Lee's Story

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Lee Thomas "Tom" Upchurch, longtime educator, died Monday, January 2, 2017 in Woodward. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 7, 2017 in the First Baptist Church with Dr. Russell Duck officiating. Interment will follow in the Elmwood Cemetery with the Billings Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Lee Thomas Upchurch was born on September 12, 1928 in McQueen, Oklahoma, the son of Lee Royal and Etha Belle (Garrett) Upchurch. He started school in Lahoma a country school in southwest Oklahoma and graduated from Gould High School, Tom received his Bachelor of Science degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and received a Masters Degree in Administration from Oklahoma State University.

Tom was married to Bennie "Ruth" Garton, on May 29, 1951 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They made their residence in Colorado Springs; Ft. Riley, Kansas; Oklahoma City; Weatherford; Tyrone and Woodward. He entered the U.S. Army in November 1950, and obtained the rank of Tech Sergeant and was discharged in January 1952. Tom taught math from 1957 to 1958 in the Woodward school, was a counselor from 1959 to 1966 and from 1966 to 1986, he served as Principal of the Junior High. Tom retired from the Woodward School System as Principal of the Woodward Junior High School in 1986.

Tom was a member of the First Baptist Church where he served as Deacon. Tom was a member of the OSSA, Retired Teachers and he helped organize the First Youth Shelter. He was also a past board member of the Plains Indians and Pioneer Museum. He loved to restore old tractors and cars. He enjoyed camping; golfing and belonged to the Lions Club and several Education Associations. Tom loved his grandchildren, and going to see their sporting events.

He is survived by his wife Ruth of 66 years; two sons, Mike Upchurch and wife Kathryn of Woodward; Mark Upchurch and wife Tammy of Mustang; two daughters Karen Bowden and husband Tad of McAlester; Karla Trumbull and husband Gary of Moore; two sisters, Marie Gregg of Kansas City,Missouri ; Wilma Harris of Wichita Falls, Texas; sister-in-law, Faye Upchurch of Woodville, Texas; nine grandchildren, Tanner and Taylor Upchurch; Marissa Upchurch; Amy and Dustin Penland; Hailee and Colin Trumbull; Taylor Burnett and Barrett Storm; 16 great-grandchildren, Samara, Ava, Alexis, Kristen , Rachel, Malakai, Dalton, Lyric, Ally, RJ, Abbey, Sofey, Nelley, Kamden, Brayson, and Brooks.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Dorothy and one brother Lawrence.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the First Baptist Church Bell Restoration Project.

Remembrances may be made at www.billingsfuneralhomewoodward.com
Published on January 4, 2017
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