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Gary Mark Stansell was born May 9, 1956 in Sterling, CO. He lived most of his boyhood in Sterling, Colorado and Kimball, Nebraska, moving to Oklahoma in January of 1965. He attended Lincoln Elementary and Norman High School. Gary died, August 3, 2015, at Cedar Creek Nursing Home in Norman after a short stay. His parents, Genevieve and Jack T. Stansell Sr. provided him with a loving home, moral background, wide experience, and unwavering support. Jack Sr. was an 8 year navy veteran (before and during WWII). Gary’s mother was one of the most kind and loving souls God ever created, working at OCCE for nearly 20 years. Jack Sr. worked for Hughes Tool Company as a younger man and the family travelled and lived in the mountain states during the 60’s oil boom.
Gary was a brother to me and a mentor to all. After moving to Norman, he worked at Griffin Memorial Hospital for many years and was acknowledged by clients and peers alike as instrumental in their development and one of the most ‘recovery minded’ individuals they had ever met. His passion was helping people, especially the mentally ill, and I am sure he will be fondly remembered by those that knew him.
His love was always his land and he retired to his own, “bought and paid for” piece of property several years ago to pursue “The Simple Life.” On his father’s side, his Great grandmother, Lila Tussy (nee Colbert) and his Great grandfather, Henry B. Tussy were respectively, the granddaughter of Winchester Colbert, chief of the Chickasaw during the Civil War and Grandpa Tussy was a cowboy who rode the Chisolm Trail. Grandfather Tussy founded a cattle ranch near Wild Horse Creek in OK, which prospered for many years, starting around 1876.
Gary’s ancestors owned slaves and he has a relative buried in a grave at a Confederate battlefield. Gary’s Great grandfathers’ on his mother’s side were Irish immigrants straight off the boat, who earned their citizenship fighting for the Union. In short, Gary was a Cowboy, and an Indian, White and Brown, Slave Owner and Emancipator, a recent immigrant and an ancient inhabitant of this continent. He believed, “all men and women are created equal, regardless, of race, creed, religion, or sexual orientation.” Eminent anthropologists say mankind originated in Africa. Gary was (and believed) all these things as his truth and much more: he knew he was exceptional- an American.
He is survived by his constant companion, Sherri Chilton; his brothers, Jack T. Stansell Jr. and Phil Spiesman of Vancouver WA., a sister-in law Jane C. Stansell (of Norman), as well as many friends: especially Jerry Giffin, of Norman, and David Willis, also of Norman.
Let us all dedicate ourselves to being true Americans in his honor and our own. No formal service will be held at his time according to his wishes. A gathering of his friends and invited guests will be held soon.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.