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Tributes: Former State Fair Speedway driver Jerry Morrison dies on 76th birthday

A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed a game day experience.
by Scott Munn Published: February 17, 2014

A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed a game day experience:

*Anything that had wheels and Jerry Morrison was willing to race it. Local dirt car racing fans will remember the El Reno resident for driving a No. 8 Pontiac Grand Prix pro stock at State Fair Speedway. Pro stocks were a highly competitive division over the 1989-2009 seasons, and although Steve Smith, Perry Robb Jr. and Mark Brill dominated headlines by combining for 15 championships, Morrison could make it tough for that trio on any given Friday night. He was often a top-10 driver during his career at the landmark Oklahoma City track, winning six A features and finishing fourth in points for the 1991, 2001 and 2007 seasons.

Morrison raced drag cars in the 1960s, twice finishing runner-up in the National Hot Rod Association's World Finals in a B dragster. He later competed in motocross, then moved to oval track car racing. Before becoming a Friday night staple in Oklahoma City, Morrison won three mini-stock championships at Dutton Speedway in Fort Cobb and one title at Clinton Motorsports Park. Morrison's love for speed extended into the family — his granddaughter is Kenzie Ruston, who is a rising star on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Morrison died recently on his 76th birthday.

*Dr. Tom Stough, 74, of Okarche was a 123-pound wrestler and quarterbacked the Geary High School football team. Stough earned a wrestling scholarship to Oklahoma, although he soon joined the Army and trained as an X-ray technician. After Stough was discharged, he returned to OU to begin studying medicine.

*Michael Raines, 40, was a broker for Midtown Mortgage. The Tulsa Union High School graduate was an All-State golfer in 1992.

*Francis Francoeur, 91, of Lawton worked as a gunner and navigator — and eventually became a pilot — on a B-17 bomber during World War II. After the Allied victories, he worked in lumber and also coached boys basketball at St. Mary High School in Ponca City. He guided St. Mary to an Oklahoma Catholic League championship in the 1950s. Francoeur was an avid fisherman who made trips to Mexico and Canada to drop a line.

*Jim Pugh died on his 69th birthday. He played football for Cushing High School, when it defeated Harding 15-14 for the Class A state championship in 1961. Pugh went on to serve in Vietnam as a reconnaissance helicopter pilot.

*Shirley Willcox Johnson, 72, of Choctaw held OU season football tickets for more than 35 years. She was an international traveler who never left home without her golf clubs and a founding member of the Choctaw Women's Golf Association.

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by Scott Munn
Sports Assistant Editor
Scott Munn joined The Oklahoman/Oklahoma City Times sports staffs in October 1982. He spent a year as a formcharter, three years on the desk and 16 as a reporter. Scott has spent the last nine years as an evening assistant sports editor. Scott's...
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