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Reed-Culver Funeral Home

117 West Delaware Street, Tahlequah, OK

OBITUARY

Robert Lee Girty

March 10, 1946June 16, 2020
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Funeral services for Robert Lee Girty will be held Friday, June 26th, 2020 at 10:00am at Reed-Culver Chapel with Dr. Vern Charette officiating and special readings by his sister, Sue Thompson and friend Randy Baughman. He will be laid to rest at Greenleaf Cemetery in his family plot. A visitation will be held on Thursday from 2:00pm until 6:00pm at Reed-Culver Funeral Home. Online condolences for the family may be left at www.reedculver.com.

Pallbearers for Robert include his grandsons, Hayden Girty, Sammie Girty, Zachary Smiatek, Jonah DeSoto, nephews, Jason Ballard, Brent Girty, Greg Girty, Jeff Girty, and Scotty Thompson. Honorary pallbearers are Bryce Girty, Rylan Scott, Gary Girty, Steven Girty, Logan Girty, Bryan Johnson, Matthew Girty, Boady Johnson, Robbie Hernandez, and Drew Allen Scott.

Robert Lee Girty, who was referred to by his friends and family as “Kid” or the original “Fifty Cents” was born March 10, 1946 at the old Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, OK. He is the son of Tobacco and Jennie (Whitewater) Girty. He was raised in a traditional Cherokee home where Cherokee was spoken as his first language. His Cherokee name was Li’wi, but the old timers knew him as Asagi. Robert attended grade school at Woodall where he found his love for softball and played the position of pitcher, then attending Bagley Junior High and Tahlequah High School where he graduated in the class of 1965. He continued his education at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology earning a degree in Lithography and became a licensed Journeyman Welder through Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ. Robert married the love of his life, Flossie Irene Sunday on Sunday, October 10, 1966 in Stilwell, OK. This union of almost 54 years was blessed with three children, Alicia, Brandon and Wesley. Robert was a hard worker and possessed skills in many trades. He began his working career for the Pictorial Press in Tahlequah as an Offset Pressman, precinct worker during the first Cherokee Nation Election of our Principal Chief in 1971, and called to guard Tahlequah’s Bureau of Indian Affairs building when the American Indian Movement came to Tahlequah. He was the official driver, bodyguard and photographer for the future First Lady of the Cherokee Nation when she was Miss Cherokee in 1975. Opportunities continued after becoming a licensed mechanical contractor, plumbing residential and commercial buildings throughout the community and surrounding areas such as Reasor’s, TG&Y, Western Sizzlin Steak House, lead plumber for the Cherokee Nation Hotel and personally hired by Wilma Mankiller for the plumbing of Sequoyah High School and held a contract with Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Housing Improvement Program. He was blessed with opportunities to work all over Northeastern Oklahoma and even a Ditch Rider for the BIA at Gila River Indian Reservation, opening and closing water canals delivering irrigation water over a 150 square mile radius. He followed his family back home to the Tahlequah area as a plumber for Cherokee Nation. His skill granted him many acts of recognition within the Cherokee Nation and was fortunate to work alongside other full blood, Cherokee speaking Native Americans. When he wasn’t working, Robert took great pride in his heritage and was devoted to the preservation of the Cherokee language. He was a participant in the Cherokee Nation’s Speakers Bureau from its beginning and was awarded a medal on the official tribal registry as an original speaker. He was a novice actor, appearing in several productions, including playing Stand Waite in the History Channel documentary, “Indian Warriors, Untold Stories of the Civil War;” “We Shall Remain.” George Clooney, himself, selected him for “August Osage County,” and more. Many folks would stop for a picture with Robert because of his distinct Native American look; even gracing the front page of the Tulsa World a time or two. People were drawn to Robert’s since of humor and could spark a conversation with folks everywhere he went. He loved getting up early and meeting friends at McDonalds, Boomerang Diner, and other local favorites to drink coffee and catch up. His favorite pass time was catching a great find at garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. He was a great sports dad and grandfather, always the first in the car to take his kids and grandkids to their games; he was known to get up at 3:00 am and drive in the snow to places like St. Joe, Missouri for a wrestling tournament. He loved to travel and see historic places such as the airplane graveyard in Tucson, both northern and southern rims of the Grand Canyon, and Old Tucson where they were filming Young Riders and he was mistaken as one of the actors by the crew members. His travels led him to Washington DC on several occasions where he walked to the top of the Washington Monument, researched family documents in the National Archives, Cherokee Nation Washington Offices, and China Town. Visited San Antonio touring the waterways, and Sea World and the Alamo. He’s been to San Francisco, ridden the Cherokee Queen, drove all over Utah and Zion National Park, visited Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, and rode an Old fashioned train for miles just to reach Durango next to a ravine. He took his family on a very scary ride over Apache Trail; you had to be there; rode the super shoot on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas; made several family trips to Mexico; Old Towns in San Diego and Albuquerque; went truck crawling with his nephew in Virginia, he drove one hour on an old dirt road to see the ice cave and volcano in the middle of the desert of New Mexico and insisted on visiting Tombstone. With all of the sites and adventures Robert enjoyed in his life he had a couple of more stops on his bucket list that he did not quite make. Like visiting the Bronx or traveling to Death Valley, he didn’t get a chance to see the beauty of Niagara Falls or the lands of Canada. Even though he had his passport ready he didn’t get the time to travel with his friend Randy Baughman to dig his toes in the sand of the Bahamas. In all the adventures and sites he enjoyed, or just missed out on in this life. The splendor of glory that he is seeing now surpasses it all. A Christian by faith, Robert was a member of the New Greenleaf Indian Baptist Church in Woodall, OK. He died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at the age of 74. Robert dearly loved all his family and was intensely loyal. So many memories were made throughout the years that will forever be treasured.

