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Former Oklahoma state Rep. Forrest Claunch dies

Forrest Claunch, a Midwest City resident who served 10 years as in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, died Monday at age 73.
BY BRYAN DEAN Modified: November 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm •  Published: November 19, 2013

Former state Rep. Forrest Claunch, best known for his opposition to casinos and the state lottery, died Monday morning, his wife said. He was 73.

Mary Claunch said her husband had pancreatic cancer that also affected his lungs.

“We'll miss his wisdom and also his generosity and love toward us,” Mary Claunch said.

Claunch was a Southern Baptist layman who took numerous leadership roles in the domination. It was his religious beliefs that prompted his staunch opposition to gambling.

He was elected to the state House in 1994 as a Republican serving Midwest City and retired from the Legislature 10 years later. He led an effort to defeat a state lottery the first time it was proposed but could not keep it from passing in 2004.

After leaving the Legislature, he ran unsuccessfully for Oklahoma County commissioner before being named executive director of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in 2009.

He most recently served on a state Department of Human Services citizens' advisory panel that was created after a commission that used to run the department was abolished by a state question in 2012.

Republican House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, released a statement Monday commending Claunch for his service even after he left the Legislature.

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