Lives well lived
Each year, TulsaPeople remembers some of its most distinctive citizens, special people who gave of themselves to make Tulsa a better place. Here are a few of these remarkable individuals as described by their colleagues, friends and family.
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Photos courtesy of friends and family and TulsaPeople archives
Margery Mayo Feagin Bird
Philanthropist and community volunteer; Sept. 28, 1916-Aug. 29, 2012
An inductee into the Tulsa Hall of Fame, Margery Bird served on the boards of Tulsa’s most respected arts and social services organizations. She endowed a chair in the humanities at The University of Tulsa and contributed generously to its other needs, including the Mayo Village student apartments.
“Margery exuded elegance and the air of being always at home in the world. Her natural charm and generosity of spirit made her a friend to many and a true stateswoman of our community. In particular, her love of the arts did much to uphold Tulsa’s cultural heritage. Here at TU, we continue to benefit from Margery’s endowment gifts to our music and humanities programs and from other generous gifts that she and Jim had made over the years. She touched TU in many important and lasting ways, both through her material generosity and through her genuine friendship.”
— Steadman Upham, TU president
Race Riot survivor and longtime minister; Feb. 13, 1903-May 21, 2012
At age 18, Otis Clark was among those north Tulsans whose homes and dreams were shattered by the Tulsa Race Riot, but he did not let it define his life. After a short career in Hollywood, where he worked as a butler for Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin and others, he became a minister and spent 85 years preaching, evangelizing and serving others. In 2008, he joined other riot survivors for the premiere of the documentary “Before They Die,” which tells the story of their struggle for reparations. Having been through the worst, he nevertheless remained optimistic about race relations. A humble man, he focused on giving others hope.
“He was such a wonderful person. He just had a heart. Anybody who needed help — he didn’t care who you were, what color you were, where you were from — if you needed help, he was there. He was the kindest man I ever met in my life.”
— Eddie Faye Gates, longtime friend
Lauren “Lo” Detrich
Cystic fibrosis spokeswoman; June 30, 1984-Aug. 11, 2012
Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as an infant, Lo Detrich took a life-threatening illness and made it her life’s cause. She survived two double-lung transplants and a kidney transplant, and in spite of a continuous regimen of medical care, considered herself lucky.
“Lo was a very gracious, giving and grateful person. I have never met anyone quite like her, and she was my inspiration to work for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She was always uplifting to be with and never complained about having cystic fibrosis. She was a dynamic fundraiser for CF, which she began at age 7, raising funds for the Great Strides walk. As a teenager she not only chaired the event twice, but also headed the top fundraising team for 20 years. She was our goodwill ambassador and helped so many other CF patients across the country cope with the disease.”
— Jo Ann N. Winn, executive director, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/Sooner Chapter