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Oklahoma Arts CouncilOklahoma Arts Council

Governor Roy Joseph Turner

by Leonard D. McMurry

Bronze
Dimensions:
Commissioned by the Oklahoma State Legislature
Dedicated 1982
Second Floor: Hall of Governors

Governor Robert Samuel Kerr by Leonard D. McMurry

The Artwork

Roy Joseph Turner was born November 6, 1894, in Lincoln County, Oklahoma Territory. Upon completion of his high school education, he attended Hill's Business College in Oklahoma City. He was a bookkeeper for Morris Parking Company in Oklahoma City from 1911-1915; a salesman for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company there and after his service in World War I, he was a dealer in real estate, principally in Oklahoma, Florida and Texas. By 1928, he established the Turner Ranch at Sulphur, but he maintained a residence in Oklahoma City where he served on the Board of Education from 1939 to 1946. His term as Governor of Oklahoma was from January 13, 1947, to January 8, 1951. He lived in Oklahoma City until his death June 11, 1973 and is buried in Rose Hill Burial Park.

The Artist

Known as Oklahoma's own "Michelangelo," Leonard McMurry was born to a family of prominent cotton farmers in the Texas panhandle. McMurry moved to Oklahoma in 1955 and then lived in Stilwell and Oklahoma City. Under the teachings of sculptors Carl Mose and Ivan Mestrovic, McMurry perfected his craft. His magnificent sculptures of Oklahoma icons can be seen across the state including the '89er statue on Couch Drive in Oklahoma City and the Praying Hands that grace the lawns of Oral Roberts University.

In accordance with Oklahoma's Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1982, McMurry was commissioned to sculpt busts of 21 past Oklahoma Governors. The Hall of Governors exudes Oklahoman's pride in her past legislative guardians. Regarding his works, McMurry states, "Each piece must have a soul, a living quality that's far more important than just physical representation. A piece has to have guts: the strength, power, and dignity, that makes it a monument." McMurry has accomplished that very feat within the grandiose Hall of Governors in which visitors may come face to face with naturalistic representation of Oklahoma leaders.