A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed a game day experience:
*Muskogee native Wish Lemons had a motto after retiring as an oil field chaplain: “Gotta keep movin'.” That he did. Lemons started running at age 45 and continued to do so until a broken hip sidelined him for good in his 80s. Lemons participated in the annual Tulsa Run and other charity races. He also started the Lemons 5K in the Tulsa area to raise money for First United Church missions. Lemons, who died at age 96, spent four years on the Navy cruiser San Francisco during World War II.
*Robert Larkin, 77, of Oklahoma City played center and linebacker for the first varsity football team in Choctaw High School history. The Yellow Jackets finished 2-5 that 1952 season under coach June Dawkins. Larkin, who also raised prizewinning hogs and chickens as a 4-H Club member, went on to graduate from Oklahoma State and own a civil engineering firm.
*Alvin Covalt, 93, was a medical technician in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Before he joined the service, he played quarterback and halfback for the Woodward High School football team. Covalt also played for the town's American Legion baseball team.
*Jim Gilliam was a recognized face at many dirt tracks in Oklahoma, particularly State Fair Speedway. The Meeker resident owned and operated Dura-Light Racing Wheel Co. He helped revolutionize the industry with inventions that made racing wheels more durable, lighter and safer. Gilliam received the U.S. Auto Club's safety award in 1987 for inventing a rim lock device. The former Goodyear Racing Tire dealer owned a 13,000-square-foot building in Meeker that helped his Dura-Light business cater to racers internationally. Gilliam died recently at age 72.
*Tahlequah native Kate Kisner Cushing coached tennis at Monte Cassino High School in Tulsa for 28 years. Cushing led the girls team to a state championship in 1984, two years before the high school closed. The Northeastern State University graduate moved to Tulsa in 1946 to become the first physical education instructor at Holland Hall High School. A member of the Oklahoma High School Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame and the U.S. Tennis Association's Hall of Fame for the Missouri Valley Section. Cushing died at age 92.
*Vera Bearden, 87, of Altus was a cook for the Eddie Fisher Baseball Camp held years ago in Oklahoma. Fisher was a big-league pitcher who played at OU and for old Friendship High School near Altus.
*Jimmy Jones, 70, of Oklahoma City spent several years working for Fred Jones Ford. After retirement, he joined the grounds crew at historic Taft Stadium. Jimmy was the stadium's foreman when he re-retired in 2010.
*Fred Watson, a retired Tulsa jail supervisor, played high school football at Tuttle. He died at age 87.
*Gary Taylor, 69, was a veterinarian in Ponca City. He was also a YMCA youth football and basketball coach. Taylor once served as director of the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association.
*Judy Gove Browning, 75, of Oklahoma City loved athletics. She was a multiple state champion on the U.S. Tennis Association level in singles and doubles. Before moving to Oklahoma, she won the New Hampshire state badminton championship, which included a victory over Billie Jean King. Browning also played AAU softball and coached the Windsor High School (Vt.) ski team. The former Peace Corps volunteer taught elementary school physical education.
*Bob Nantz, a 36-year veteran of the Tulsa Fire Department, was an accomplished calf roper. He was 74.
*Sharon Lauchner England, 59, spent more than 30 years as a volunteer with the Vinita Youth Recreation program.
*Ted Fariss of Leedey was a farmer and rancher who died at age 71. Fariss, who was also served as chairman of the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation Commission, was the father of two notable state athletes — Valerie Fariss and Monty Fariss. Valerie starred as a basketball player at Leedey High, then earned NAIA All-America honors at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Monty was a standout baseball player at Leedey and Oklahoma State. He later played for the Texas Rangers.
*Betty Bates Osborne, 87, of Altus was the 1943 basketball homecoming queen at Olustee High School. ... Bob Manhart, 84, of Durham hauled rodeo livestock for Beutler Brothers. ... Bob Spitzer, 92, of Yukon survived the Omaha Beach landing during World War II. He later became a rural letter carrier and avid golfer who had two aces. ... Clara Crutchmer, 90, of Okmulgee participated in the National Amateur Athletic Union Basketball Tournament.
*Bob Weaver, 59, of Lawton was a professional angler who won several tournaments. ... Lee Ann Watkins, 61, of Edmond was a Special Olympics gold medalist. ... Trisha Steward, 25, played softball and basketball at Salina High School. ... Raymond Heckard, 75, ran track in the 1950s at Putnam City High School. ... Howard Hoover, 68, of Oklahoma City was a native Nebraskan who was on the University of Utah football team.
*Lee Schaefer, 78, of Oklahoma City was a former member of the OU Ruf/Neks spirit group. ... Gene Gibbons, 66, was former football player and wrestler at Del City High School ... Bud Livingston, 87, participated in football, basketball, baseball and wrestling at Bristow High School. ... Phillip Funderburk, 63, of Medford was a member of the University of Central Oklahoma football team.
BY SCOTT MUNN