Stillwater News Press

February 26, 2014

Dwight G. Rymer

Stillwater NewsPress

— Dwight Gordon Rymer was born in Weatherford on March 5, 1924, the fourth of five children to John Isaac (Ike) and Viola (Mosburg) Rymer. His dad was an auctioneer, bought and sold mules for the U.S. Army, served as the under-sheriff of Roger Mills County and later bought a farm on the edge of town and ran a dairy with milk delivery to the Cheyenne area.

Dwight graduated Cheyenne High School in 1942. After winning five first-place ribbons for five track events, he was pretty excited, but even though he was 6-foot-2, he didn’t enjoy basketball. When Dwight was 16, his father passed away. His brothers operated the Rymer Dairy. Eventually, they had Phone Number 3. He attended college at Oklahoma Agriculture and Mechanical College (now Oklahoma State University) majoring in agriculture and attending ROTC classes. When he turned 18, he volunteered for active duty with the U.S. Army and left for boot camp one week later, two weeks before the end of the semester. Then, he joined the occupied forces in Europe. He was wounded twice and taken prisoner by the Germans in Luxembourg and Belgium’s “Battle of the Bulge.” Marching as a group toward prison camp, he escaped with another soldier by jumping under a bridge and walking over the mountains into Belgium. Later, he was stationed in Paris. At Western Maryland College school of engineering, he took classes until the Army gave him an honorable discharge. He was awarded many awards, decorations and a commendation for his service.

In 1946, he came home to help with the family dairy and took classes at Southwestern State College (now Southwestern University) in Weatherford. That’s when he met Mary Janice Thorp and married her on Aug. 8, 1948, in Cheyenne where they lived in a duplex across from the courthouse. He taught veteran’s agriculture classes in Cheyenne.

Dwight and Mary took turns finishing college until he completed his bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture education and master’s degree in science and business administration. Mary had a master’s degree in business education with teaching fields in home economics, music, English and business. Their first child, Gary Wayne, was born but he only lived a couple of weeks.

In 1954, the family sold the dairy farm when Dwight became the agriculture teacher in Putnam and Mary was teaching business in Seiling. Then daughter Peggy was born in Cheyenne. They lived and taught in Putnam for five years. Then they both were hired at Billings Public School, where they had teaching jobs for five more years. Daughter Lenel was born in Cheyenne (Dr. Buster was the doctor there) while living in Billings.

In the summer of 1961, Dwight bought the bank in Morrison. They had to build a home since there was nothing for rent or sale. It had been 20 years since the last home was built in Morrison. Mary drew the blueprints for the house and Cy Condit, Harvey Harting and a few other locals began construction while Dwight lived on the second floor of the old bank building and Mary and the girls lived in Billings. When Dwight was in a terrible car accident, he spent weeks in the hospital with a crushed left leg and left arm. He was wheelchair-bound for months. He could no longer get upstairs at the old bank, so they moved into their unfinished home. It took four years to complete, but it continues to be their wonderful family home.

Dwight worked hard to learn the banking business, working with three employees. He had many friends who were bankers, and they gave him sound advice. And so the bank grew and grew. Mary drew blueprints for a new bank building to be built across the street. The blueprints included a large gathering room and kitchen for bank and community meetings and activities, as well as a new post office. Dwight didn’t want a private office, because he wanted to be the first person to see the customers when they entered the bank. He wanted to greet each one personally. When it rained, the farmers and friends came to the bank for free coffee and to visit. The Citizens State Bank of Morrison was the hub of the community. The new drive-thru window wasn’t used until Dwight retired in 2001.

In 1961, there were 219 students and 12 teachers at Morrison’s school, so Dwight and Garland LaFollette came up with a plan to finance and build homes on the west side of town.

This action enticed 94 more families to move in, increasing school enrollments. Soon the town of Morrison began to prosper, but more improvements were needed. Before the City Council was established, getting new water sources, water lines, sewer lines, sewer lagoon and paved streets to accommodate the population increase required money, grants and municipal bonds. Dwight, a few political friends and many interested members of the community helped to achieve these goals. Later Meadowpark Estates was established with 110 more homes on the Noble-Payne county line, Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park with about 20 lots and a 60-lot mobile home park called Ranch Acres near Stillwater. All of these additions were located within the Morrison School District.

Over the years, and after he was proficient as a community banker, Dwight, with a few other banker friends, bought and sold more than 13 other small-town banks in Oklahoma and Kansas. Most of these banks were in financial turmoil and about to be closed by examiners. He found new presidents and was on the board of directors of several of them for many years.

Gov. David Hall asked him to be president of the OK Turnpike Authority when the Cimarron Turnpike was only a dream. His office was in the Founders Tower in Oklahoma City. The locations of the highway, tollbooths, entrance/exit ramps and the maintenance facility were in his hands. Morrison has the first automated tollbooth with no attendant; it provided much needed jobs to the area.

Mary and Dwight were students of Dale Carnegie Institute, and he enjoyed being an instructor, as well as at the Intermediate School of Banking in Stillwater. The many clubs and associations of which he was active included charter member and held offices in the Morrison and Perry Lions Clubs and Perry Elks Lodge; board of directors of two insurance companies in Oklahoma City; member of the Private Industry Council for eight counties; member of the Perry Chamber of Commerce; board of directors of Northern Oklahoma Development Association; lifetime member and held offices in the American Legion since 1946; president of the Independent Bankers Association of Oklahoma, Community Bankers Association, OK Bankers Association, and Bankers Bank of OK; member of Oklahoma, Payne and Noble County Cattlemen’s Associations; member and elder of the Morrison Christian Church; member of the LP Club for Retired Ag Educators of Oklahoma; Democrat precinct chairman of Morrison and Cheyenne; Roger Mills County and Noble County Democrat Chairman; 5th and 6th District Democrat Chairman; State Democrat Chairman; and ran for the office of national committeeman but dropped out because the family didn’t want to leave Morrison for Washington, DC.

He loved the community of Morrison as his family, and he helped mold many successful citizens within it.

Family and friends meant the world to him and he was grateful for each and every one of them.

Dwight is survived by two daughters, Peggy Robinson and Lenel Rymer; grandsons David J. Hawkins, Brice G. Robinson, and Creed M. Robinson, and granddaughter Amada A. Sexton; and six great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, and friends.