Garry William Souders, 71, of Shawnee, passed away in his home surrounded by family on May 26, 2019.

Garry William Souders, 71, of Shawnee, passed away in his home surrounded by family on May 26, 2019.

Garry was born in Shawnee on Oct. 22, 1947, to Delbert James “Buck” Souders and Wanda Ilene (Yoder) Souders.

He was a graduate of Earlsboro High School and a proud member of the Class of 1965.

He married Carol Sue Parrish on Aug. 8, 1967, at Central Presbyterian Church in Shawnee and began raising his family.

After high school, Garry joined his twin-brother Larry in striping the new I-40 between Shawnee and Harrah and then attended Connors Junior College together.

He joined the Navy in 1967 as a seaman, serving on the USS Barney. He left the Navy as a Petty officer third class after three years of service. Garry graduated from Seminole Junior College in 1975 and then completed his education at Central State University with a degree in photojournalism, incorporating his family into a series of beautiful black-and-white photographs. Garry started his career at Tinker Air Force base in 1970, where he proudly worked for over 30 years, rising to the position of Chief of Grounds Safety, for which he was awarded multiple honors and accolades from Colonels and Generals. He retired at the age of 55, after which he spent a few years as a safety consultant for CACI International. His co-workers were like a second family to him.

Garry was a force of creativity. An avid and passionate artist, he painted masterpieces, which he loved to give to his family and friends. He was a voracious reader and a bibliophile, collecting books and for a time running his own bookstore with his family, the Oklahoma Bookmine. Garry enjoyed the stage and appeared in many performances at the Shawnee Little Theatre. He was a proud member of Mensa and a talented writer, writing poetry and short stories. You could frequently find Garry dancing and singing along to the music of Neil Diamond and Queen and he never missed a chance to make others laugh and smile. Garry continued being a sailor-at-heart and enjoyed sailing his boats on the lakes of Oklahoma with his sons. He was deeply spiritual and was a dedicated member of United Presbyterian Church of Shawnee and loved his church family. Garry was a gifted gardener, particularly of his prized okra. As a child, he loved attending Ed Mac’s Sac and Fox powwow NE of Shawnee and working on the family farm in the river sands of Johnson.

He was a devoted and loving husband to his wife Carol and enjoyed traveling, antique shopping, and taking cruises with her. Together they served as presidents of the Shawnee Band Parents Association for several years. Garry was extremely proud of his five children and could often be found taking them fishing, camping, coaching baseball, flying model airplanes, working on science-fair projects, golfing, attending band concerts, graduations, plays, writing Stop ‘n’ Go stories for his daughter, and being a grandpa to his grandchildren.

Garry was a colorful storyteller and some of his favorite topics were his children, grandchildren, his years at Tinker, being in the Navy, his travels, his brief stint as an OG&E meter-reader, his twin-brother and sisters and mom and dad, his extended family of cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends, and growing up in Johnson, Oklahoma. Many of these stories could be heard around the kitchen table at Buck and Wanda’s house, playing cards, drinking coffee, and laughing with his family every Sunday. He loved people and was generous to a fault. Larry counts him as the best twin-brother ever.

On Feb. 1, 2018, Garry married Mary Kegley at a private ceremony in Arkansas. Garry immensely loved opening his home and his heart to Mary and her grandchildren. He enjoyed attending Earlsboro reunions with Mary and visiting family in Oklahoma with her.

Garry was a dedicated father, grandfather, husband, son, nephew, uncle, and brother.

He is survived by his wife Mary Souders (Kegley) of Shawnee; son Garrson Souders and daughter-in-law Kristy Gilbert of Edmond; son Jeremy Souders and daughter-in-law Dora Lou of Macau, China; son Aaron Souders and daughter-in-law Rhonda Souders of Oklahoma City; son John Souders of Oklahoma City; and daughter Juliette Souders and partner Joey Monroe of Oklahoma City; stepson Chris Kieffer of Earlsboro; stepdaughter Misty Roden of Tecumseh; grandchildren Kennedy Souders, Bristol Souders, Madeleine Souders, Esmé Souders, Braedan Kieffer, Conner Brianna Lynn Kieffer, Allanah Beal, and great-granddaughter Aubrey Lynn Beal; twin-brother Larry Souders and sister-in-law Tammy Souders of Stillwater; sister Regina McAfee and brother-in-law and best-friend William McAfee; and sister Cindy Chancellor and brother-in-law Kelly Chancellor of Shawnee, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and close friends.

Garry is preceded in death by his wife Carol Sue Souders, parents Buck and Wanda Souders, and his beloved dog, Fluffy.

A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, June 1, at 11 a.m., at Johnson Church of God, 46209 Garrett's Lake Rd, Shawnee, OK 74804, with a dinner immediately following at the church.