Claremore Daily Progress

Top Stories

April 11, 2014

Will Rogers Memorial Museum director retiring

CLAREMORE — Steve Gragert, director of the Will Rogers Memorial Museums, announced Thursday that he will retire as of Sept. 1, ending an almost 40 years’ association with the museums.

Gragert said he and his wife, Helen, “have been blessed and will take this opportunity to travel and do things we haven’t had time to make happen.”

The couple plans to visit Robert and Cezar, their “sons” in Germany and Brazil, exchange students who lived with them when they attended Stillwater High.

They hope to meet Cezar’s son, who at birth was announced to them as their “grandson.”

Gragert has been involved with Will Rogers since working on the Will Rogers Research Project at Oklahoma State University, starting in 1976.

Helen, an artist, has been involved in many Claremore and Museum community projects since moving here.

Gragert was associate director before becoming director in late 2006, when then-director Michelle Lefebvre Carter retired.

Gragert said his time here has been rewarding with the many programs and exhibits that have been put into place, such as the re-establishment of the volunteer program.

Today, there are more than 50 active docents, as well as others who have logged more than 20,000 hours since 2008.

 “We have striven to present the story of Will as professional and complete as possible with exhibits, including The Final Journey and the Heritage Gallery. For the first time we are able to tell the story of Will’s pride in his Cherokee heritage,” he said.

He has supported the collection protection and preservation through various means such as dehumidification, as well as organizing, cataloging and proper storage, “as much as possible within the limits of available funding.”

Among Gragert’s experiences with the museum have been meeting and hosting special guests, including the most recent, Col. David Griest, 95, who was in Barrow, Ala., when Will and Wiley Post perished in a plane accident, and Calvin Pitts, retired pilot and Post fan, who were here in 2013 for opening of The Final Journey.

Singer Larry Gatlin also was in Claremore for Will Rogers Days last November and has agreed to serve on the Foundation Board. The Robb sisters, who, as children, were cast in Will’s 1933 movie Mr. Skitch, came three years ago.

“I was delighted to get so many people to share their story and relationships with Will,” he said, adding Lynette Bennett’s, one-woman show about Will and Betty’s romance, and Laurette Willis’ Letters from the Heart, and his special fondness for artist Charles Banks Wilson.

Researchers were made welcome and the Museum opened to scholars who have produced a great number of books, articles and shows about Will, such as the award-winning Rogers State University Television production of Will Rogers and American Politics.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • City open records dispute continues

    The city of Claremore will pay $41,324.25 in attorney fees to the Vinita law firm who challenged their compliance with the Oklahoma Open Records Act.


    July 29, 2014

  • Claremore sisters featured on talk show

    During their recent trip to Los Angeles, Claremore sisters Lindsey and Whitney Martin made the most of their time in the city of angels, spending time with family, visiting several beaches, restaurants and Hollywood attractions.

    July 29, 2014 1 Link

  • Elementary students learn to bid at Zebra Stripes auction

    Claremore elementary students in the Zebra Stripes summer care program participated in a student-friendly auction Friday at Roosa Elementary. The auction was presented by Daneen Shepherd, realtor/broker and auctioneer of Tulsa, who taught the children how to bid on items efficiently and effectively.

    July 29, 2014 1 Link

  • Treasurer issues tax warrants

    For the first time, tax warrants are being issued in Rogers County to collect unpaid personal property taxes.
    This week, some local business owners should expect to be served by the Rogers County Sheriff’s office.
    Personal tax warrants have been issued to three local companies, who owe a total of approximately $38,000 in past due taxes.

    July 29, 2014

  • No evidence or human remains found

    Rogers County Sheriff’s deputies and assisting agencies vacated a Tiawah property Friday, after no evidence or human remains were found in connection to the disappearance of a local resident that went missing in 1996.

    July 27, 2014

  • RCLC launches letter campaign

    The Rogers County Literacy Council, RCLC, is launching their annual letter writing campaign.
     A United Way Organization, the council is asking for community support to help promote literacy in the English language.

    July 27, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obama wants limits on US company mergers abroad

    Staking out a populist stand ahead of the midterm elections, President Barack Obama on Thursday demanded “economic patriotism” from U.S. corporations that use legal means to avoid U.S. taxes through overseas mergers.

    July 25, 2014

  • Local churches impact poverty

    Claremore First Christian Church, First United Methodist and the Pastoral Alliance are combining efforts to host a 16-week program, “Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World,” based off of the national program — “bridges out of poverty.”

    July 25, 2014

  • Grand Jury recesses until August

    The multicounty grand jury charged with investigating accusations of misconduct by Rogers County officials recessed Thursday until August 19-21, saying it needed to hear from more witnesses before returning a finding in the matter.

    July 25, 2014