An Okie From Muskogee by Bill Lehman

Janis Cramer

More than 40 years as a newspaper man qualifies Bill Lehmann to be a professional observer of people. He has lived life joyously surrounding himself with people, the great and humble, the politically powerful and the disenfranchised, the affluent and the impoverished, alcoholics, teetotalers, historians, artists, drifters, oil drillers, poets, and preachers. His life is richer for having known all those he writes about. As publisher of the Guthrie Daily Leader, Lehmann used his “tons of newsprint and barrels of ink” to advance issues, both grand and meek, to touch and improve the quality of life in his community, Guthrie, Oklahoma. He and his wife, Rosemary, were honored recently for tireless efforts in tandem with others to spare historic Guthrie, Oklahoma, for the urban renewal wrecking ball. Lehmann helped a global spotlight on Guthrie by producing a proper burial in 1977 for Elmer, McCurdy, an Okie outlaw slain in 1911, whose embalmed body was used as a sideshow attraction for more than 60 years. At 85, Lehmann is retired, but he has not ceased observing people, enjoying life, and pondering the past and future...sometimes in the company of another old friend, Jack Daniels.

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