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Governor Raymond Dancel Gary, 1955-1959

by Leonard D. McMurry

Commissioned by the Oklahoma State Legislature
Dimensions: 25 height
Dedicated 1982

Governor Raymond Dancel Gary, 1955-1959 by Leonard D. McMurry

The Artwork

Raymond Dancel Gary was the first Governor to be born in Oklahoma after statehood. His birth date was January 21, 1908, and he was born on a farm midway between Madill and Kingston. He was educated in the local schools and Southeastern State College. After five years of teaching, he was elected County Superintendent of Schools and served for four years. In 1936, he began his business career, first in school and office supplies, later as President of the Sooner Oil Company. He was a State Senator from 1941 until he became Governor on January 10, 1955. He died on December 11, 1993 and is buried in Madill.

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, Leonard 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.