Loss of refinery at Cyril was hard on workers, community

The refinery was Cyril's biggest employer and, after it closed, most people either retired or took out-of-town jobs.
By Hailey Branson-Potts, Staff Writer Published: October 10, 2010
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photo - A memorial now stands in the place of a refinery that once operated in Cyril. Hailey Branson-Potts/The Oklahoman
A memorial now stands in the place of a refinery that once operated in Cyril. Hailey Branson-Potts/The Oklahoman
Th
ey played pranks on each other.

One worker bought a Halloween costume that looked like a gorilla, Moss said, laughing. He hid until another man walked by and jumped out, scaring the man into telling his supervisors there was a gorilla on the property.

“We had a lot of fun,” Moss said. “There wasn't anybody that didn't like anybody.”

The end of an era

After the refinery closed, Moss took a good-paying job as a technician for the Public Service Company of Oklahoma and continued to farm wheat.

He has organized several reunions for refinery workers, but most of them have now died or moved away, he said.

Henery did all he could to keep doing refinery work.

He did amber refining in Fort Worth, then signed a contract to train refinery workers in Saudi Arabia.

He broke that contract to come back to Cyril to try to reopen part of the rusting refinery that meant the most to him.

Henery was there when part of the refinery was successfully restarted in the early 1990s. But he was also there when it was closed again because of financial problems.

Cyril was devastated by the refinery's closing, said Henery, a former vice mayor of the town.

The town's population, about 1,124, has been generally declining since its peak in the 1970s, when the refinery was booming, according to U.S. Census data.

The refinery was Cyril's biggest employer and, after it closed, most people either retired or took out-of-town jobs, Henery said.

“There's no people here,” he said. “There's no children. I'd like to do something for the town, but what could I do?”



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