John Robert "J.R." Tye, 90, died peacefully on January 11, 2018, of natural causes and will be missed by all who knew him.
JR was born in the Gatesville Bottoms in Wagoner County on November 7, 1927, and was the fourth of seven children born to John Pearson ("Jake") and Juanita Massey Tye. He grew up in the Choska Bottoms along the Arkansas River where his family farmed land for a share of the crop. Times were hard with no plumbing or electricity until moving to Muskogee in the '40s. He always held fond memories of his childhood. He knew they did not have much but they were rich in all the things that mattered. He was very proud of his parents, his upbringing and his siblings.
A member of the Greatest Generation, he joined the Navy on his 18th birthday in 1945 where he served in the Pacific for two years before returning to Muskogee and graduating from Central High School in 1948. He married well when he married Genevieve Anne McGrath on May 21, 1949, after a 5 month courtship. They were married for 62 years and together they raised four children in Muskogee. He worked hard his whole life and owned JR Tye Floor Company which he and Genevieve operated successfully until it was sold in 2003 and he retired at age 76. He also knew how to have a good time and was a natural athlete and an avid sportsman, excelling at baseball, hunting, fishing and archery. He was a leader and founder of Indian Capitol Archers in the late 1960s and won several regional archery competitions. He and Genevieve enjoyed two-stepping and square dancing, where he served as a caller. He was an active member of First Lutheran Church from 1949-2011, where he served in many leadership roles including president of the congregation and elder. In the 1990s he was President of the Northeastern Oklahoma Floor Covering Association.
JR loved dogs, baseball, fishing and hunting, biscuits and gravy, a good story and his momma's fudge. He had a gruff exterior, but a soft and kind heart, always supporting and rooting for the underdog in life. He was a born leader, salesman and storyteller, known for his quick wit and ability to find humor in almost any situation. And man, could he whistle a tune.
His friends and family could count on him when the chips were down. He took great pride in his children and grandchildren. He and Genevieve instilled in them the joy of meaningful work, a strong sense of family, compassion for those that are less fortunate, a sense of fairness, the ability to have fun and the idea that they could do anything they set their mind to without limitation. He gave them the tools that they needed to get by in this world and live happy and abundant lives.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, brothers Gene and Harold and sister Helen Burns. He is survived by his siblings Ann Roe and Jerry Tye of Muskogee and Norma Jo Cutler (and husband Don) of Arlington, TX; children and their spouses: Candee and Doug Smith of Heath, TX; Dr. John and Denise Tye of Tucson, AZ; Joy and Tim Anderson of Muskogee; and Ginger Tye of Dallas, TX; 10 grandchildren and their spouses: Peter an Julianne Smith, Kerri and Frank New, Andrew Smith, Schuyler Smith, Cody Tye, Mike Tye, Sarah Anderson, Stacey and Chris Tracy, Erin and Scott Kerr and Brett Anderson and Devon Holland; eight great grandchildren; two great, great grandchildren; numerous beloved nieces and nephews and his dog Socks.
The family is deeply grateful for the care provided by the VA, Broadway Manor Nursing Home, Oklahoma Veterans Center in Claremore and Hometown Hospice who took such good care of Dad. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations in JR's memory to P.A.W.S. Inc. animal rescue group in Muskogee: http://pawsforadoption.com/donations.html.
Funeral Services will be at 2:00 on Friday, January 19 at First United Methodist Church, 600 E. Okmulgee, Muskogee.
Funeral service arrangements are under the direction of Foster-Petering Funeral Home.
Published on January 16, 2018