Henry Bellmon’s life will be celebrated today during funeral services in Edmond and in Perry.
Bellmon, Oklahoma’s first Republican governor, died Tuesday at the age of 88. He was elected governor in 1962 and in 1986. The Billings farmer served two terms as a U.S. Senator, winning election in 1968 and in 1974. He started his political career in 1946 by being elected to the state House of Representatives.
Bellmon served in the Marines during World War II; he was a tank commander during fighting at Iwo Jima. He returned to his farm after serving in the Legislature. He got involved in local politics and in 1960 became chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party. He is credited with building up the GOP in the state.
Gov. Brad Henry and his wife, Kim, plan to attend this morning’s service at the First Presbyterian Church in Edmond.
Those speaking will be Robert Henry, 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals chief who was Oklahoma’s Democratic attorney general during Bellmon’s second term as governor; Wilma Mankiller, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Rodd Moesel, an Oklahoma City businessman, Russell Perry, publisher of the Black Chronicle and owner of Perry Broadcasting Co.; Gail Wynne of Enid, a Bellmon daughter; and two grandsons, Ben and Brok McFerron.
Officiating will be the Rev. Andrew Tevington, Bellmon’s former chief of staff, who is pastor of the Chapel Community, United Methodist Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City.
Speaking this afternoon at the First Presbyterian Church in Perry will be state schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett; Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis; Ed Kelley, editor of The Oklahoman; Pat Hoerth of Billings, a Bellmon daughter; and a grandson, Elliott Wynne.
The Rev. Rick Rhodes, senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Perry, will officiate.
Burial will be at the Union Cemetery in Billings.
Bellmon was preceded in death by his first wife, Shirley. Together they had three daughters, Wynne, Hoerth, and Ann McFerron of Billings.
Shirley Bellmon died in 2000. In 2002, Bellmon married a longtime family friend, Eloise Bollenbach.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 NE13, Oklahoma City, OK 73104 or the Henry Bellmon Endowment, Oklahoma State University Foundation, P.O. Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749.
- Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau