In Memory – Harry Wilson Mike McAuliffe Gabe Zablatnik Tom Parrish Robert Gilliland

Posted in: Club Newsletter, Featured, In The News

Harry L. Wilson (1933-2020)
President 1988-1989
41 years Perfect Attendance

Dear Rotarian Friends:

The loss of Harry Wilson who passed away on Thanksgiving Day, feels like the passing of an era.  The 88th President of Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, Harry was one of the friendliest, most helpful members of Rotary that I have ever encountered.  He always had a friendly question and his mind was steeped with his many experiences.  Raised in Tulsa, career in broadcasting, Oklahoma Department of Tourism, OKC Convention and Tourism, then Baptist Medical Center and St. Anthony Hospital where he raised funds and spearheaded neighborhood redevelopment.  Please read the summary of Harry’s life below….it makes you simultaneously tired of the miles Harry travelled and proud that he made Rotary one of the ways he chose to give back throughout his life.

I just talked to Harry a few weeks ago by phone and although stricken with illness, he was upbeat and friendly and optimistic.  I loved Harry Wilson….the personification of a smile and a friendly word.

Our prayers go out to Doris and Lee Ann, Debra Jean and Harry Jr. and all the Wilson family.  May they will in time find comfort in the breadth and depth of Harry’s devotion to his family, city, state and country.  God bless and keep Harry Layne Wilson.

David Walters

Mike McAuliffe
12-28-1956 – 11-29-2020
25 years of Rotary
Perfect Attendance

Dear Rotarian Friends:

It is hard to imagine that Mike McAuliffe left us on this Sunday evening. Deborah Senner, our fellow member and Mike’s sister provided the sad news (below). Her words capture the pain of loss, the pride for Mike’s life and gives some indication of the hundreds of friends that Mike McAuliffe had through out our community and state. Mike was a unique person who was always searching for ways to serve and passionate occasionally to the point of pestering on behalf of his cause or project. Mike’s 27 year history with Rotary included several terms on the Board of Directors, and as Secretary and Sgt.-At-Arms of the Club. His last contribution to Rotary Club of Oklahoma City was the reactivation of our annual golf tournament for the benefit of the Rotary Club 29 Foundation. Starting from “scratch” he began to organize supporters and making the arrangements (and as was his style) designed every detail. The restart of this tournament was a success and attracted a wide range of Rotarians to come and enjoy a day of fellowship for a good cause. Fellowship for Good was always at Mike’s core. Mike’s last trip to the Rotary podium was on October 13th, where he seemed to enjoy being the Chair of the Day. Who could have imagined that 48 days later…..

On a personal note Mike’s home is directly across from ours facing each others back yard across the Quail Creek golf course. Rhonda and I over the last two weeks frequently looked across the fairways at the stillness of Mike’s home and prayed for his recovery from this disease. Knowing Mike for a long time, as many of us do, I can imagine that Mike’s prayer for us is that the fellowship surrounding his passing, the stories and memories and tributes, will also result in more of us taking precautions necessary to stay safe. Fellowship for Good. God Speed Mike McAuliffe and our deepest sympathies to Deborah and the entire McAuliffe Family.

David Walters

From Deborah McAuliffe Senner:
My heart breaks as I share that we lost my brother, Mike McAuliffe this evening – another victim of Covid. Needless to say, our family is devastated. He fought hard. We prayed hard. God took him home so there is no more pain and no more struggle to breathe. Please know how much my family has appreciated the outpouring of love toward Mike, the unceasing prayers, vigils, rosaries, the hundreds and hundreds of FB posts, calls, emails and texts – all genuinely and lovingly concerned for Mike. The comments about Mike over the last two weeks read like that of a modern day hero. People praised his community service, his contributions to this city, commented on his quick wit, his unrelenting charm, his great smile, commented that he was “the glue”for his McGuinness Class of 75, he was at the core of his leadership Oklahoma class as well as his LOKC class, the ultimate Rotarian, he was “the doer,” the connector, seemingly invincible, he was the special event wizard, a visionary and always the consummate gentleman (in that signature bow tie) and for me the little sister, he was so much more. I truly felt that everyone in this town was pushing for his recovery. This city, the city he loved with his entire being- he did all that he could to make a difference and dare I say he left his mark. A celebration of Mike’s life will be planned when it is safe to do so.


Gabe Zablatnik
1986-1987 President
3-19-1927  – 12-6-2020

Gabe Zablatnik was a remarkable man with an incredible life story. When Gabe retired 20 years ago from Little Giant Pump company after 38 years of service to the company, I remember thinking that the companies name was a apt description for the very strong and determined man who faced so many more obstacles that most. He was a good, steady, quite spoken man who served the Rotary Club  of Oklahoma City diligently, including as its 77th President. We know life on this earth is not forever but each time a pillar to the community, state, friends, family and Rotary passes we all feel the loss. Our prayers to Linda and the family and may we all remember to lift Gabe up in our thoughts.

