Claremore Daily Progress

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December 20, 2012

Downtown Claremore staple ‘Junior’ dies at 86

CLAREMORE — Few people could tell you his real name, but anyone who’s lived in Claremore for more than a few years would know exactly who you meant if you told them you’d talked to “Junior.”

He was Jules DeGruy Jr.,  known as as “Mr. Information” and  longtime Claremore goodwill ambassador.
If you ever met the chatty little man with the funny walk, you’d never forget him.
The man known by most as “Junior” passed away on Tuesday at age 86, leaving behind no relatives, but rather, a community full of people he considered friends.
“Junior came to Claremore about 45 years ago, I think, and the whole town kind of adopted him — or maybe it was him that adopted the whole town,” said Claremore Mayor Mickey Perry.  “He was the friendliest person you’d meet and you’d never meet anyone who didn’t like him.
“Whenever I’d see him, he would tell me he was praying for us. He was praying for Claremore,” Perry said. 
“If you think about it, indirectly, he was almost an inspiration to people around him. He walked every day as long as his health allowed him, meeting people, picking up people’s spirits, not letting his physical restrictions stop him. Everyone would get a smile on their face if they saw Junior coming.”
Born in Mississippi, DeGruy’s family moved often when he was young. 
He lived in Alabama, Mississippi  and Louisiana before he settled in Oklahoma City in 1935, where he was a longtime patient/resident at the Hospital for Crippled Children.
While in Oklahoma City, DeGruy had surgery to alleviate his crippled hand and leg and as he grew, he went from being the March of Dimes Poster Boy for the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce to being an active member of the Jr. Chamber of Commerce and was later named “Honorary Mayor of the City.”

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