Seven distinguished Oklahomans will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame this year.
They are real estate investor and philanthropist Michael D. Case, meteorologist Gary A. England, John D. Groendyke, Timothy C. Headington, Vicki Miles-LaGrange, Russell M. Perry and Reggie N. Whitten.
The honorees were announced at a luncheon on Thursday and will join 655 other notables who have been inducted since 1928. Many past inductees were at the luncheon to congratulate the new class.
A formal induction ceremony will be in November.
The Oklahoma Heritage Association was founded in 1927 with the purpose of establishing the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and the Gaylord-Pickens Museum was opened in 2007 with the intent of honoring these and other accomplished Oklahomans.
“Being inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is the single-highest honor an individual can receive from our state,” said Shannon L. Rich, president of the Oklahoma Heritage Association and Gaylord-Pickens Museum, in a news release.
Portraits of each member of this year's class will be added to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gallery at the museum. Their biographies, photos and more will be accessible through touch-screen computers.
Michael D. Case, Tulsa
Case got his start in real estate in 1969 when he went to work for a Tulsa property developer. During his 14 years with the company, he worked his way up from the lowest position to executive president, operating all real estate owned by the business.
In 1983, he founded Case & Associates with four employees and no owned property. Today, his company has almost 1,000 employees and controls more than 30,000 apartment units, numerous office buildings and shopping centers valued at more than $2.5 billion.
His philanthropy is well known with support to more than 30 nonprofits, including The University of Tulsa, Oral Roberts University, United Way and Domestic Violence Intervention Services. His donations also have been catalytic for several projects, including the Case Tennis Center, Case Athletic Complex, and the Pat Case Dining Hall at TU, along with the Case Community Center in Sand Springs and the soon-to-be Case Tennis Center at LaFortune Park.
Gary A. England, Seiling
Meteorologist Gary England continues daily to serve his viewers in the interest of weather safety.
He has been recognized with the highest awards for his coverage of severe weather events, including Emmy, Society of Professional Journalists, Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters and the OAPB Associated Press Broadcast awards, in addition to the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for best in the nation in Breaking News/Weather Coverage.
England, a University of Oklahoma graduate in Mathematics and Meteorology, is internationally recognized for pioneering innovations in weather technology and systems that are now common tools in the world of severe weather, including commercial Doppler radar, the storm time of arrival system, corner screen warning maps, cellular still picture/video transmission, and the precursor to weather radio known as W.A.R.N.
He has appeared in more than 50 national and international severe weather programs. His career includes forensic meteorology as an expert witness in lawsuits involving weather; hurricane forecasting; civil engineering; and oceanographic/climatic studies including the North Sea Ekofisk development and an offshore nuclear generating plant. England was air quality and meteorology discipline manager for the Environmental Impact Study for the OGE power plant near Perry. He is also an author and public speaker.
John D. Groendyke, Enid
John Groendyke is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Groendyke Transport, Inc., the fifth-largest motor carrier of bulk commodities serving the continental United States, Canada, and Mexico. Groendyke graduated from Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri, where he attended high school and junior college. He holds a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University and a law degree from OU.
He served as a captain in the U.S. Army and, after a two-year tour of duty, returned to Enid to join the family trucking operation founded by his father, H.C. Groendyke in 1932.
Groendyke serves on the OG&E Energy Board of Directors, the board of Wentworth Military Academy Foundation, and the board of National Tank Truck Carriers. He presently is serving his sixth term as a commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. He is a trustee and the current chairman for the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and is a member of the board of directors of the Grand National Quail Foundation and Grand National Quail Club.
When he is not trucking, his energies are in wildlife conservation, farming and ranching, real estate and collecting and showing antique automobiles.
Timothy C. Headington, Oklahoma City
Although born in Dallas, Timothy Headington, his parents and two younger siblings moved to Oklahoma City when he was 5. He attended Oklahoma City schools and OU, where he lettered in tennis and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. Headington earned graduate degrees in theology and psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., and completed his psychology internship at Los Angeles County Hospital.