Anthony Ray Stockton
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Anthony Ray Stockton
Anthony Ray Stockton was born on November 8, 1942 in Muskogee, OK and passed peacefully from this life in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 21, 2018 with loved ones by his side. Tony was the youngest of ten children and spent his childhood years near the banks of the Arkansas River at Gooseneck Bend. He was born into a family of sharecroppers with a father who farmed daily, making White Lightening on the side and a mother who worked from daylight to dark cooking and caring for the family and farm help. Tony was so tiny when he was born, his mother kept him in a shoebox and a light was placed overhead to keep him warm. He would make extra spending money by trapping rabbits and selling the hide and meat at the market. He would also help his dad round up cows by running and barking like a dog. This is the reason he said he was able to bark so well, as many of you have heard way too often. He would take 10 cents to town on Saturdays from his earnings which was enough to see a short movie and buy a drink. His mama was so proud of him and would dress him up on Saturday mornings for her weekly trip to town. He never could stand those shorts and suspenders she made him wear and from that point forward didn't like dress clothes. Tony was always proud to be an Okie from Muskogee.
Tony attended a one room school house and would arrive early to help his teacher, Mose Blackard. One of his jobs was to gather the wood for the stove to heat up the room for his classmates. Sometimes Mr. Blackard would give him an apple and he would eat the entire thing, including the seeds, a practice he continued the rest of his life. He was able to brag how he had graduated at the top of his 8th grade class because he was the only one in it. Although Tony was a good student, he would occasionally get sent home because he was pitching pennies at school. When his sister Jeanne would tell his mama what he'd done, she would refuse to believe that Tony could possibly do anything wrong. Being a musician herself, his mama loved to watch him play the accordion she'd bought him with money she'd saved. As he grew older, he enjoyed working on cars and collecting arrowheads. Dinnertime would sometimes include so many people, they'd have to take turns sitting at the table. Because of this, Tony learned to eat his desserts first in order to ensure he'd get one, which was another habit he continued throughout his life.
Tony attended NSU and OSU, graduating with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Accounting. In the summer of 1961, he met Ruth Ann Boatright and they began a relationship that lasted 53 years until her passing in February of this year. He missed her dearly. Tony served in the National Guard during the Vietnam War and was proud to wave the American flag 'til the day he died. He carried a deep respect for all military personel. In the business world, Tony was known as a trusted and respected banker in the community, beginning at Commercial Finance in Muskogee, moving to Liberty State Bank and continuing his career at First National Bank where he became President and CEO. Upon his passing, he was President at Bank of Cherokee County in Tahlequah and President and CEO of Fort Gibson State Bank. There are many stories of his kindness and compassion as he worked with people to help them make the most of their finances in order to take care of themselves and their families.
Tony loved Tahlequah and thoughtfully served as mayor from 1977-1985. He was involved in many improvements including the addition of Tahlequah City Hospital and a new addition to the Tahlequah Public Library. He served on the Tahlequah Public Works Board for many years and was known in the community as someone to go to when you needed advice or a helping hand with no concern being too big or too small. If a friend, family member or stranger was concerned, then so was Tony. He was forgiving, nonjudgmental and spoke positively of people. Even when someone would treat him poorly, he would somehow try to understand them from their perspective.
Much of Tony's life was dedicated to his career but he also spent many years coaching little league baseball, softball and soccer teams. He liked to treat the kids to pizza, win or lose. He enjoyed vacations with his family, spending time on the farm, raising cattle, the smell of fresh cut hay, burning brush, singing and making up songs, drawing and will be missed dearly for his storytelling. His favorite thing in the world was spending time with his grandchildren Joe, Ben, Elli Rose and Mallory. They filled his heart like nothing else.
Tony is preceded in death by his parents, Oda and Effie Stockton, wife Ruth Ann Stockton, brothers Carl Stockton, Orville Stockton, Doyle Stockton, Cleo Stockton, Don Stockton, sisters June Brassfield, and Hazel Norman. He is survived by his children Dr. Darin Stockton, M.D. of OKC, Mindy Hendrix of Tahlequah, grandchildren Joe Stockton Hendrix, Ben Christopher Hendrix, Elli Rose Hendrix and Mallory Semrow of Tahlequah, son Dusty Peck of OKC, brother Bobby Stockton and wife Giner of Muskogee, sister Jeanne Treadway and husband Jim of Muskogee and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and loved ones.
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