Born November 8, 1944, in Little Rock, Arkansas, Phillip L. Hart was the son of John Andrew and Eleanor Gene (Farrell) Hart. “Phil”, as he would become known, was welcomed by an elder sister, Dianne. The two would later enjoy having a younger sister, Becky.
When Phil was a toddler, the Hart family made a move from Little Rock to Tulsa as his father’s job required. It was at that time that Mr. Hart was working for the Corps of Engineers and was transferred. This meant that Phil’s formative years would be spent in the Tulsa area where he was described as a bit mischievous, possibly even categorized as a troublemaker, at times, and gave cause to question the legality of some of his actions and involvements – of course along with many of his friends.
Attending Tulsa schools, Phil completed Jr. High at Roosevelt and was a 1963 graduate of Central High School - much to the surprise of some and as his report cards corroborated. Phil was proud that, while in high school, he was coached by the great, Eddie Sutton. This, as Coach Sutton’s first job, out of school, was at Central High, Tulsa. There, he was Phil’s golf coach. Phil also wrestled in high school and even earned a spot at the State tournament.
Following high school, Phil worked for a few different companies while attending The University of Tulsa. He worked briefly on the railroad, was in property management, but ultimately pursued his passion of aviation when he attended and completed training at Spartan School of Aeronautics. Phil would also join the United States Army completing basic training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. He continued serving through the Army Reserves for several years.
Landing a job with the Oklahoma Credit Union League, Phil found himself living in the Oklahoma City area. There, he was quite successful in helping to establish numerous credit unions throughout the State, but his greatest accomplishment, while living there, was meeting a beautiful, young woman, Ms. Johnnie Lou Bragg. It was happenstance that two found each other – both out with their own friends. Phil expressed some interest in Johnnie and, despite any reluctance, he was able to receive her telephone number. It wasn’t Johnnie who gave that to him, but one of her friends. This friend must have recognized the spark between the two. The rest is history. Phil and Johnnie would be celebrating 54 years of marriage together this November!
Phil and Johnnie would make a move to Tulsa in the late 1960’s as Phil gained employment with Tulsa Teacher’s Credit Union. He then became the Manager of Tulsa Municipal Credit Union and then second-in-command, only behind his father, at Tulsa Federal Employees Credit Union. Quite the privilege to serve alongside his father who had been the CEO since the credit union’s inception, Phil would quickly take the helm when his father passed away unexpectedly. Phil would work for over thirty years, in that stead, retiring in 2010.
A wonderful businessman, Phil operated under the principles, “Is it fair? Is it right? Is it honest?” Other colleagues or professionals, within his circles, may have been more qualified than Phil or at the very least their degrees would indicate, but Phil’s moral compass was hard to beat. He valued experience over degrees and always kept that in mind when hiring and building his team. Phil belonged to many organizations. Some of those organizations related to his career included: Credit Union Executives Society, Tulsa Credit Counseling and Callahan & Associates.
When Phil was away from work, he had a number of hobbies. His greatest of which was pursuing his passion of aviation. Not only was he a pilot, but, in 1977, he partnered with Mallie Norton and purchased Gundy’s Airport in Owasso. Along with this, he became a member of the Quiet Birdmen, Tulsa Hangar, the Experimental Aviation Association, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. When he wasn’t flying or planning a flight where his arrival included hunting, fishing, or shooting, you better believe that Phil was chasing those interests locally! Fascinated with black powder and muzzle loading, in earlier days, Phil built his own muzzleloader with the help of friends. This then led him to enjoy shooting single shot rifles and spurred him on to participate in shooting competitions both locally and nationally. Phil even helped to establish the Tulsa Schuetzen Verien and was instrumental in running the matches for more than 30 years. He was also a member of the Oil Capital Rod and Gun Club and was instrumental in establishing their current location. When the club formed a Board of Directors to govern the club, Phil served as the first President. Other interests, through the years, included camping, traveling, playing golf, playing cards, and later in life he was absolutely consumed with beekeeping.
It has been said of Phil that one could not find a more interesting man. He was fun, colorful, determined, ornery, and never met a stranger. He was also loyal, friendly, serious (when he needed to be) and was a man of integrity. Phil was a community minded man who enjoyed his involvement with the Downtown Tulsa Rotary club and Nature Works, Tulsa and giving back in numerous other ways. He was also heavily involved in Freemasonry since 1976 and joined the Royal Order of Jesters in 1991, serving as their Treasurer for several years. He made many wonderful friends through these endeavors and activities and was proud when his son followed in his footsteps.
The impact that Phil’s life made is far reaching and likely impossible to measure. His greatest joy was that of his family. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and son. He was also a wonderful friend to many. Phil will no doubt be greatly missed, but his legacy will continue through the lives of those he impacted. He is survived by: his loving wife of nearly 54 years, Johnnie; his children: son, Alan Hart and wife, Kyla and daughter, Jamie Hart; grandchildren: John and Katelyn Hart; sisters: Dianne Gray and husband, Troy and Becky Sue Considine and husband, Tim. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews along with other family members and dear friends.
He was preceded in death by: his parents and an infant granddaughter, Faith Lakota American Horse.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Akdar's Shrine Temple's Transportation Fund 2808 S. Sheridan Tulsa, OK 74129 www.akdarshrine.org
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Phillip Lucian Hart, please visit our floral store.