He is preceded in death by his parents, one son, Wesley Girty, Sr., one grandson, Wesley Girty, Jr., one brother, Andy Girty, and brother-in-law, Jerry Thompson.

He is survived by his wife, Flossie Irene Girty; two children, Alicia Hernandez and husband Robert of Gold Canyon, AZ and Brandon Girty of Tahlequah, OK, siblings, Rufus Girty and Linda of Dallas, TX, Sue Thompson of Tahlequah, Lorene Ballard and Butch of Tahlequah, OK, George and Peggy Girty of Tahlequah, OK, Judy Whitewater Johnson of Tahlequah, OK, and sister-in-law, Frances Girty of Lawrence, KS. His legacy lives on through his ten grandchildren, Zach Smiatek of Ft. Smith, AR, Brooke Scott of Tahlequah, OK, Jonah DeSoto, currently in US Navy, Bahrain, Ariel Hernandez of Gold Canyon, AZ, Robbie Hernandez of Flagstaff, AZ, Demetria Hernandez of Gold Canyon, AZ, Sammie Girty, Jennie Girty, Hayden Girty, Bryce Girty, all of Tahlequah , OK, six great grandchildren, Rylan Scott, Reed Scott, Railey Scott, Naya Hernandez, Aubrey Smiatek, and one on the way this November, Ainsley Grace Smiatek, along with the Sunday Family members of Welling, OK, many niece, nephews, and a host of friends and loved ones.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Hayden Girty
  • Sammie Girty
  • Zachary Smiatek
  • Jonah DeSoto
  • Jason Ballard
  • Brent Girty
  • Greg Girty
  • Jeff Girty
  • Scotty Thompson
  • Bryce Girty, Honorary
  • Rylan Scott, Honorary
  • Gary Girty, Honorary
  • Steven Girty, Honorary
  • Logan Girty, Honorary
  • Bryan Johnson, Honorary
  • Matthew Girty, Honorary
  • Broady Johnson, Honorary
  • Robbie Hernandez, Honorary
  • Drew Allen Scott, Honorary

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, June 25, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, June 26, 2020

Memories

Robert Lee Girty

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Julia Coates

July 4, 2020

I am so sorry to hear of Robert's passing. He was a treasure and always kept us grounded with his just-folks-common-sense. I will miss seeing him at the ceremonials, will miss his stories, and will miss his humor. Sending my love to everyone in the family. I know I am joining with so many who are holding you in their love and their thoughts at this time. We were all blessed to know him and have him in our lives.

Betty Wilson

June 24, 2020

I don’t have a memory but so many memories that are too numerous to share. He wasn’t just a special person but a special and loving brother-in-law.
Robert was bigger than life itself and no words nor enough time can ever completely describe who he was.
I was very blessed to have had him as a brother-in-law and friend. He has left us from this life but will always remain in the hearts and memories of all who knew him. An unforgettable man.

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