about politics,” Cole said. “But he taught me and countless others more about life. Skip has been a fixture in GOP politics for over 50 years, serving as the Budget Committee chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party for over four decades, as well as national committeeman, a district and county official and a leader in countless political campaigns at the state and national level.
“No one has done more to build the Oklahoma Republican Party from the ground up than Skip and his family. He was a friend to presidents, governors, senators and politicians of every level, but his first love and concern were the volunteers and activists that form the backbone of every political party and movement. These were the people he cared about the most in politics — and they loved him for it.”
Healey was born Feb. 7, 1934, to Burke Healey and Dorothy Wentz Healey in Phoenix.
He first came to Davis in 1949. Healey bought the Flying L Ranch with his brother, Burke.
On Dec. 27, 1955, Skip Healey married Leslie Sue Hill.
Healey is survived by his wife, Sue; his son Colt, Colt's wife, Sherry, and their daughters Heather, Alexa and Diana; his son Clay, Clay's wife, Holly, and their children Chase and Trey Healey and Valerie and Elizabeth Farabee; his daughter, Casey Killblane, Casey's husband, Hugh, and their children Trevor and Paxton Killblane, a sister-in-law, five nephews and a niece.
“Dad died of respiratory arrest,” daughter Casey Killblane said. “We were blessed that he lived life fully until the last day.”
A memorial service for Healey is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the First United Methodist Church of Davis.
Matt Pinnell, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, in an email described Healey as “One of the true legends in our Party.”
“There's a reason our ‘OKGOP Party Builder Award' is named after this man,” Pinnell said. “Skip helped blaze the trail that the rest of us Republicans have had the pleasure to walk on.”