A funeral honoring and remembering Samuel “Larry” Whiteley will be held 10 AM Friday, June 19, 2020 at the RiverCrest Chapel in Bixby. Interment will follow in Floral Haven Memorial Gardens. The family will receive visitors from 6-8 PM Thursday, also at RiverCrest. Larry passed away Sunday morning, June 14, 2020 at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa. He was 79.
Born November 24, 1940, in Broken Arrow, Larry was the son of A. Faye and Pauline (Blythe) Whiteley. His family owned the Whiteley Grocery Store and gas station where Larry had various jobs and chores; he would attend to throughout his childhood years. According to his sister, Jeannette, he was often caught sitting on top of the soda machine reading comic books. Larry thought it was one of his duties to read all the comic books that would come in, to make sure they were okay to sell. Larry and his sister, Jeannette, were always close to one another, especially since they were only 15 months apart. While in school, he played football, basketball and participated in the choir and band. Larry graduated from Broken Arrow High School with the class of 1960.
Larry met Novella McGlothlin while working at the grocery store when Novella came into the store to buy ice for homemade ice cream. A master negotiator, Larry always made sure Novella received her ice for free if he was invited for ice cream. Larry’s outgoing personality and Novella’s shyness made them the perfect couple. They were married on December 17, 1966, at the New Home Baptist Church in Coweta.
A sailor at heart, Larry served two years in the Navy Reserve while in high school, followed by a two-year commitment to honorable service in the United States Navy. Larry served aboard the U.S.S. Coral Sea (CVA-43) aircraft carrier. He especially loved the time he spent in Japan.
Larry briefly attended Northeastern State University and decided to follow his sister, Jeannette’s footsteps and completed beauty college with the aspiration of owning a beauty shop. His dream came true when he became the owner and proprietor of Mr. Samuel’s Beauty Shop. He was known for doing Beehives for the ladies in the late 60’s. He later decided that business was not for him anymore, so he moved on to other things. Larry became so efficient working on beauty shop equipment from various beauty shops that he established a successful repair business on the side called, Quality One Beauty and Barber Shop Equipment Repair.
One day Larry was introduced to the railroad industry while visiting with a railroad employee while pumping gasoline at the station. This led to a 32-year career with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Larry loved the stability, friendships, and organizational involvement with the unions. The friendships he built at Burlington Railroad was what he valued most and lasted up until the end of his life.
Fishing was certainly Larry’s favorite hobby and pastime. He competed in bass tournaments during his younger years and mostly fished for Crappie in retirement. He found so much enjoyment in crappie fishing in his retirement years and would even make his crappie jig lures.
Larry served on the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment with the City of Bixby. He was especially proud of his work getting the mountain goats to Lake Bixoma. Bixby will not soon forget Larry as a wonderful member of the community.
A big-time jokester, Larry never met a stranger and would always just go up to anyone and start a conversation. Social boundaries did not exist in the world of Larry Whiteley. Toward the end of his life, he was limited on his ability to go places, but he was content and never complained. He loved calling all his friends on the phone. Many times, he would call his family and friends daily. Never to talk too long but just see what people were up and to check in on them. He truly had a genuine interest in people and will be dearly missed by a host of family and friends who loved him.
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