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Chesapeake CEO recalls challenges of being single parent

Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Doug Lawler was the keynote speaker and a Legacy Award winner at the Single Parent Support Network this week, where he challenged participants to make the most of their time with their children.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: May 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm •  Published: April 30, 2014

As a young, single dad, Doug Lawler’s focus was how to make the most of every moment with his daughter.

“I struggled with how to create a pseudo resemblance that this wasn’t just a man’s home. I got into the habit of buying fresh flowers every week,” the Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO said Tuesday at the Single Parent Support Network dinner. “So many times I’d walk by those flowers and say, ‘That’s $9 or that’s $10 and they’ll die in three days.’”

Lawler challenged participants at the Single Parents Support Network to look for those opportunities.

“What I would encourage you to do is buy the flowers, make the most of the moment,” he said.

Lawler was the keynote speaker and a Legacy Award recipient at the event.

Founded in 2010, the organization is designed to provide coaching, resources, educational and support services for single-parent families.

“It’s important to get the word out about single parents and the challenges they face and that we are all part of the solution,” said Rhonda Thomas, founder and executive director of the network.

“We know the problems that result from single parenting and the lack of support for single parents affect everyone. So it’s important that we get involved in supporting the cause of helping parents successfully raise their children.”

Lawler was a young petroleum engineer at Kerr-McGee Corp. when his wife of two years was diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after their daughter was born 20 years ago.

“After two years of brain surgery, chemo and all the possible things to imagine and try, I had to explain to a 3-year-old little girl that her mommy had gone to heaven,” Lawler said.

Lawler then began his life as a single parent.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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