NORMAN — Cody Dean Ponder ascended to heaven Tuesday, November 26, 2013, in Norman, Oklahoma 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. Cody grew up in the towns of Lone Grove and Wilson, Oklahoma, among a very large and loving extended family. Cody graduated Lone Grove High School in 1996 and was known as the classmate who was friends with everyone.

Cody earned a Bachelors in Sociology from the University of Oklahoma. His professional career began at First Fidelity Bank. Cody then moved to serve as the Special Needs Bus Coordinator and later 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. He was recognized in September 2011, by Mass Transit Magazine as being a Top 40 Under 40 in public transportation for the entire country. Cody 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; grandmothers, Pat Halstead and husband, Robert, Johnnie Spears; 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; five McConnell-Kittrell family aunts and uncles and children and members of the Ponder family.

Cody's memorial has been set on his birthday for 10 a.m., December 21, at Journey Church in Norman under the care of Primrose Funeral Service. Please wear periwinkle in honor of the continuing fight against esophageal cancer.

The family would also like to thank all who donated so generously to C.A.R.T.'s annual Fill the Trolley campaign earlier this month. The family has now established an endowed fund with the OU Foundation to benefit the OU Stephenson Cancer Center's Patient Emergency Services Fund. Payments accepted online at or by check, payable to the OU Foundation, to Stephenson Cancer Center, PO Box 26901, Oklahoma City, OK 73126-0901. Please include Cody's name in the comments section of the online giving page or on your check.

Services for Cody have been entrusted to the care of Primrose Funeral Service,