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Newcomers drawn to Oklahoma for different reasons

Several people new to the Oklahoma City area talk about what drew them to the city.
by Richard Mize Modified: November 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm •  Published: November 22, 2012

Community connection

Brian and Alexis Lux, in their mid-30s, could be a different kind of poster couple — for U.S. housing. Theirs is a cautionary tale, although it does nothing to dampen their enthusiasm for having moved to Oklahoma City from the recession-racked upper Midwest.

They moved here in 2008 but bought a house just six months ago. So now they own two houses: the 2,000-square-foot place with a sunroom and swimming pool on NW 43 in a 1950s-era neighborhood, and the one they left, a smaller mid-'50s bungalow they bought in 2003 in North Canton, Ohio.

For three years, they were lessees and lessors, renting a house on NW 178 and collecting rent on the house in Ohio — and they're still renting it out, waiting for housing prices and the market there to recover.

No matter: Leaving Ohio was an imperative. They worked with Realtor Heidi Rose, of Keller Williams in Edmond.

“I met with her four years ago and we finally were in a position to buy this past summer,” Alexis Lux said.

Brian Lux was able to keep his job and work from home, although he now is a buyer for MD Building Products, based in Oklahoma City. Alexis Lux had job offers here, in Portland, Ore., and Nashville, Tenn., but Oklahoma City won their affections.

She is now director of development for the Oklahoma Heritage Association and Gaylord-Pickens Museum, and was recognized in the 2012 class of “Forty under 40” compiled by okcBIZ, the weekly business magazine.

“We love it here. We're never leaving,” Brian Lux said. “It's so easy to talk to people and become part of the scene here.”

He said neither of them found that kind of connection to community in Ohio, despite having grown up there.

“Obviously, we wanted to. We have here. But it's just a whole different attitude here,” he said.

About their house: It had to have a pool.

“The heat is really a lot for us,” he said.

About other kinds of weather? The tornadoes and severe storms of Tornado Alley? No worries. With local TV meteorologists commandeering broadcasts at the first sign of a storm, he said, “You just feel safe.”

Western expansion

Weather and politics had Rich and Marlene Deatherage ready to leave Michigan well before they knew they would relocate to Oklahoma. He was looking ahead to retirement from General Motors, where he spent a career in property management. She is an adjunct marketing professor. Their three long-grown children blazed the family trail away from the icy northeast.

Daughter Traci, 42, lives in Houston. Richard Jr., 43, calls Phoenix home. Daughter Tamara, 45 lives in Greeley, Colo., named for Horace Greeley, the New York Tribune editor who popularized the phrase “Go West, young man.”

“We were leaving regardless,” Rich Deatherage said. “We always knew that when we retired we'd move west.”

It was around the middle of the last decade when Oklahoma started to stand out as a possible new home, and not just because it splits the difference between Greeley, on Colorado's Front Range, and Houston — and that both cities, as well as Phoenix, are a nonstop hour or two flight away.

“In Oklahoma, a Democratic governor was doing more conservative things than most Republican governors,” Deatherage said of Gov. Brad Henry, who served 2003-2011. “It's a lot more conservative. And the climate is a million times better than Michigan's. That was another reason: to get out of the cold and gray. And to get out of the liberal politics.”

Deatherage said he took up shooting in anticipation of the move, and that he and his wife chose to build a house in north Oklahoma City because of gun ranges nearby.

They moved in just last week, to a neighborhood northwest of Pennsylvania Avenue and Covell Road — after three years of working mostly by phone and email with Paula Thurman, a Realtor and sales associate with Metro First Realty. Two Structures Homes, owned by Jay and Tricia Evans, was the builder.

“We did work with (Thurman) for three years before the purchase and, yes, she did stick by me. She showed my wife and I houses one year and showed me houses twice in the next two years. A very patient person,” Deatherage said. “The house we selected was just sticks when I saw it — ‘roughed in' is the term used, I believe. (Two Structures Homes) worked with me on the phone and by Internet, along with some of their suppliers. I thought it would be hard, but they all made it easy on me.”

by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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