George Lee Stidham, 4th generation Citizen of McIntosh County whose ancestors came on the Trail of Tears, passed away peacefully on Monday, November 21, 2016 at the age of 87. He was born on Sunday, April 21, 1929 in Muskogee to G.W. and Irene Staley Stidham. Lee attended Checotah Public School until the age of 13, at which time he then entered Shattuck Military Academy in Fairbault, Minn., in 1947. While there, he was the Captain of the Crack Squad, played golf and football. He served during the Korean Theatre in the Artillery division and was discharged as a Captain. Lee returned home and attended the University of Oklahoma. He served as the President of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, graduating in 1951with his Business Administration Degree. On Tuesday, July 3, 1951, Lee married the love of his life, Mary Bartleson in Muskogee. After they married, Lee attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he was a graduate of the School of Banking. In 1953 he began a career in retail at Sharpe's Department Store. He joined Peoples National Bank of Checotah in 1958, serving in most positions including President from 1985-1999. Presently he serves as Chairman Emeritus. Lee was a member of Gov. George Nigh's Tourism Commission that was responsible for locating both Arrowhead and Fountainhead Lodges on Lake Eufaula in 1960, served as President of the Oklahoma Heritage Assoc. from 1997-1999, Board of Directors from 1993-1999, Board of Directors of Oklahoma Banking Assoc. from 1994-1996. He also served on the Checotah Board of Education from 1965-1975, founding President and ongoing member of the Friends of Honey Springs Battlefield, First President of the Checotah Industrial Board, Verd-Ark-Ca Development Corporation where he received the Lifetime Service Development Award in 2001. Lee commissioned and financed the pair of Bronze statues in 1997 for the City of Checotah's 130th Anniversary, "Mestizo" and "Yahvlane" (the coyote). He was a faithful member of First United Methodist Church of Checotah where he held almost every position.
Lee represents the qualities that make Oklahoma a great place to live. Of Creek decent, he has proven throughout his life that Native American heritage is a source of pride and strength. This heritage can be seen in his quiet yet firm leadership style and his sense of community. Like many Native Americans who have earned the respect of their elders, Lee does not seek the center stage, but instead gives credit for his good deeds to those around him. As you remember the life of Lee memorials are to be made in his memory to First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 36 Checotah, OK 74426 or charity of your choice. He is preceded in death by his parents; his daughter, Mary K. "Kathy" Jennings; a brother Donal Evan "Don" Stidham. He is lovingly survived by his wife Mary, of the home; children, G. Steven Stidham and his wife Liz of Tulsa, Susan Stidham Brandon and her husband Jim of Tulsa; son-in-law, Robert Jennings of Checotah. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Carter Jennings of OKC, Taylor Jennings, Manhattan, KS, Jay Jennings and his wife Quaye of OKC, Matthew Jennings of Checotah, Sarah Elizabeth Stidham and her husband Chris Gonzales, of Boston, MA, Lee Stidham Brandon, Kate Stidham Brandon, all of Tulsa, other extended family and a lifetime of friends. Mr. Stidham will lie in state in the sanctuary of First United Methodist from 12:00 PM to 5:00 Pm Tuesday, November 22, 2016. A service of celebration will be held 11:00 AM Wednesday, November 23, 2016 in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Checotah with Reverend D. Wayne Loftin, Celebrant . A private family committal will be held in Greenlawn Cemetery.
You may share online condolences with Lee's family @ www.garrettfamilyfuneralhome.com
The Family of George Lee Stidham entrusted his care, services and burial to John, Kim and Seth Garrett of Garrett Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service 311 SW 2nd Checotah, OK 74426, (918) 473-2244.
Published on November 21, 2016