A memorial service honoring and remembering Stephen Tucker Goforth will be live streamed 10 AM Thursday, May 7, 2020 at Southtulsa.live. The family will receive visitors from 5-8 PM Wednesday at Bixby Funeral Service. Attendance in person will be restricted due to Covid-19 guidelines and recommendations.
To Live is Christ -
Stephen Tucker Goforth was 60 years old when he went home to be with the Lord on May 1st, 2020. He lived in Tulsa, OK, and passed away in a tragic accident while working at his ranch near Chelsea, Oklahoma.
Stephen was born on November 9th, 1959, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Doris Ann Goforth and Willard “Tuffy” Goforth. He spent most of his younger years in Stanton, VA before heading off to college at Oklahoma Baptist University. He received a Bachelor of Music Education from OBU. He went on to earn a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from Florida State University and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Oklahoma.
Stephen loved the outdoors. From the very beginning of his life, he could be found in nature. As often as he had the chance, he would find the opportunity to enjoy God’s creation. An avid fisherman, he could compete with the best of anglers with home-grown wisdom and a savvy eye for prime fishing holes. He was a master hunter, leading so many others to the thrill of harvesting an animal. Beyond the sport, he found joy in simply being out in the wilderness—the further from cell signal, the better – just him enjoying his God. If there was an opportunity to be outside, he took it. The family ranch was perhaps Stephen’s favorite place to be. The square mile of land represented many trips, countless hours of projects, and fellowship. He loved to bring friends and family to enjoy the property, to catch and eat fish, and to check out from the world.
Stephen loved music. He was an exemplary musician, receiving accolades of all kinds over many years. He was an expert trumpet player, a jack-of-all-trades in terms of style and ability. Stephen warmed many hearts with his brilliant, yet personal performances. He performed in thousands of programs ranging from solo recitals to nursing home dinners. He played with church orchestras, full big bands, symphonies, small and large ensembles, and everything in between. He collaborated with too many great musicians to list, the likes of Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby McFerrin, and many others. He was most recently the principal trumpet player for both the Signature Symphony in Tulsa and the Bartlesville Community Orchestra. He was also a tremendous educator, teaching at Oklahoma Baptist University and Oklahoma City University, leading regular masterclasses and clinics for hundreds of programs and working with countless private students. Much of his greatest joy was in his broad studio of music students – he loved them dearly and considered teaching them a ministry. Stephen’s musical heritage lives on in his many compositions, recordings, and in the music of countless colleagues that shared the beautiful craft with him.
Stephen loved people. He embodied the heart of discipleship. Each of his activities was for the betterment of others. He took many a young man or family under his wing to offer encouragement and guidance. He ‘adopted’ so many older families, building a remarkable group of ‘parents.’ He was like a father to so many students through his time as an educator. His ear was always prepared, his phone was always on, and his door was always open to welcome in whoever needed it most. He was always ready with a joke, a story, an encouragement, or all three at once. He lived out the desire to lay down his life for others – each breath was to serve. With just a quick interaction, strangers became friends and friends became family. His humor, tidbits of wisdom, and practical advice will last in the hearts and habits of his many connections.
Stephen loved his family. He loved his dear wife, Sharon, for 35 years. He was fiercely loyal to her and cared for her in such a beautiful, respectful way. He truly embodied the model Scripture describes: he loved her as Christ loved the church and laid his life down for her. He modeled that relationship for his two sons, demonstrating how to protect, serve, and cherish a spouse. He was the best father anyone could ask for, raising his children well in their youth so that he could be their friend through life. He constantly expressed his great pride in his boys and their spouses, lifting them and spurring them toward greatness. He was also a proud and tender Papa, bursting at the seams with love for his grandson, quick to share the latest development with photographic evidence. He was a loving sibling, proud, and supportive of his brother and sister. He was a model son, caring for his parents through their years, a comfort to his mother, and a steadfast work and play partner for his father.
Stephen loved the Lord. His life was for the glory of Christ, and his blood, sweat, and tears were all for that purpose. His enjoyment of the outdoors was to celebrate God’s creation. His passion for music was to proclaim God’s greatness, using the voice with which he was gifted. His care for others was a reflection of the love he had been shown through Jesus Christ in the hope of showing the way to redemption. His love for his family was based on the bond of Christ, knowing that fellowship will continue with God for eternity. He would often say that he didn’t want to be remembered for anything he did. He would say that his passing friends and family shouldn’t think “what a great man” but “what a great God he served.” To die is truly gain - he is now rejoicing with his God and King in a holy union that he lived to point to.
It may seem like hyperbole to describe Stephen in such a glowing way, but he was truly remarkable. The breadth of his impact is difficult to comprehend, as he was involved in so much with so many. He was always running and never slowed down. As we remember Stephen’s life fondly, we do so with hope. He was a treasure and a joy to all who knew him, and his legacy will extend through many generations to come.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Stephen Tucker Goforth, please visit our floral store.
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