Son of Holdenville and Businessman of Muskogee
Our father, Bob L Loftis as he liked to be called, began his life’s journey in a carefree, loving upbringing along with his two living brothers, and parents. He was raised during quite an era in the U.S. just before, during and after the second World War.
He and his neighborhood friends galloped free all over their neighborhood unfettered and without a care in the world. The notion of being tied to either a Tv screen or an Iphone wasn’t even a notion in their thoughts or a block to their adventures. All they knew was security and freedom. Folks didn’t even have to worry about locked doors or child abductions. It was just a wonderful time to be alive.
One of our father’s great friends when he was little that continued his friendship til Dad’s passing was T. Boone Pickens. Though they eventually went their separate ways in life, they never lost their connection. And of course both of them had twin passions with business and oil and gas. Which was as deep a connection as they could have had.
As a young man, dad enjoyed playing basketball on the high school team. Once he graduated and went on to study business at OU he became a stanch supporter of OU football. It was a constant in our household from the time we were old enough to understand what it was all about. We would watch Dad when we were very young get himself a cold can of Coors beer, put some salt in it and situate himself in front of the Tv to watch the Sooners take the field, and the marching band to play. Depending on if the Sooners won or lost would determine his mood for the rest of the day, those games meant so much to him. For nearly 70 years Dad never tired of discussing or being riveted by the Sooners. And as he would say on Saturday at the store, when he left to watch the Sooners play, he would say, “It was time to suit up!” just before he went home to watch them play. Those hours enjoying college football were the few hours he took himself away from his businesses.
In so many ways Dad was both a simple and a complex individual. He came from a country-town upbringing working with his own father who started Loftis Hardware in 1916. His father’s original building still stands. Bob watched his own father spend his whole life committed to his own store until he was in his 90’s.
Dad loved business too and in turn dedicated his whole life, 7 days a week, for over 60 years to his own furniture stores. First, he bought a building in McAlester after he married our mother. But, he didn’t want to stop there. He bought another building in Muskogee and opened his second Bob L Loftis Furniture store in 1968. And while he opened a couple of more stores, he personally never left Muskogee. That was his biggest passion and he worked tirelessly to get the stores operating as well as they could. Nothing came before the stores.
He did find another love and that was the oil and gas business. With land provided by his parents, he took on the task of drilling and producing his own oil and gas wells — being quite successful; as was the norm for anything he set his mind to. The income from his wells was quite a boon to the furniture stores which enabled him to open several others.
And while Dad’s tastes in business was constantly growing and expanding and was quite a lot for one person to handle, his personal life was on the less complex side. He did enjoy a nice car and had numerous fancy ones of his own. With his new oil money, his greatest joy was purchasing a new car for his father and handing him the keys.
Everything else in his life, well, there really wasn’t much more that he wanted or needed. Playing golf was something he did enjoy for many years and never lost the desire to swing a golf club or make a putt. He had a small duplex that he lived in for 30 plus
years with a bed, a few dishes and a couch. He stayed there until his death, passing on April 1st, in comfort, in his own chair.
Bob handled his own business every day up until the last month of his life; until his health challenges got the best of him. Dad lived his life the way he wanted and in full control, which was his number one desire. God blessed him in so many ways and giving him the wish of living life as he wanted was God’s fi nal gift.
Tenacious, steadfast, provider, sports and political enthusiast are the words that describe Bob best.
Dad cared a great deal about lending a helping hand to others. The way he could most easily do that was financially. He helped too many folks to ever count them. Easing their ways by lifting any money concerns was first and foremost for Dad. Even above and beyond that, Dad most enjoyed helping people with any problems paying for needed medical treatments. Even in 2019, while going through his own medical treatments, he couldn’t help but give money to a woman who also needed the same treatment but could not afford that he met in the medical facility. Dad happily paid for her to get what she could not afford.
So if there was one word that summed up our father that was provider. He spent millions on others.
The truest definition of a man is that he should protect, provide and profess. Not only did Bob do that for us, his daughters, but he did it for anyone else in his community; for his whole life. He took care of his brother, Roy, until his death and then stepped in to take care of both of his daughters, which he continued til his own death.
Through his trust, he will continue this work of caring for many more. Now us, his daughters, will be able to carry on his legacy and pay out those designated funds. And we will think of him every day as we move forward with his stores to provide continued support to things he held most dear.
It is the least we can do to show our love and appreciation for all that he gave to us financially as well as being a role model. A lot can be learned through his life’s work and even more from his dedication to family while helping anyone else that he could. His desire to assist others and his love for making money were a deadly duo that brought everlasting examples to show us all how to “pay if forward”.
Thank you Dad for all that you did. We love you now and forever. Goodbye for now, til we meet again.