Services for James Wendell Oliphant, 68, of Overbrook, Okla., will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, December 29, 2011, in the Flanagan-Watts Funeral Home Chapel, Marietta, Okla., with Pastor Ronnie Harris officiating, assisted by Steven Morehead. Interment with military honors will be in Lakeview Cemetery, Marietta, under the direction of Flanagan-Watts Funeral Home & Cremation Services.


Services for James Wendell Oliphant, 68, of Overbrook, Okla., will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, December 29, 2011, in the Flanagan-Watts Funeral Home Chapel, Marietta, Okla., with Pastor Ronnie Harris officiating, assisted by Steven Morehead. Interment with military honors will be in Lakeview Cemetery, Marietta, under the direction of Flanagan-Watts Funeral Home & Cremation Services.

 

Mr. Oliphant died December 23, 2011, in Mercy Memorial Health Center, Ardmore, Okla., after a long illness due to complications from Agent Orange contamination in Vietnam. He was born at Burneyville, Okla., on July 20, 1943, the son of Milton Bynum and Audrey Elizabeth Powell Oliphant.

 

Mr. Oliphant attended school at Burneyville and Turner in Love County, high school in Fort Gordon, Ga., college in Augusta, Ga., Fort Gordon Supply School, Advanced Math and Science at Fort Hood, Texas, Community Welding School at Sulphur, Okla., Cooke County Junior College in Gainesville, Texas, Oklahoma City Community College, Basic and Advanced Computer Classes at the Lexington, Okla., Vo-Tech, Ambassador Bible College in Pasadena, Calif., American Bible College in Joplin, Mo., and 94 other Bible study programs where he took as many as eight at a time by correspondence. He maintained a 3.5 grade-point average in college.

 

At age 17, he bought a tractor and tried farming. After a drought and crop failure, he traded his tractor for a car and went into construction. He helped build Interstate 35 and Moss Lake.

 

On July 19, 1963, he married Betty Ann Carmon, and they were the parents of three sons and a daughter. In 1966, he turned down an invitation to go to Peru to build a highway with R.G. LeTourneau Construction. Instead he volunteered for the draft and went into the U.S. Army. He attended Basic Training at Fort Polk, La., and was then sent to Service Co. Fort Gordon, Ga., and trained as a truck repair parts specialist. In 1968, he volunteered for service in Vietnam. Mr. Oliphant served with Hq. Co. 5th Transportation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) Camp Eagle South Vietnam from August 1, 1968, to March 26, 1970, where he supervised the Battalion motor pool truck parts department, taught parts supply and served on the division inspection team.

 

The DA Form 20 of his Army records show that he was promoted to SP6 E-6 on March 4, 1970, while in Vietnam, but he was sent back to the U.S. on March 26 and never received any promotion orders. If he had received those orders, he would have stayed in the Army. He always regretted taking his discharge. Mr. Oliphant received the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Service Star (a Silver Service Star is awarded in lieu of five Bronze Service Stars, for the medal being awarded five times after first award), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation, Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar (M-16) and Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar (M-14). From Vietnam he was sent to Fort Hood, Texas, where he supervised a Division Repair Parts Section. Mr. Oliphant received an honorable discharge at Fort Hood on November 18, 1971. He always regretted getting out of the Army... those five years were the proudest of his life. He felt more like he was someone while he was serving his Country.

 

Mr. Oliphant then went into oil field work and owned several small businesses in Love County, the most successful being Oliphant Recycling.

 

In October 1978, he married Dora Willingham. He accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior in January 1990, then started a nine year intensive study of the Bible. Mr. Oliphant preached and taught Sabbath School in Lexington and McAlester, Okla.

 

He was ordained as an evangelist by the Progressive Universal Life Church.
In 1998 he became a 100 percent disabled veteran due to being sprayed with Agent Orange in Vietnam.

 

On April 16, 2003, he married Marlena Clough.

 

Mr. Oliphant was preceded in death by his parents; mother of his children, Betty Oliphant; two sons, Jimmy Ray Oliphant and James Thomas “Tommy” Oliphant; grandson, Johnny Earl “Little Man” Oliphant II; two brothers, Milton Oliphant and Auston Oliphant; daughter-in-law, Teresa Oliphant; and two brothers-in-law, Jimmy Cross and Dub Wade.

 

He is survived by a son, Johnny Earl Oliphant of Marietta; daughter and son-in-law, Christy Diane and Steven Morehead, also of Marietta; brother, Byron Oliphant of Gainesville; four sisters and brothers-in-law, Ellen Wade of Blanchard, Okla., Virginia and Herman Bruce of Marietta, Dorothy Cross of Overbrook, and Marie and Ralph Garrison of Gainesville; granddaughter, Christian Flanagan and husband, Justin of Edmond; and numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

 

Serving as bearers will be Justin Murphy, Jason Ramsey, Jerry Putman, Gary Putman, Jerry Caldwell, Zack Hartman, and Paul Bucher. Honorary bearers are Roland Loving, Justin Flanagan, Johnny Caldwell, Cathryn Caldwell, Tacy Cantrell, Raymond White, Herman Kittrell, and J.C. Yeatts.

 

The family will receive friends from 7 to 8 this evening at the funeral home.

 

Online guest book: wattsfuneralhome.com.