Claremore Daily Progress

Community News

July 24, 2012

She called him Uncle Will

Meyer pens remembrances in new book

CLAREMORE — The day began like any other day in the Bartlesville home of James Gunter and Jennie Belle Lane. About noon on Aug. 16, 1935 all that changed, as did the lives of people all over the world and especially for the family of Will Rogers.

Doris “Coke” Lane Meyer, then 16, vividly remembers the phone ringing and her father running from the house. He was headed for the Bartlesville Examiner newspaper offices, where they were reading on the wire services that Will Rogers and Wiley Post had died Aug. 15, in an Alaskan plane crash. The newspaper had called her father, Will’s nephew.
Coke, a nickname she was given as a child in Chelsea, and as she is fondly called by most, has recounted that day many times. Only now that she is the only one living of the great-nieces and nephews of Will, has she decided to put the many remembrances of her famous uncle in print.
“I Called Him Uncle Will” is the recollection of his visits to Chelsea where Gunter Lane and family lived near his parents, Will Rogers’ sister, Maud and Cap Lane. They also saw him often after her family moved to Bartlesville.
Will Rogers Memorial Museum Ropers (docents) will assist with the book signings at the Museum and Ranch. 
They will host a signing party from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 4, at the Claremore Museum. She will be in the Birthplace Ranch barn from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Fly-In Day, Aug. 12. 
She will be in Bartlesville at the Bartlesville Area Historical Museum from noon to 2 p.m. on Aug. 15, the 77th anniversary of the crash. 
Books will be available at the signing parties and are sold in the Will Rogers Memorial Museum Store at $13.99 each.
Coke remembers her uncle “would fly to Tulsa and come to Bartlesville.  In 1925 he gave a talk at the Community Center. Tickets were $1 and $3,” she said with a laugh. She said Will would go to their Aunt Estelle’s (Maud’s oldest daughter) in Tulsa and they would all gather there.

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