Edmond Synar passed away on Friday, October 28, 2016 after a short period of declining health. He was born on October 12, 1924, in Warner, OK. He was the 5th son of Frank Joe Synar and Adelaide Peterson. His three oldest brothers - Joe, Stanley, and Harry - were born in Harrah, OK, which was a thriving Polish community at the time, before the family moved to Warner, OK where Edmond and the two younger brothers - Steve and Val - were born.
Edmond and his family farmed along Dirty Creek outside of Warner. This led them to a lifelong love of 4-H. They participated in livestock judging and meat judging as well as many speech and demonstration contests where they won many awards. Several of them were State 4-H president including Edmond in 1942.
Edmond graduated from Warner High School in 1942. He always claimed that he did his homework on a shovel but only Ms. Davis, his favorite teacher at Lone Star School, would know for sure. He spent some of his senior year at Connors State College down the road when the school didn't have enough space.
In September, 1942, he entered Oklahoma A&M College (later OSU) where he met the love of his life Virginia Anne Gann of Hugo, OK. At their first Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity dance, he signed her entire dance card and told her that she would not be dancing with anyone else that night. If you knew Edmond, it was hard to say "no" to his charm.
But romance would have to wait. The Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor changed everything. Edmond was one of thousands of men who lined up to volunteer for duty. He enlisted on his birthday in 1943. He spent the next two years as a tail gunner on a B-24 airplane in the Army Air Force. Most men in that job never made it home alive. He served in southern Europe and Italy, flying 31 combat missions. He was awarded several medals - including the American Service Medal, Victory Medal, European Service Medal with 5 Bronze Battle Stars and Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal. Between the six brothers, the Marines, Army, Air Force, Navy and Merchant Marines were all represented. Unlike some other World War II brothers, all six Synar boys returned home alive. "Oh, our mother, I don't know how she put up with it," he once said.
In November, 1945, after his military discharge, Edmond returned to his studies at Oklahoma A&M College - and his romance with Virginia. They graduated together in 1948. He earned a bachelor's degree in Animal Husbandry and Agricultural Economics. On July 2nd of 1948, Edmond and Virginia were united in marriage at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Stillwater, OK with his brother Harry as his best man. Virginia passed away just before their 45th anniversary in June 1993.
After graduation, Edmond took a job as the Craig County Agent in Vinita, OK. On October 17, 1950, they welcomed their first child Michael, who would later serve 16 years as the U. S. Congressman from northeastern OK. In 1951, Edmond moved his young family to Memphis, TN to become the Service Director at Wilson Meat Packing Plant. They welcomed a daughter Edwyna in 1953, who later became a school teacher and administrator, and Alan in 1955, who had a distinguished career as the Presiding Municipal Judge in Edmond, OK for many years.
In 1963, the Wilson Plant closed and Edmond decided to return to his OK roots. He moved to Muskogee, OK where he joined his brothers Stanley and Steve in the real estate and ranching business established by Stanley in 1948. He became president of Eastern Oklahoma Land and Cattle Co. shortly thereafter. He held that position until he retired in September 2015.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Edmond became one of the premier 4-H speech and judging coaches. If you were a 4-Her in northeast OK, you were either coached by Edmond or had to compete against his students. His students repeatedly swept state and regional contests in livestock judging and meats judging. He would take four or five students to a speech contest - and they would sweep every award. Many of his students won national awards in record book keeping contests at 4-H Congress in Chicago, resulting in scholarships so they could attend college. Many of these students considered Edmond a second father. He often got Father's Day cards from them every year.
In 1971, the Edmond Synar family was selected the Nation's All American Family sponsored by Family Circle Magazine. They were featured in a 60 Minutes story with Mike Wallace. Muskogee celebrated with a parade in their honor.
In 1977, his son Michael decided to run for the U. S. Congress. Over the years, Edmond served as Mike's most important adviser in his political career. Every campaign had Edmond Synar at the center of the action. Mike served as the U. S. Congressman from the 2nd district of OK from 1978 to 1993. He died of cancer in 1996. For years after that, every Democratic political candidate that came through Muskogee would drop by to see Edmond - to get words of advice and encouragement.
The 1990s saw Edmond lose each of his older brothers - Stanley in 1998, Joe in 1999, Steve in 2000, and Harry in 2005. But in 2008, his beautiful great granddaughter Myriah came into his life. He loved spending time with her. They had a relationship that was hard to put into words.
Edmond was a long-time member of Grace Episcopal Church in Muskogee. He spent many joyous evenings in the company of his closest friends - Al Green, his roommate from college, and his wife Anita, as well as his friend Jane Hayworth. He also spent time managing his various ranches around the Muskogee area.
Edmond was a proud father and grandfather, a great husband, a true and loyal brother, and a father and friend to many. He is survived by his brother Valentino and wife Agnes of Talala, OK, daughter Edwyna and great granddaughter Myriah of Muskogee, granddaughter Elizabeth of Tulsa, daughter-in-law Lisa and grandson Clifford of Edmond, and granddaughter Lauren of Dallas. To him, there was no greater joy than family and good friends, and he will be sadly missed by all.
Edmond's family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff at The Springs for their love and care. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, James Smith VFW Post 15 or Grace Episcopal Church, both in Muskogee.
Friends may donate to Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, 205 4H Youth Development Bldg., Stillwater OK 74078. American Legion Post 15, Muskogee, OK 74401. Or Grace Episcopal Church 218 N. 6th Street Muskogee 74401.
Services will be held Friday, November 4, 2016 at 11:00a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church in Muskogee. Arrangements are being handled by Bradley Funeral Service. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery, west of Muskogee.
The family has entrusted Bradley Family Funeral Service with the arrangements.
Friends may send condolences to the family at www.bradleyfuneralservice.com
Published on November 2, 2016