William E. Humphrey


Died August 9, 2012,Pauls Valley, Oklahoma

College: Saybrook

Children: Marran, 1968; Rebecca, 1972; Will Jr., 1978

William E. “Bill” Humphrey

(June 19, 1939 – August 9, 2012)

A time for friends and family to share memories with one another will be 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. om Sunday, August 12, 2012 at the Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home.

William Edwin Humphrey – Eagle Scout, Rotarian, State Department attaché, entrepreneur, civic leader and tireless advocate for Pauls Valley and Oklahoma – died Thursday, August 9, 2012 in Oklahoma City after a protracted illness. He was 73 years old.

William, who went by Bill, was born June 19, 1939 in Pauls Valley to parents Mamie Elizabeth (Gooch) and William E. Humphrey and raised there along with his younger brother Elbert ‘Bert’

He attended Pauls Valley High School, from which he graduated in 1957, and Yale University, from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Architecture in 1961.

He returned to Pauls Valley in the summer of 1961 and applied for a position with the Foreign Service with the U.S. Department of State. Told that he was too young and inexperienced, he was rejected.

Never one to sit idly after a setback, and concerned about his job prospects as a graduate in the arts, Bill applied to and was accepted at Oklahoma State University, from which he graduated in August of 1962 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Sciences (now known as Business Administration) in Marketing. He then reapplied for a position with State Department, and was accepted.

He spent the following year with the Foreign Service Institute, which included a rigorous program of language and other training. His first assignment, from 1963 to 1965, was as a Commercial Officer with the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. During that time, he met and fell in love with Gay (Wells). Bill and Gay were married in Managua on Saint Patrick’s Day, 1965. From 1965 to 1966, Bill was posted in Istanbul, Turkey as Vice-Consul. From 1966 to 1968, Bill was assigned to the Turkish and Cyprus desk at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Subsequently, from 1968 to 1972, he served as Assistant to the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico and then, from 1972 to 1974, as U.S. Consul in Florence, Italy.

When Bill and Gay returned home to Pauls Valley from Mexico in 1974 with their two little girls, Marran (born 1968) and Rebecca (1971) (Bill and Gay’s youngest, Will, was born in 1978), Bill quickly became involved in the business, political and civic life of Oklahoma.

He had many business pursuits. In 1974, he purchased an insurance agency, Loftin & Humphrey, in Pauls Valley, in which he was active for more than three decades. He formed the Humphrey Real Estate agency, which continues in business, in 1980, and participated in numerous real estate developments in the Pauls Valley area. He also served as a director of banks in Florida and Georgia over the years and was, from 1977 until the present, a Director of the Pauls Valley National Bank, in Pauls Valley, and from 1985 to the present, a Director and Vice President of the First National Bank of Marlow, in Marlow, Okla.

For two decades beginning in 1991, Bill was the Investment Representative for Edward D. Jones & Co. in Pauls Valley.

He was also active in Oklahoma politics. Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony once observed that Bill “was a Republican before it was cool to be a Republican in Oklahoma. For numerous years, Bill was the “go-to” person for state Republicans looking to reach out to people or raise funds in Garvin County. But if he was a lifelong member of the party, he was not a partisan one.

The prism through which he viewed the issue of the day was a pragmatic one, and he engaged people regardless of political party so long as they shared his concern for Oklahoma’s welfare. He was friendly with a diverse group of politicians which included Sen. David Boren, Rep. Dave McCurdy, Sen. Don Nickles and Rep. J.C. Watts. Perhaps his most enduring contributions were in the civic sphere. He loved his business and diplomatic pursuits, but he was most proud of his involvement as a citizen.

As former Rep. McCurdy put it, Bill “was a patriot and a statesman who loved his state and loved his community of Pauls Valley.”

Bill’s many civic accomplishments included being a member of and serving in various capacities: Pauls Valley Mayor (1981-83) and City Councilman (1979-1983), Pauls Valley Chamber of Commerce (beg. 1976), Pauls Valley Industrial Development Team (beg. 1989), Oklahoma Committee on Historic Preservation (1977), Southern Growth Policies Board (beg. 1987), Board of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (beg. 1987), Board of the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals (beg. 1988), and Leadership Oklahoma (member of Class I; beg. 1987).

He also founded the Pauls Valley Historical Society in 1976. He was awarded the Stanley Draper Award from the Oklahoma Heritage Association in 1988. In his different capacities, he lent support to many causes important to Pauls Valley, including among others, attracting companies such as Covercraft Industries to the area, and raising money for the Pauls Valley General Hospital Foundation.

Bill continued to play the organ for his beloved First Christian Church of Pauls Valley until recently, even when he was infirm, with the same love, dedication and enthusiasm that marked the rest of his life.

He was a complex and passionate personality with a “can-do” Oklahoma spirit who liked hard work. He lived a full and rich life and, in the words of Rep. McCurdy, “gave more than he took.” He will be missed.

Bill Humphrey leaves his brother and sister-in-law, Bert and Pat Humphrey; his children and their spouses: Marran and Ian Ogilvie, Rebecca and Greg Hendrix, and Will and Shabnam Humphrey; his grandchildren: Angus, Malcolm, and Ellie Ogilvie, Audrey Hendrix, and Jasrah and Leah Humphrey; his nephew Blayke Humphrey; his niece Brooke Ryan; and many beloved cousins and friends.

Funeral services will be held at Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home in Pauls Valley on Monday, August 13 at 10:30 a.m. Rev. Robin Spurling and Rev. Peggy D. Farriss will officiate. Interment will be at Mt. Olivet Cemetery under the direction of Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home. We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the family’s guestbook at the link above.