Richard's Story

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Memorial services for Richard LeGate, 80, retired longtime Claremore business leader, will be 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at First Presbyterian Church. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at MMS-Payne Funeral Home & Cremation Service. He died Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.
LeGate was born Feb. 15, 1936 in Bristow, the son of Richard Hugh and Velma Elizabeth Allen LeGate. They lived in Bristow until moving to Claremore when he was in the first grade.
When his father was called into service during World War II, he and his mother returned to Bristow to be with family.
After the war they returned to Claremore where he spent part of his boyhood in downtown Claremore, living in the back of the LeGate Grocery. He graduated from Claremore High School in 1954 and was president of his junior and senior class and played football and basketball.
He went to the University of Tulsa to play football, and then transferred to Arkansas City, Kansas. LeGate left college and worked in Laredo, Texas, for an airplane parts manufacturer, missing a semester of college before enrolling in Oklahoma State University, where he met Jarol Beltz.
He joined the U.S. Navy in February of 1958 and soon gained a love of flying. He was a flight instructor and taught cadets at Oklahoma Military Academy for a time. He continued his love and flying and for many years had his own airplane, a passion he shared with his grandsons. He was a promoter of the Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In, traveling to airports in a three-state area.
LeGate was a Navy helicopter pilot when he and Jarol Beltz were wed on June 24, 1961 in Stillwater. They moved to California, where he was stationed in San Diego.
After discharge he returned to Tulsa and TU to finish his degree. The couple moved to Claremore to help his father, Mayor Dick LeGate with the grocery store. When his father died in 1968, the store was sold and LeGate started his career in public service. He was director of the Claremore Chamber of Commerce and for a time worked in the dual capacity with the Chamber and Claremore Industrial Authority.
A certified industrial developer and graduate of the Chamber Institute, he was involved in economic and industrial development in the metropolitan area and helped in location of Claremore Regional Airport. He also worked with Phil Smith in the real estate market until 1990.
He was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church and served as treasurer. He was the Claremore Citizen of the Year in 1978.
He was Rotary president in 1981-82 and was appointed to the Oklahoma Film Commission.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dick and Elizabeth LeGate, and sister, Mary Kathryn.
Survivors are his wife, Jarol; daughters, Jane LeGate Clarke and husband, Bruce, of Burbank, Calif., and Linda LeGate Richter and husband, Darrin, of Wimberly, Texas; brother, Steve and wife, Kim, of Tulsa; and grandchildren, Cole and Carson Clarke, Jamie Clarke and his wife, Katie, and Trevor and Robby Richter; and a great-granddaughter, Lila Clarke.
Memorial donations may be made in LeGate's memory to the Claremore Public School Foundation, P.O. Box 575, Claremore, OK 74018-0575; or First Presbyterian Church, 102 E. 4th, Claremore, OK 74017.
View and sign his online tribute at www.mmsfuneralhomes.com.

Published on September 28, 2016
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