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Oklahoma Philanthropists

Hear and learn from the oral histories of Oklahoma's most influential philanthropists and how their giving has shaped the growth and success of Oklahoma.

Learn From These Influential Oklahomans

Boone Pickens

Boone Pickens

Oilman & Philanthropist

Hard work, intuition and the nerve to take a chance describe T. Boone Pickens. A household name to the nation, Pickens is first an Oklahoman. His story ranges from earning …

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Charles Page

Charles Page

Philanthropist

Charles Page was an important figure in the early history of Oklahoma and Tulsa. His most lasting act was the creation of the Sand Springs Home for orphans and widows. …

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Ed Taylor

Ed Taylor

Communications Pioneer

Ed Taylor grew up in Camden, N.J., the son of an RCA executive making the Taylor Family the first on the block to have television. After Taylor graduated from high …

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Gene Rainbolt

Gene Rainbolt

Banker & Philanthropist

H.E. (Gene) Rainbolt acquired his first bank, the First American Bank in Purcell in 1962. In 1965 he acquired Federal National Bank in Shawnee, and two years later he and …

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H. Allen Chapman

H. Allen Chapman

Philanthropists

H. Allen Chapman was the son of Tulsa philanthropists James A. and Leta Chapman. He married Mary Kathryn Lancaster in 1960. She graduated from The University of Tulsa and worked …

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Henry R. Kravis

Henry R. Kravis

Investor & Philanthropist

Tulsa native Henry R. Kravis co-founded the global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and is the Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer. The firm pioneered the development of the management buyout. …

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Henry Zarrow

Henry Zarrow

Businessman & Philanthropist

Henry Zarrow, Mr. Henry, as he is affectionately known to most, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin February 12, 1916. He was the first son of Sam and Rose Zarrow, immigrant …

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Larry Nichols

Larry Nichols

Oilman & Philanthropist

Devon Energy is a leading independent energy company engaged primarily in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil. The company’s operations are concentrated in various North American …

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Lloyd Noble

Lloyd Noble

Oilman & Philanthropist

Lloyd Noble was the second of three children born to Samuel Roberts and Hattie Edith Skinner Noble. He was born in Ardmore, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, on November 30, 1896. …

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Lynn Schusterman

Lynn Schusterman

Philanthropist

Lynn Schusterman was born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in Oklahoma City. She first learned about philanthropy from her father. As she listened and watched him she was impressed …

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Margery Mayo Bird

Margery Mayo Bird

Philanthropist

The Mayo hotel was her father’s hotel. Co-founded in the 1920s by Tulsa businessman John D. Mayo and his brother Cass, The Mayo Hotel was the place where all of …

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Maxine Zarrow

Maxine Zarrow

Philanthropist

Maxine Foreman Zarrow was born June 16, 1925 Wichita Falls, Texas. She attended the University of Texas where she met her eventual husband Jack Zarrow and moved to Tulsa when …

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Peggy Helmerich

Peggy Helmerich

Hollywood Starlet

When Peggy Josephine Varnadow was signed by Universal Pictures in 1949, the public relations staff whittled down her name to the barest essentials, and thus Peggy Dow was born. Born …

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Randy Foutch

Randy Foutch

Entrepreneurial Oilman

Randy A. Foutch fits the bill as an entrepreneurial oilman. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Geology at the University of Texas …

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Ray Ackerman

Ray Ackerman

Philanthropist

Since he arrived in Oklahoma City from Pennsylvania in 1947, Ray Ackerman has given of his time and talent to one project after another and one organization after another. His …

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Ray Feldman

Ray Feldman

Community Leader

The son of Latvian immigrants, Ray Feldman was born January 10, 1922, and grew up in Tulsa. After graduating high school and attending the University of Tulsa and University of …

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Thomas Gilcrease

Thomas Gilcrease

Oilman and Philanthropist

Born in 1890, Thomas Gilcrease was the oldest of fourteen children and learned the value of hard work early in his youth. As a boy, he loved to read—a hobby …

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Walter Helmerich

Walter Helmerich

Oilman & Philanthropist

Walter Hugo Helmerich III was planning to be a teacher. Those plans changed in 1950 when he met the Hollywood actress Peggy Dow at an opening night party of Gentlemen …

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William Vandever

William Vandever

Vandevers Department Store

In the 50’s all things big and small could be found at the store with everything. Vandevers was the go-to department store located at 16 E. 5th Street in Tulsa. …

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