A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed the game day experience:
*Former Tulsa Central football standout Charlie Moore was a tackle-turned-receiver for Northeastern State in Tahlequah. As a senior in 1958, Moore caught nine touchdown passes to help the Redmen win the NAIA championship. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder tried out with the Oakland Raiders three times but failed to make the American Football League team's roster. He owned and operated C.L. Moore & Associates Independent Insurance in Novato, Calif. Moore remained a California resident until his death at age 75.
*Gary Dies Jr. played football and golf at U.S. Grant High School. As a freshman, he was the only golfer on the team to qualify for the Class 5A state tournament. Dies continued to golf as an adult. In September 2011, he aced No. 8 at the Earlywine South Course in Oklahoma City. The Norman native died recently, five days shy of his 39th birthday.
*Coalgate resident J.C. Ward was a rodeo stock contractor and rancher. In 2012, he was honored by the International Finals Youth Rodeo for 20 years of service; Ward provided horses and bulls for the annual summertime event since it came to Oklahoma. The World War II veteran died at age 86.
*Former state senator Jimmy Birdsong followed horse racing as a hobby. He owned Exotic Diamond, once named Quarter Horse of the Year. He was also an outdoorsman who loved to fish in remote locations and had a love for golf. Birdsong's leisure time was well earned — long before a political career. During World War II, he was a young Army soldier who survived a German sniper's crosshairs. A bullet intended for Birdsong's heart ricocheted off a Bible he carried in his breast pocket. Birdsong died recently at age 87.
*Tripp Kenworthy was an exceptional golfer for Bishop McGuinness High School. In April 1998, he tied teammate Travis Bryson and Justin Twyman of Elk City for medalist honors at a Class 3A Qualifying Tournament. Kenworthy's 74 helped the Irish tie Elk City for the team championship and advance to regionals. He earned a partial scholarship to play golf at St. Leo University in Florida. The accountant was an Edmond resident at the time of death. He was 31.
*Lindsay High School graduate Pat Ward was a two-year football letterman at Murray State Junior College in Tishomingo. He played guard for the Aggies' 1953 and '54 teams. He went on to graduate from Oklahoma State and then taught chemistry at Tulsa East Central High School from 1959 to 1987. Ward died at age 76.
*Other Oklahomans with sports backgrounds who died recently include: Shirley Ford, 77, founder of the annual Allied Arts Golf Tournament. ... Mary Frances Coggins, 86, played in tournaments locally and internationally on the World Medical Tennis Association circuit. ... Stillwater resident Lonnie Red, 62, was a drag bike racer. He once won the Top Gas championship at the annual Truett & Osborn Bike Drags in Wichita, Kan. ... Dale Brown, a trucking company owner who played basketball at Woodland High School in the 1950s. Brown, 76, continued a love for basketball as an adult, often attending state tournament games.
*Jessica Shults of Oklahoma hit her third home run of the season Thursday during a 5-0 softball win over Arizona. The homer was Shults' 57th of her career, breaking school and Big 12 records. The previous OU record-holder was Amber Flores, who had 56 over the 2007-2010 seasons. Flores had shared the old Big 12 record with Megan Gibson of Texas A&M (2005-08).
*Akela Jones and Hannah Helker, both of Oklahoma Baptist University, were chosen NAIA Indoor Track and Field Athletes of the Week after exceptional performances at the recent Nebraska Tune-Up in Lincoln.
It's the first time this season both national honorees came from the same school.
Jones, a freshman from Barbados, was chosen Field Athlete of the Week a second consecutive week, this time after setting the OBU record in the high jump at 6-feet, ¾-inches. The jump also ranks No. 1 in the NAIA. She also won the long jump at 19-2¾.
Helker, a sophomore out of Edmond North, won the 1,000- and 3,000-meter runs; she finished the 1,000 in 2 minutes, 52.11 seconds, and the 3,000 in 9:59.52. The Tune-Up included athletes from the NCAA Division I level.
*A Level 7 men's gymnastics team based in Edmond, the Tenacious Twelve, has five first-place finishes in as many meets. The team is comprised of athletes ages 11-14 in either their first, second or third year of competition. Ashton Bennett, Reece Bowler, Joshua Carona, Joey Chendra, Chase Chitwood, Dalton Farmer, Carder Gutteridge, Braxton Poe, Canon Swiggart, Jeff Walraven, Matthew Whittington and Kobe Williams are coming off a win at the Bart Conner Invitational in Oklahoma City. Next up, the state championship meet March 15-16 in Norman.