David Walters

From PDG Bill Bowden

In Memoriam:

Harry Wilson called me in 1986 shortly after I arrived to take command of Tinker AFB. He asked me to join Club 29. I replied to him that I could not until I retired in 4 years.  I was honored Harry called me.  A prince of a Rotarian.

Mike McAuliffe  asked me early on what my main leadership quality was.  I told him “You gotta show up.”  From then on, almost most every week, he said “you gotta show up.” Mike was a model Rotarian.

Gabe Zablatnik told me when I first met him that he was from Yugoslavia.  I mentioned that in my MBA degree program at George Washington University, that I had written a thesis on Marshal Tito. He seemed pleased I knew about Tito, and Yugoslavia. Gabe was one of our best.












Thomas W. Parrish
11-26-1949 – 1-6-2021
31 Year Rotarian; Paul Harris Fellow+1;
Foundation Director; 4 year perfect attender

A private family service will be held at All Souls’  Episcopal Church on Monday, January 11th at 11am. Guests are invited to join a livestream at, please “arrive” early. (A Celebration of Life will be planned for a later date when we can safely join together and remember all the good times we’ve collectively shared with Tom).


We lost another wonderful Rotarian this past week, Tom Parrish. Tom was a 31-year member of our club and was loved by many in this community. I always liked Tom because there was that glint in his eye….sometimes excited about a new cause or charitable project, sometimes about a new business opportunity and sometimes just because he was having a good time. He spent 40 years in banking and was CEO of three different Oklahoma banks, but is best known for serving his community and also being an enthusiastic entrepreneur. In addition to his many years of service through Rotary, Tom served on the boards of OMRF, INTEGRIS Health, was a President of Last Frontier Council of Boy Scouts, a President of the once named Omniplex Science Museum, and prior to joining our club, he served as President of the Rotary Club of Ardmore. Tom laughed easily and was always a pleasure to visit with. He never missed one of our AfterHours events and rumor has it he was a very good dancer. Tom will be missed and we ask you all keep his family and friends, especially his children Lynn and Scott, in your prayers.

President David Walters

Robert Gilliland, Jr.
May 12, 1941 – February 24, 2021
Memorial Service – March 2, 2021 | 2:00pm
All Souls’ Episcopal Church
Livestreamed on Facebook from All Souls’


Dear Rotarian Friends:
It is with sadness that we report the death of a member of Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, Robert Gilliland, who we all knew as Bob. This loss is magnified for our club because Bob married our fellow member Ann Felton Gilliland right after Christmas in 2007. I am certain that Ann who has been in the club since 2004 may have had something to do with Bob joining us in 2015.

As so many of you who knew Bob well can attest….he was literally a super lawyer and practice with McAfee & Taft for nearly 50 years. Expert in business litigation, criminal defense and prosecutions…he started his career as Captain Gilliland in the JAG Corp and served in Vietnam. Only a handful of attorneys are selected for continuous inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America and Bob was one of them. He was perennially named to the Oklahoma Super Lawyers list. He served as chair of the Oklahoma Worker’s Compensation Commission for two years and was appointed by the Governor two years ago to serve on the Pardon and Parole Board where he was implementing major policy changes.

Friend Jim Sharrock said, “Bob was a big-hearted man, generous in spirit, gregarious, with a wide range of interests and many friends. He grew up in Woodward and was always in touch with his western Oklahoma roots. His “aw shucks” style made him a formidable foe before a jury.”

In addition to Bob’s work in the community and the state he helped Ann when he could with her enormous good work creating and running the Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity. In announcing Bob and Ann’s marriage, OKC Friday said, “We’re so glad these two wonderful people, who were both widowed, found each other and happiness.” If their equal and effervescent smiles are a barometer we know that Bob and Ann were indeed happy, which makes Bob’s death all the more heartbreaking.

On behalf of all the members of Oklahoma’s largest and oldest civic organization, I offer our condolences especially to Ann but also to the entire Felton and Gilliland families and the many friends who mourn Bob’s passing. As we fondly remember Bob, we wish for him a well-deserved eternal peace.

David Walters | President 2020-2021
Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, Club 29

Michael Paul Kirschner
4-10-1943 – 4-6-2021
Paul Harris Fellow +1

Dear Rotarian Friends:

We lost Mike Kirschner on Tuesday last.  For 37 years Mike Kirschner was a devoted Rotarian that lit up the room with his smile.  For 33 of these years Mike was married to our long serving Executive Director and member Shirley Richardson Kirschner.

Mike was a power house attorney who over his 50 year career completed many transactions that changed the commercial face of Oklahoma, and mentored dozens of new lawyers who went on to extraordinary careers. At one point in Mike’s career his law firm represented the largest commercial interests in Oklahoma City.

Even more lasting than a stellar legal career was Mike’s quite spoken, intellectual and inquisitive mind, always asking questions, always exploring and always with a smile and warm greeting.  Terri Cooper described him as a great man of faith and laughed how much Mike loved home grown tomatoes.  Other Rotarians described Mike as a tender-hearted giving person.

Our deepest sympathy to our beloved Shirley Kirschner and to the entire Kirschner family for their and our loss.

David Walters | President 2020-2021
Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, Club 29

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