NORMAN — Cody Dean Ponder ascended to heaven Tuesday, November 26, 2013, in Norman, Oklahoma surrounded by his mommas and wife after a courageous 28-month battle with esophageal cancer.

Cody was born to Kenton Ponder and Danell Vernon Bray December 21, 1977, in Healdton, Oklahoma. He grew up in the towns of Lone Grove and Wilson, Oklahoma, among a very large and loving extended family. Cody was proud of being one of 31 first cousins and always remembered everyone's birthdays included their partners and kids. There was nothing he loved more than gathering with his family for holiday meals.

Graduating from Lone Grove High School in 1996, Cody was an active student playing center on the football team, participating in speech and debate, member of the color guard and baritone/trombone player in the school band. He was known as the classmate who was friends with everyone.

Cody moved to Norman in the fall of 1996, to attend the University of Oklahoma. He again became an active part of his community serving as the New Sooner Orientation chair and a resident adviser in Adams Center where he met the love of his life, Johnnie-Margaret McConnell. Cody later earned a Bachelors in Sociology with minors in psychology and history.

His professional career began at First Fidelity Bank where he served as a teller and customer service representative from 2000-2002. Cody then began driving a school bus for Norman Public Schools while finishing his degree and was later promoted to Special Needs Bus Coordinator and ultimately Director of Transportation.

His banking background, love of serving others and big trucks finally fused when he moved to OU as C.A.R.T.'s Grants Specialist in 2006. Cody was recognized in September 2011, by Mass Transit Magazine as being a Top 40 Under 40 in public transportation for the entire country. He was promoted last year to serve as the Assistant Director of Transportation for the University of Oklahoma.

Cody was a member of the 2011 Leadership Norman Class. He also found time to serve on the boards of Full Circle Adult Day Care, Norman's Social and Voluntary Services committee, United Way and American Red Cross's Heart of Oklahoma chapter.

Cody was known for his generous hugs and infectious smile. His love for living was confirmed by his unending fight to enjoy each and every moment until the end. Cody's grace and positive attitude during this time has made our love stronger.

Cody leaves behind his wife of 15 years, Johnnie-Margaret McConnell; and four-legged daughter, Greta Mae Ponder; mother and father, Danell and Danny Bray; mother-in-law, Jane McConnell; momma, Lisa Portwood; father-in-law, Tom McConnell; brothers, Corey Ponder and wife, Michelle, Sheppard McConnell, Dusty Bray and wife, Desiree, Kris Glenn and wife, Casey; sisters, Dachelle McClendon and husband, Ivron, Jenn Doughty and husband, John; God-children, Paige Portwood and Rowan Doughty; nieces, Mikayla and Charlotte Ponder; nephews, Cole Ponder and Dakota and Slade Bray; dearest friend, Cory Cross; seven beloved Vernon family aunts and uncles along with their extended families and five McConnell-Kittrell family aunts and uncles and children.

The family wishes to extend our thanks to all who have so generously cared for Cody and Johnnie-Margaret over the past two years; especially Sharon Stewart, Beth Gatewood, Cherry and Walt Strong, Dr. Shubham Pant, Fransen McGinley, Jan Fisher, Dr. Ralph Guild, Dr. Russell Postier, Dr. Marvin Peyton, Kasey Little, Kathleen Cockrum, Von Allen, Joan Spall, Fran Olsen, the Stephen Cancer Center oncology wing, our many supportive co-workers, and Good Shepherd hospice.

At the request of the family, please consider donations made to C.A.R.T.'s annual Fill the Trolley campaign to collect toys for area children this holiday season. Contact CART at or (405) 325-6080 to donate.

Cody's memorial service has been set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at Journey Church in Norman. You are invited to wear purple in Cody's honor that day.

His services have been entrusted to the care of Primrose Funeral Service,