Curtis E. Ishcomer, 77, passed away Friday, January 8, 2021 at the V A Center in Lawton, Oklahoma. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at Kincannon Funeral Home. Burial will follow services at the Dryden Cemetery, located between Gould and Hollis, under the direction of Kincannon Funeral Home and Cremation Service.
Curtis Eugene Ishcomer, known to his family as Dude, was born at home in rural Rufe, Oklahoma, on February 27, 1943 to Daniel C. Ishcomer and Josephine Steele Ishcomer. He left this earth on January 8, 2021, at the age of 77. Even during this time of Covid-19, Curtis’s wife, granddaughters, and members of the staff who had cared for him at the Lawton/Ft. Sill Veterans Center were by his side. As Curtis left the Veteran’s Center, his body was draped with the American Flag and his nurses walked behind him as bagpipes played Amazing Grace. They saluted Curtis as he left for the very last time.
Although dementia robbed him of his ability to remain in his home, Curtis considered Altus, Okla. his home since 1986. Prior to that, he lived in Hollis and Gould Oklahoma as well as Amarillo, Texas. Most of his youth was spent in and around Antlers and Hugo Oklahoma. He attended school at Soper, Oklahoma. For eight years, he resided at the Lawton/Ft. Sill Veteran’s Center. He participated in many activities there and was always willing to help out, by pushing those in wheelchairs to bingo or helping decorate for various activities. Again, dementia slowly robbed him of this also, but even in the last few months of his life, he participated as much as possible.
Curtis met his wife, Kathy Thompson, on the “drag” in Hollis, Oklahoma. They married a year later on November 8, 1969, and celebrated 51 years of marriage. They had two sons, Roger Lavelle and Terry Daniel and 3 grandchildren.
Curtis was raised in rural eastern Oklahoma. He loved hunting, fishing, swimming in the rivers, and riding his horses. At that time, eastern Oklahoma was free range, which meant there were no fences to constrain a young boy on his horse. Curtis often talked about delivering the Grit Newspaper, for those of you old enough to know what this is, while riding his horse Blackie.
Curtis spoke his native Choctaw language fluently. You will hear a hymn and a prayer in Choctaw today. You may not understand it, but Curtis will.
Curtis loved his dogs. He had many over the years that were special to him. He sometimes worked hard all day, only to come home and sit in the floor because one of his dogs was taking a nap in Curtis’s chair. Now that’s love…or something.
Fishing and hunting were always special to Curtis and this was an activity he enjoyed sharing and teaching his sons, Lavelle and Terry. Terry once told his mom about when he asked his dad if he could borrow one of Curtis’s special shotguns to go hunting, Curtis told him he could but he better be careful and take care of the shotgun. Terry laughed and said his mom would have told him to be careful and take care of himself, but Curtis had his own priorities.
Curtis was a Christian and of the Methodist faith. He often talked about attending church camps in eastern Oklahoma. These camps would last a few days with the women cooking delicious food. He cherished these memories. While as an adult, he did not attend church services regularly, he had a strong faith and unwavering belief in God. At one time, Curtis did drink, but he believed that an angel in the form of a man sat beside him one night in a bar and told him to stop drinking. He told the angel that he would and he did stop that very night.
Curtis loved sports, especially baseball. In the early years of their marriage, he even had Kathy avidly watching the sport. That was in the Pete Rose, Johnny Bench days. While her enthusiasm waned over the years, his did not.
After moving to Altus, Curtis always watched his sons play baseball, soccer, and basketball. The soccer league was just beginning in Altus when his sons were young. Curtis coached soccer and assisted with coaching baseball. He went on to watch his granddaughters play softball and he loved to watch his grandson play basketball.
Curtis achieved a lifelong dream when he became an umpire. He sometimes umpired at his sons’ games and adult softball games. At Lavelle’s baseball game one time, he had to call Lavelle out at home plate. Terry was sitting in the stands with his mom. He turned to her and said, “I can’t believe our own daddy called our own brother out.” I guess he wondered what use was it to have friends in high places.
As an umpire, Curtis dressed in uniform, sometimes pants, sometimes shorts. And that is the only time anyone every saw him in shorts. He always wore button up Levis in everyday life.
Family vacations were important to Curtis. While he and Kathy would clearly be at each other’s throats before they could manage to get on the road, once started, Curtis was great to travel with. He took the leisurely path to his destination, stopping for sightseeing whenever the mood struck. He left late in the morning, stopped early at night so he could read a newspaper while Kathy and the boys went swimming. Some of the vacations sites included Carlsbad Caverns, Las Vegas, Disney World in Florida (3 times). Tours of antebellum plantations in the South, and Graceland during the tenth anniversary of Elvis’s death. There were trips to Six Flags, Branson, and others.
Curtis believed in work. His work ethic is almost unmatched. He loved working on farms and ranches, but spent most of his working years at Republic Gypsum in Duke, now known as American Gypsum. There are many stories that could be told about that, but not all of them appropriate for this venue. At a banquet honoring Curtis’s 30th year of employment, Curtis was presented with some nice gifts. Someone asked the owner, Mr. Simpson, what he would give Curtis when he had been there 40 years. Mr. Simpson replied, “A Rolls Royce.” Curtis almost made it. We’ll never know if Mr. Simpson would have complied, but dementia once again robbed Curtis of his ability to work, and that was a terrible thing.
Curtis served in the Army and fought in Viet Nam. That experience left mental scars that became apparent more and more as the dementia took an ever stronger hold on him. He enjoyed talking about military service with anyone who would listen, but especially with those who had shared the experience. He spent many hours talking to his cousin Linda Yarbrough, who served her country in the military, also, as did her husband Ricki.
Although, dementia robbed Curtis of so much, he lived a good life full of love, friends, and family. He loved his house, his job, his sports, his country, his animals. The list is too long for this space.
He is survived by his wife Kathy, of the home, his son Roger Lavelle Ishcomer and wife Denise, of Calara, Oklahoma and their son Dustin Ishcomer of Colorado Springs, Colo. Son Terry Ishcomer of Altus Oklahoma and his daughters, Brittany Bearden and Tara Ishcomer, both of Lexington, Okla.
His sister-in-law Dorothy Thompson, Altus. Sister Edna Ishcomer, Los Angeles, CA. Brothers Nathan Ishcomer and wife Patty, Quanah, Texas; Melvin Ishcomer and wife Tina, Eldorado Oklahoma. Sisters Freda Ishcomer, Amarillo, Texas, and Carolyn Logan and husband Paul, of Harrah, Oklahoma. Many nieces and nephews and an aunt Marie, age 92 who resides in Kansas and just recently conquered the covid virus.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Daniel and Josephine. Brother Lee Roy Ishcomer, Baby brother Ishcomer, sisters Barbara Taylor and Anita Ishcomer.