Services – Oct. 20, 2021
Memorial Road Church of Christ
2221 E. Memorial Rd., Edmond, OK
Dear Fellow Rotarians,
This past week we lost another incredible Rotarian, Larry Bledsoe. Larry passed away Friday, October 15th after an extended illness and will be greatly missed by all of us.
Most of you have known Larry for a long time. He served as our Club 29 President in 2002-2003, a Paul Harris Fellow, board member, secretary, Sgt. at Arms and was on many Rotary Club 29 committees over the years. He was a dedicated Rotarian, husband, father, grandfather, and friend to all of us with a great since of humor that always kept us smiling.
I first met Larry in 1978 when my wife and I moved to Oklahoma City and called on Larry for business at his advertising agency when I was a radio and later a television sales account executive. Our friendship was immediate and fun loving as many of your friendships were with Larry when they first began.
Larry enjoyed a career in advertising and public relations through The Bledsoe Agency and his partnership with the firm of Bledsoe, Norick, and McAuliffe. Also, he was co-host of KWTV’s syndicated “Bingo Mania” live 30-minute television show every Monday through Friday at 9 am. His co-host was Kerry Robertson Kerby of KWTV’s Morning Show. The show ran over a 2–3-year period in the 1980’s and was sponsored by Dr. Pepper with a live in-studio audience. There were several occasions over the life of the show that Larry for some reason or another couldn’t make it to the show. Sometimes we would only learn 2 minutes before airtime that he wasn’t going to make the 3-2-1 countdown to “on the air.” His fill-in co-host replacement was me. What a privilege and honor for a young kid to be chosen to fill his shoes live on the air co-hosting this show. Those were fun times!!!
Always involved in community and civic work, Larry was proud of his involvement in the establishment the first Memorial Marathon. Later in his career he served as Vice-President of Marketing and PR at Union Bank. In keeping with his love of performing, Larry could often be seen or heard in television and radio commercials. Who could ever forget the ending “tag line” of the Southwest Ford commercials…” That’s Incredible…No, That’s Southwest Ford!!’ I can still hear Larry saying that today.
Larry’s memorial service will be held at the Memorial Road Church of Christ 2221 E. Memorial Rd., Edmond, OK at 10:00 AM on October 20, 2021. In lieu of flowers please make donations in Larry’s name to Memorial Road Church of Christ 2221 E. Memorial Rd., Edmond OK 73013 or the charity of your choice.
It’s always hard saying good-bye to loved ones…but we all know Larry led an incredible fun-loving life.
So, let’s remember this tag line…” That’s Incredible…No, That’s Larry Bledsoe.”
Services – Oct. 13 2:00pm
North MacArthur Church of Christ
9300 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73132
I’m heart broken!
Our fellow Rotarian Leonard Sullivan passed away.
Leonard was married to Marilyn for 63 years and raised two daughters Diana and Lee Ann.
A developer and real estate professional, Leonard served in the legislature from 1986-2004 or and was responsible for most of the real estate legislation passed while he served. He also served in the Oklahoma National Guard. After leaving the legislature he earned election as the Oklahoma County Assessor where he served for 14 years before retiring. His real estate experience was influential in expanding the view of the real estate business to assessors across Oklahoma.
Leonard was “Mr. Republican” while making friends on both sides of the political aisle. Nearly every successful and not so successful Republican presidential candidate and other candidates knew Leonard and Marilyn and more than likely had a fund raiser at the Sullivan home. He wasn’t afraid to fight for causes and while he and others might disagree, the goal was to not be disagreeable.
“Leonard was famous. New legislators would ask me, ‘Is it true that on the House Floor Leonard said….’ and I would cut them off and say—YES, HE REALLY SAID THAT!” said his friend and chief deputy for Leonard during his county service, Larry Stein.
“Leonard knew more jokes and funny stories and shared them with hundreds of friends. He was a kind and generous leader, a great colleague and a wonderful friend. The entire County Assessor family is heart broken at our loss, Stein said.
Joe Edwards – January 10, 1949- Sept. 24, 2021
Celebration of Life – October 2, 2021 | 11:am
Chuch of the Servant 14343 N. MacArthur, Okla. City, 73142
Joe Edwards, a member of Rotary of Oklahoma City for the past 13 years and a partner and director at Crowe & Dunlevy law firm, passed away peacefully and unexpectedly while he slept on Friday, September 24. Joe was 72. Joe’s legal practice focused primarily on banking, energy, international, litigation, white collar crime, real estate and securities litigation.
