He wanted family and friends to gather at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum the same place he saved from obscurity, then built into one of the country's finest representations of frontier values.
"He didn't demand it. He just asked, said Linda Haller, the museum's spokeswoman.
Haller said they would have cleared any schedule for Gaylord, but as luck had it Wednesday was the first day in several weeks when the Noble Events Center a room large enough to hold the 1,600 who attended was available.
Gaylord also had asked University of Oklahoma President David Boren to eulogize him provided, he said with tongue in cheek, that Boren didn't speak too long.
The service lasted exactly one hour a fact that probably would have pleased the publisher's penchant for punctuality.
Gaylord also chose the David B. Hooten band for his music and asked the musicians to play "When the Saints Go Marching In as his family's recessional song. They played it with gusto.
Wednesday's memorial carried the simplicity of a man with Oklahoma roots and the grandness that comes in honoring someone whose reach went further than words could say.
Perhaps the final send-off at his beloved museum said it for him.
"The whole spirit of this place, he was that, said Byron Price, director of the museum. "That's what this place is about: independence, rugged individualism and core American values. And he was, too.
Outside the museum, an American flag swayed at half-staff as Oklahoma County sheriff deputies, wearing full-dress uniforms and white gloves, held open the doors to Gaylord's chosen finale.
Inside, dozens of flower sprays formed a semi-circle at "The End of the Trail, where a great white sculpture of an American Indian perched on a slumping horse symbolizes the West. Among the flowers, a horse was shaped out of yellow mums and a horseshoe out of red carnations. A 4-H group sent their wishes in a spray of green.
Someone had the good business sense to keep the gift shop open. Gaylord probably would've liked that.
Guests arrived to Dixieland music playing in the background.
Their arrival became a Who's Who of Oklahoma: former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football coach Barry Switzer; OU football coach Bob Stoops; former Gov. Henry Bellmon; former Miss America and television news anchor Jane Jayroe; former legislator and former National Finals Rodeo General Manager Clem McSpadden; Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin; Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys; Gov. Brad Henry; actor Rex Linn.
Dozens more followed.
"Ed Gaylord always called me cowboy, said former Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy, who appeared wearing his traditional string tie. "To me, it was a term of respect.
Governors and senators, judges and legislators from both sides of the aisle signed guest books and took their seats.
On the stage, a portrait of Gaylord, his elbow resting on a copy of The Oklahoman, was flanked by two towers of red roses.
Between a countrified version of "Amazing Grace and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic, stories were told of Gaylord's generosity, of his quick wit, his business acumen and his love for a state he could have long ago left but embraced instead for 83 years.
Guests heard of his love for family and his loyalty to friends. Examples of his generosity were told many times over.
J. Terry Johnson, former president and chancellor of Oklahoma Christian University, said his friendship with Gaylord included luncheons at the Varsity, dinners at Sleepy Hollow, coffee breaks at Johnnie's and Sunday night calls for game scores not to mention solving the problems of Washington and Wall Street in a 15-minute stint, so they could share life's simple joys.
"He was a loyal friend, a privilege I never took for granted, a relationship that helped to define my own personal identity, Johnson said.
Boren, in good humor, contemplated Gaylord's probable route to heaven.
Boren figured he probably dressed in his favorite checkered shirt, the one his family tried to keep out of reach. Then, he would drive himself to the Pearly Gates in one of his dark sedans, with a stop at Johnnie's for a burger, if time allowed.
Once in heaven, Gaylord would be greeted by his late wife, Thelma, his grandson, Jimmy, and all the others who went before him. Then, with a business eye, he'd start checking things out, Boren said.
Boren figured he'd give advice, like saying that no one needs to be liberal to be compassionate. He'd keep up with the New Yorkers, too, trading one-liners like Yankee fast balls.
More stories came as guests filed out into the sunny afternoon.
Ron Area, head of the Oklahoma State University Foundation, told how Gaylord anonymously donated money for scholarships. Area said he gave often and generously and never wanted his name attached.
"He really wanted those rural young men and women who had natural roots and not a lot of means, and who would hopefully stay here after they graduated, to have the scholarships, Area said.
Tulsa philanthropist Henry Zarrow said he wrote his friend Gaylord one day asking him to donate to the Center for the Physically Limited in Tulsa.
"I got it back the next day, Zarrow said of the $50,000 donation. "People thought I signed the check, it got here so fast.
Again, Zarrow visited Gaylord for help with a Tulsa homeless shelter. He walked out of the office with another $50,000 check.
"It didn't take but a minute, Zarrow said.
Many words were spoken Wednesday to describe Gaylord's life and passing, but tragic wasn't one of them.
The newspaper publisher who built an empire lived a long and full life, where the joys of gardening and grandkids equaled those of stocks and spreadsheets.
Gaylord had spoken many times of his good fortune, but not in the sense of material wealth. Simply put, the good life meant just that a life well lived.