Charles Ford, Oklahoma’s longest serving Republican state legislator, dies at age 90 💥👩👩💥

TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – A beloved, highly accomplished stalwart of the Oklahoma Legislature has died, according to a statement from Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole.

Former State Senator Charles Ford. Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Senate website.

Charles Ford, Oklahoma’s longest serving Republican legislator, died at age 90.

“I learned of Senator Ford’s passing with a heavy heart. He was a colleague, a personal friend and a great Oklahoman who served our state with great integrity, skill and decency over the course of a long and distinguished career in the Oklahoma Legislature,” Cole said. “Charles Ford was a visionary Oklahoma leader who served our state and his party with distinction, honor, integrity and great professionalism. He was the greatest Republican legislator of his era and probably in the history of Oklahoma.”

Ford was born in Tulsa on Aug. 2, 1931. He went on to have a prolific and distinguished career in the Oklahoma Legislature.

The State Senate adopted a resolution on May 12, 2004, expressing gratitude to Ford for his service to the state. Ford served in the legislature for 38 years, 23 in the Senate and 15 in the House of Representatives, according to the resolution.

“Charles Ford was a visionary Oklahoma leader who served our state and his party with distinction, honor, integrity and great professionalism. He was the greatest Republican legislator of his era and probably in the history of Oklahoma,” Cole said.

One of Ford’s great passions and contributions to the state was his efforts toward helping restore the State Capitol.

“I’ve visited 38 Capitols over the years, some are more opulent than ours is, but there’s none more beautiful than ours is at this present time,” Ford said in an interview with KFOR in 2013.

The Senate honored Ford in 2014 for his historic preservation work at the State Capitol – restoring the Senate Chamber and other areas of the Capitol to their original architectural design – as well as for his work gathering an important art collection to adorn the Capitol building, according to the Oklahoma Senate website.

“Senator Charles Ford has long recognized the importance of maintaining and preserving the beauty, the history and the architectural integrity of the People’s House so that it can be a source of pride for our state,” said Brian Bingman, who served as President Pro Tempore of the Senate at the time. “Everything he has done has enhanced the Capitol. This really is his legacy and it will be enjoyed by Oklahomans and other visitors to the Capitol for perpetuity.”

Cole’s full statement on Ford’s death is as follows:

“I learned of Senator Ford’s passing with a heavy heart. He was a colleague, a personal friend and a great Oklahoman who served our state with great integrity, skill and decency over the course of a long and distinguished career in the Oklahoma Legislature.

Both my late mother, Helen Cole, and I had the privilege of serving with Senator Charles Ford in the Oklahoma State Senate. And during my tenure as Secretary of State and Chief Legislative Liaison for Governor Frank Keating, Charlie Ford was an invaluable ally, wise counselor and critical voice in moving Oklahoma forward.

Senator Ford was respected on both sides of the aisle and brokered many a deal between the two parties in the Oklahoma Legislature. Everyone who served with him respected his wisdom and wit. Charlie made his points with a home spun humor that made legislators laugh and pushed them toward making the deals necessary to move the state forward.

No one loved and revered the Oklahoma Legislature as an institution and a fraternity more than my friend, Senator Ford. He founded and served as president of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Fund, Inc. When my mother passed, Senator Ford helped me to secure the funding for an appropriate memorial — a portrait of my mother’s revered Aunt Te Ata, the famous Chickasaw artist and storyteller, painted in the 1920’s. It now is permanently displayed at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Charles Ford was a visionary Oklahoma leader who served our state and his party with distinction, honor, integrity and great professionalism. He was the greatest Republican legislator of his era and probably in the history of Oklahoma.

We have lost a great Oklahoman and I have lost a wonderful mentor, trusted advisor and dear friend. I will miss Charlie Ford. Oklahoma will miss him even more.”

CONGRESSMAN TOM COLE

Charles Ford, Oklahoma’s longest serving Republican state legislator, dies at age 90

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