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March 19, 1932 - December 15, 2012 PONCA CITY Charles Wendell Casey was born March 19, 1932, in Ponca City, the town he loved throughout his life. He died Saturday, December 15, 2012, at St. John's Medical Center in Tulsa. He was the fifth of five children born to William Howell and Alma Been Casey. Following the death of Alma on Christmas Day of 1932, W.H. married Veva Longwell, and together, they reared Charles and his two brothers and two sisters. Charles attended Ponca City schools, graduating from Ponca City High School in 1950, where he was involved in athletics. Some would say that it held his interest more than the classroom. He enrolled in the University of Oklahoma, not to play football for Bud Wilkinson but to play for the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity intramural team. While at OU, he studied business, spending his fourth year as a first-year law student. In ROTC, when the Korean Conflict ended, Charles was called to duty as a First Lieutenant. He was asked to select a first and a second choice as to where he would like to be stationed. He chose England and Hawaii. He was sent to the DMZ between North and South Korea. He retired a Captain in the United States Army. In 1957, after 16 months in Korea, he returned to OU Law School. During that first semester, he met Bayard Stewart, an undergraduate from Lake Charles, Louisiana, who, on September 17, 1960, would become his wife for 52 years. Upon graduating from OU, he returned to Ponca City and became an associate of Senator Roy Grantham, a man he greatly admired. They became partners and practiced law together until Senator Grantham's death. Charles continued his law practice until 2011. Charles' true passion was to help build a better Ponca City. As a Boy Scout, he sold more War Bonds than anyone in town, perhaps the spark that led him to devote his life to donating and raising money for civic and charitable causes that touched his heart. The first year he returned to Ponca City, he became the drive chairman for the March of Dimes campaign. He went on to lead the fund-raising campaigns for Ponca City's American Legion Children's Home, now the Marland Children's Home; the YMCA pool; and later, the new YMCA, the historic Poncan Theatre, and Ponca Playhouse. In addition to serving on the City Commission and acting as Assistant City Attorney, Charles served on multiple civic, educational and charitable boards. He acted as chairman of the Marland Estate Commission and served as president of the local United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Kay County Bar Association, Ponca City Public Schools Friends of Education, Poncan Theatre, Ponca Playhouse, and was the first president of Ponca City Country Club Tennis Association. He proudly served for thirty years on the board of RCB Bank Ponca City in addition to acting as director for the Ponca City Country Club, the Bi-State Mental Health Foundation and Campfire Girls. He coached YMCA flag football and Roosevelt Elementary girls' softball. A longtime member of First Presbyterian Church, he served as elder, trustee and deacon and loved to sing in the choir. In 1980, he was selected Outstanding Citizen by the Chamber of Commerce. Honorary casket bearers are Robert Askew, Phil Bandy, Enloe Baumert, Fred Boettcher, Guy Clark, Jeff Cowan, Ike Glass, John McFadden, Charlie Mounts, John Raley, Carl Renfro, from Ponca City; Homer Paul and William W. "Bill" Rodgers, of Oklahoma City; and Tom Hester, of Naples, Florida.A private graveside service was held Wednesday, December 15, 2012. There will be a memorial service on Friday, January 11, 2013, (time and place TBA). Arrangements are under the direction of Trout Funeral Home and Crematory. He is survived by his wife, Bayard, of the home; his daughter, Cristyn Casey, and her husband, Pablo Diaz, of Ponca City; a granddaughter, Francesca Diaz; his brother, William Howell Casey Jr., of Henderson, Nevada; his sister, Velma Gillert, of Tulsa; nephews: The Honorable Tom Gillert and wife, Jeanne, of Tulsa; Mitch Casey and wife, Brenda, of Houston, Texas; and Jay Casey and wife, Joan, of Stillwater; nieces: Kelle Casey-Ross and husband, Randy, of Bartlesville; Judith Rousseau, of Graton, California; Jan Graefe and husband, Carl Paul, of Sausalito, California; and sister-in-law, Anna Paula Casey, of Canyon Lake, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Alma Casey, and Veva Casey; a brother, Robert "Bob" Casey; and a sister, Doris Von Iderstein. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of North Central Oklahoma, 1904 N Union, Ste 103, Ponca City, OK 74601; The Poncan Theatre, 104 E Grand, Ponca City, OK 74601; or Marland Children's Home, 1300 Summers Pl, Ponca City, OK 74604.

Published in The Oklahoman on Dec. 22, 2012
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