McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Obituaries

July 22, 2012

Gene Stipe

McALESTER — Former Oklahoma State Sen. Gene Stipe, 85, died peacefully at his home Saturday following a long illness. By his side were his wife, Mary, his daughter, Beth, and her family.

Visitation is set from 6-8 p.m. Monday at the Brumley-Mills Chapel in McAlester. Funeral Services are set for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of McAlester under the direction of Brumley-Mills Funeral Home.

Rev. Steve Dennis will officiate,  with eulogies from Judge Terry West, former Gov. George Nigh, Frosty Troy, John Massey and Eddie Harper.

Stipe was born Oct. 21. 1926, at Blanco, to Jacob Irvin and Eva Stipe. His father was a coal miner and a farmer. His mother, Eva, died when he was 12.

Known as the “Dean of the Senate,” Stipe holds the distinction of the longest service in the Oklahoma legislature at 53 years. His tenure has been legendary.

In 1948, at the age of 21, Stipe was elected to the House of Representatives and served through 1954. In 1956, Stipe was elected to the state Senate, where he served until 2003. For many years, he served as the chairman of the Senate Roads and Highways Committee, later known as the Transportation Committee. He oversaw the expansion and improvement of the state’s highway system. Stipe was also a strong proponent for civil rights and unions.

A lifelong Democrat, Stipe will be remembered by many for his impassioned support for the poor and the working people. Throughout his service, he would be at his McAlester office to meet those in need on Saturday mornings. He would pay the bills of the penniless, find jobs for the jobless, and advocate for those in need.

Through his influence, Stipe would held turn McAlester into a hub of political and economic activity. He helped bring home millions of dollars in road and highway construction and other economic development, creating thousands of jobs. The people of his Senate district responded by electing him 17 times.

In addition, Stipe was a renowned defense attorney and entrepreneur. With his late brother, Francis Stipe, he owned radio stations, newspapers and convenience stores, and oil and gas interests.

Stipe served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was commissioned as an ensign, being honorably discharged.

Stipe is survived by his wife, Mary, who he married in 2003; his only child, Beth Anis, and her husband, Mohammed Anis, of Dallas, and three grandchildren: Mark, Ty and Serena Anis. He is also survived by two stepsons, John Thetford, and his wife, Barabara; Mark Thetford, and their children, all of Tulsa. He is also survived by his sisters, Mary Lou Faling and her husband, Richard Faling, and Pauline Cates. Preceding him in death were his parents; his wife of 53 years, Agnes Minter Stipe; His brothers Claude, Jack, Francis and Clyde Stipe, and his sister, Marie Gold.

The family said that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Shared Blessings, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Salvation Army or another charity.

Active pallbearers are Ty Anis, Joe Gold, Mark Thetford, John Thetford, Wayne Stipe and George Minter.

Honorary pallbearers are Eddie Harper, Lloyd G. Minter, Richard Faling, Rick Faling, Mark Anis, Barry Moore and Bob Craig.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Brumley-Mills Funeral Home of McAlester.  

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