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Eugene Edward "Gene" Stipe
Oct 21, 1926 - Jul 21, 2012
Posted by Jo Aguirre

Funeral services for Former Oklahoma State Senator Gene Stipe were held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, 2012  at the First Baptist Church of McAlester under the direction of Brumley-Mills Funeral Home. Rev. Steve Dennis officiated with eulogies from Judge Terry West, former Gov. George Nigh, Frosty Troy, John Massey and Eddie Harper. Services were under direction of Brumley-Mills Chapel.  Burial followed in Memory Gardens Cemetery in McAlester.                                     

He was born Oct. 21. 1926, at Blanco, Oklahoma to Jacob Irvin and Eva Stipe and died peacefully at his home Saturday, July 21, 2012  following a long illness at the age of 85. His wife Mary, daughter Beth and her family was by her side. His father was a coal miner and a farmer. His mother, Eva, died when he was 12.

Stipe served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was commissioned as an ensign, being honorably discharged. He was known as the "Dean of the Senate" and he holds the distinction of the longest service in the Oklahoma legislature at 53 years. His tenure has been legendary. At the age of 21, he was elected to the House of Representatives and served from 1948 through 1954. In 1956, he 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 renamed as the Transportation Committee. He oversaw the expansion and improvement of the state’s highway system and was also a strong proponent for civil rights and unions.

Senator Stipe was a lifelong Democrat and 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, he turned 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.

Stipe was also a renowned defense attorney and entrepreneur. He and his late brother, Francis Stipe  owned radio stations, newspapers and convenience stores, and oil and gas interests. Active pallbearers were Ty Anis, Joe Gold, Mark Thetford, John Thetford, Wayne Stipe and George Minter. Honorary pallbearers were Eddie Harper, Lloyd G. Minter, Richard Faling, Rick Faling, Mark Anis, Barry Moore and Bob Craig.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 53 years, Agnes Minter Stipe; His brothers Claude, Jack, Francis and Clyde Stipe, and his sister, Marie Gold.

Survivors include 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.
 
In lieu of flowers, donations were made to Shared Blessings, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Salvation Army or another charity.

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