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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Walter Helmerich III
Business leader and philanthropist; Jan. 23, 1923-Jan 10, 2012
The president of his family oil business, Helmerich & Payne, and owner of Utica Square shopping center, Walter Helmerich was not only a businessman, but also one of Tulsa’s most prominent philanthropists. Along with his wife, Peggy, he created the Helmerich Foundation, was a longtime advocate of the Tulsa Parks System and former chairman of the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board, as well as trustee for several arts, health and social service organizations. The Helmerich name graces numerous Tulsa-area charitable institutions.
“Walt Helmerich was a committed believer in Tulsa and the parks system. His actions underscored the seriousness of his support. He lived his life with an eye to nature. He spent his career working the earth for energy but never failed each step of the way to give his energy back to the earth. That’s why you don’t have to look far in Tulsa to see Walt Helmerich’s mark on a park.”
— Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett
Community volunteer; Feb. 13, 1936-June 19, 2012
Clydella Hentschel embodied the consum-mate volunteer. In 1992, she was the first woman to co-chair Tulsa’s United Way campaign, then co-chair the board the following year. She was a former president of the Saint Francis Auxiliary, president and board chairwoman for Children’s Medical Center, and a board member of the Hillcrest Medical Foundation, Hillcrest HealthCare System and the Peggy V. Helmerich Women’s Health Care Center. For some 35 years, she helped run the CMC gift shop and served on various boards of the American Diabetes Association. Among her recent interests was Hospitality House of Tulsa.
“Clydella had great compassion for the oppressed and poor. She was my friend and mentor. The lessons I cherished the most were her lessons on faith, family and friendships. She was an amazing wife, devoted mother, proud grandmother and a friend to so many people. When you became friends with Clydella, you became lifelong friends. But it was her relationship with Christ that shined. She loved our Lord with all her being, in thought, in word and in deed. I’ll never forget her.”
— Toni Moore, president and CEO, Hospitality House of Tulsa
Tulsa’s first anchorman and “Waiting Child” founder; Dec. 20, 1924-Sept. 22, 2012
Although Bob Hower will go down in Tulsa’s media history as the city’s first anchorman, his greatest legacy will be the weekly series he began in 1980 for KTUL, “Waiting Child.” The award-winning segment focuses on children hoping for adoption. Through it, thousands of children have found homes. The longtime broadcaster began his career in 1949 as a newscaster at KOTV. After serving in the Korean War, he then spent 14 years in California and came to KTUL in 1969, retiring in 1986. Tulsans named him the Tulsa Centennial Homecoming King in 1997.
“He was the king of broadcast journalism and the newsroom in our community; the epitome of a handsome, diplomatic gentleman; a kind-spirited man with a wonderful voice. His voice had a tenderness you could feel when he spoke. He would carry that over when he lost his voice. People loved him so much they could overlook it because he was Bob Hower.”
— Beth Rengel, friend and former KTUL co-anchor