Born in Oklahoma, Joe’s family moved to San Diego and then Miami and returned to Oklahoma City when Joe was in high school. He lived with his younger sister while their parents had important international assignments through the FAA and the United Nations. Joe put himself through the University of Oklahoma for two degrees and through Oklahoma City University School of Law by working at Griffin Memorial Hospital in Norman and then worked with Haliburton as a “Smoke Jumper” in Alaska. His family is convinced that his independence, confidence, work ethic and general willingness to “jump out of airplanes into a fire” were traits and values that forged his life’s path.
The news of Joe’s death swept through his many friends and family and professional colleagues like a shockwave last Friday.
At 6’3”, Joe Edwards was a larger-than-life person and personality who was often quietly listening with a wry smile. A technique no doubt used as an expert negotiator and litigant. He had an innate intelligence that he magnified with extraordinary preparation for legal proceedings, negotiations, or trial.
Joe is remembered by his colleagues and friends at Crowe & Dunlevy. Fellow Rotarian and lawyer Kevin Gordon recalls Joe’s “steady hand and thoughtful judgment as indispensable”. He went on to say that Joe was “Collegial and well-liked by his fellow lawyers”, Kevin said many in the firm described Joe as warm, engaging and full of life. Colleague Cynda Ottaway summed up his loss up as sudden and tragic. The President of Crowe Dunlevy, Roger Stong in his note to the firm called Joe “a remarkable man and a remarkable lawyer”. Roger noted that many in the firm got to know Joe as an adversary, though one highly regarded. They were all thankful, and perhaps a bit relieved, when Joe agreed in 2011 to become a fellow shareholder of the firm.
Beyond the law Joe was fluent in many other arenas….his knowledge of international cultures was polished with significant world-wide travels with his wife Charlotte and often with friends, including Rotarians Andy Lasser and Bob Wilson and their spouses Kay and Lorraine. Andy says, “Joe was always out front as we walked along”, seemingly a metaphor for Joe’s life. Andy went on to say, “You always knew where Joe stood on any issue. He was probably the smartest man I know. Joe was a tough legal mind, and a caring and thoughtful friend. We will miss his gruffness and his softness! Friends like Joe don’t come around often.”
His brilliance allowed him to consume information like a server farm of computers. What he found interesting, lengthy articles and essays or the pleadings of an important case of great public interest were shared with others. David Walters recalled being on a list of 16 friends receiving such treatises. “Over the last year I have 63, now cherished emails, with links and attachments from 25 different sources. Other friends on this list would occasionally ask if I had read all of what Joe sent and I would embarrassed have to admit that I had only read a portion, but I never deleted a one. They were all topics that you wanted to know more about. If I had time to read only a few of his selections, I marvel at the time he spent sifting through these many international information sources for his edification and ours. I will now read each one carefully.”
Joe’s constant work, which he loved, allowed him to do so much.
Joe’s passing leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of all those who loved him and so many acquaintances who will miss his quiet, but firmly shared master class intellect. Rotary Oklahoma City expresses their deep sympathy to his wife of 25 years Charlotte and Joes two sons, Allen and Ryan and their wives and Joe’s four grand daughters. May his memory be a blessing.
Denise Semands Suttles
March 6, 1950 – August 29, 2021
Club 29 Rotarian – 18 years
Services will be held at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Tuesday, September 7, 5:00-7:30, with a celebration of life at 5:30 followed by a reception. Services will be live streamed by visiting the following link https://youtu.be/3SViIOqesmg
Denise Semands Suttles, 71, of Oklahoma City died August 29, 2021. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 6, 1950, to Theresa M. and Howard L. McFadden, Denise spent her formative years in Cole County, Missouri, where her father had moved the family in 1954. The second of nine children born to Theresa and Howard, Denise was an inquisitive and precocious child and excelled academically at a very early age. She attended St. Stanislaus School in Wardsville, Missouri, from first to 8th grade. From the 9th-11th grade, she attended Sisters of Divine Providence Convent in St. Louis, Missouri leaving the convent before taking her vows. She spent her senior year of High School in Roeland, Kansas, at Bishop Miege High School, where she graduated in 1968. She attended the University of Texas at El Paso, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1975, and earned a Master of Science in 1986 from Texas Women’s University.
Harry L. Wilson (1933-2020)
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.
12-28-1956 – 11-29-2020
25 years of Rotary
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.
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.
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.
From PDG Bill Bowden
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 m.facebook.com/allsoulsokc/live, 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
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
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