Lifelong Links •  1960s  •  1970s  •  1980s  •  1990s  •  2000s  •  Associates  •  Obituaries


Dr. John Barnett, July 14, 1964-Nov. 24, 2002. John, a 1986 graduate, was killed in an automobile accident. He was a graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center. At the time of his death, he practiced cardiology and cardiology intervention at Southwest Cardiac Associates in Mesquite, Tex. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy (Vandenberg-A), and their three children.

Jan M. (Wollam) Mann, an associate alumna, died on June 12, 2001.

Michael “Ryan” Ramsey, July 11, 1975-Sept. 20, 2002. Ryan was a 1991 graduate. At the time of his death, he was the director of communications at Church on the Move in Tulsa. He is survived by his wife, Sarah (McGee-92) and other family members.

Barbara K. Thompson, age 40, died of cancer on Jan. 20, 2002. She is survived by her husband, Bill (Class of ’80), daughter Kristen, 12, and son Brian, 10. She was a 1982

Steve Wilkins, Dec. 18, 1950-Oct. 11, 2002. Steve died of cancer in Los Angeles, Calif. An associate alumnus (1968-71), Steve was the associate VP for Fremont Indemnity Insurance Company. He is survived by his mother, two brothers, his wife, Sue, and numerous friends and family members.

Sandra A. Williams, April 5, 1939-July 19, 2002. Sandra received her degree in business from ORU in 1998.

Dr. Herbert Yates, Jr., Dec. 5, 1949-Oct. 5, 2002. Herb died unexpectedly at his home in Kirksville, Mo. A 1972 graduate and former member of the Alumni Board of Directors, Herb received his doctor of osteopathy degree in 1977 from Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine. He had a private practice in Tulsa for several years. He was a full professor at two osteopathic colleges between 1981 and 2002. He is survived by his wife, Terri (Looney-74), son David, daughters Amanda, Deanna, and Tiffany, and other family


Dr. Alice Rasmussen, Jan. 27, 1931-Sept. 24, 2002. Dr. Rasmussen, former chairman of the modern languages department, taught Spanish at ORU from 1967 to 1992. She was also the international student advisor, and recruited more than 500 international students to come to ORU. A scholarship fund has been established at ORU in her memory. Contact Dr. Barbara Silvers for details.

Dr. Eugene Swearingen, Aug. 21, 1920-Nov. 17, 2002. Dr. Swearingen taught graduate business courses at ORU for 20 years. He was named to the Chair of Entrepreneurship in 1982, was dean of the College of Business from 1989 to 1995, and wrote and published “50 Keys to Success” in 1987. Swearingen, who once served as president of The University of Tulsa and as CEO and chairman of the board of the Bank of Oklahoma, earned two business degrees from Oklahoma State University and his doctorate from Stanford. He established the Ruth Swearingen Award (named for his mother) at ORU, which is given out annually to the university’s most outstanding faculty member. A scholarship account has been set up in Dr. Swearingen’s memory. For details, contact Dr. David Dyson.

Rev. Tommy Tyson, ORU’s first chaplain (1965-68), July 23, 1922-Dec. 5, 2002. Tyson earned his B.A. and M.Div. from Duke. Daughter Joyce, who cared for him in his last six months, said, “Although he was fragile in body in recent weeks — as was true when he could walk with a jig in his step, his spirit remained both strong and tender because he was ever cloaked in a ‘garment of praise and thanksgiving’ . . . What a privilege for me to see the ‘holiness of the Lord’ in human form 24/7!” Son Tom wrote, “Daddy had many wonderful ‘Oral stories’ and of their adventures in the healing ministry together, along with Bob DeWeese and Kenneth Copeland. Daddy was inspired by Oral. And I know that Oral was inspired by him. They were ‘soul buds’ of the best sort.”

Tyson’s successor, Dr. Robert Stamps (Brother Bob), described Tyson as “bigger than life. When he died, I asked, will the world keep turning without him? . . . He was never afraid of opinions contrary to his own, because he believed there was only one source of truth.

“I felt like a midget following a giant. I never tried to fill his shoes (at ORU). I just moved his shoes over in the closet.” Stamps said Tyson waited about three years to come back and speak in chapel after leaving, “to give me time and distance to become the chaplain of ORU in my own right . . . Tommy and I both agreed that the chaplain’s job at ORU was the greatest job in the world.”

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