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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Royce E. Gauntt

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  • Funer­al services for Royce E. Gauntt, will be 1 p.m. Thursday, April 17, 2014, at the Sulphur United Methodist Church with the Rev. P.J. Stewart, the Rev. Billy Staggs and the Rev. Leo Potts officiating. Interment services will follow at the Lone Grove Cemetery in Lone Grove, Mr. Gauntt will lie in state at the DeArman Clagg Fu­neral Home in Sulphur, until 11 a.m. Thursday.
     
    Royce was born on Aug. 2, 1918, in Lone Grove, to the late John W. and Hattie (Ballew) Gauntt. He was the youngest of nine children. He died at Mercy Hospital Ardmore, on April 11, 2014, at the age of 95 years.
     
    Royce graduated from Lone Grove High School in 1937, and then attended Oklahoma A&M, and later went on to Tulsa Univer­sity.
     
    In 1940, Royce joined the Navy as a cadet and was assigned to the Na­val Aviation Program. He completed several Navy flight schools with exten­sive training in Norman, Oklahoma and Pensacola, Fla. In 1944, he received his Navy officer’s com­mission as a Naval Avia­tor. For the remainder of World War II, Royce served his country in the Pacific Theater at Oki­nawa, Japan, Saipan and Korea. In 1952, he was called back into active duty to continue flying in the Korean Conflict, Vietnam and the Bay of Pigs. Royce served his country for a total of 27 years as an Aviator in the United States Navy and in the Naval Reserves. He had been promoted to the rank of Lt. Commander by the time he retired from the military in 1968.
     
    Royce’s relationship with the telephone com­pany began at birth, and he worked the switch­board starting at a very young age. He was literal­ly handed the Lone Grove Telephone Company at the age of 19, because none of his siblings wanted any part of it. He wasn’t able to give his complete atten­tion to the company until after his years spent with the United States Navy. In 1956, his vision was to continue to give the best service to the current and future customers. Along with J.B. “Sonny” Bright and Jack Hester, the trio forged ahead, changing the name and expanding the Chickasaw Telephone Company to what it is to­day.
     
    Royce has received the Bill Barnes Award from the Oklahoma Telephone Association and is a mem­ber of the Oklahoma Tele­phone Association Hall of Fame. Royce was the CEO and innovator for the Chickasaw Telephone Company, and his direc­tion and leadership con­tinues today.
     
    Page 2 of 2 - His parents; and sib­lings, Nora Gauntt Al­exander, Guy Gauntt, Herman Gauntt, Dugar Gauntt, Geneva Gauntt Bigbie, Obed Gauntt Nye Scott, Jessie Lee Gauntt Kyle and Jonnye B. Gauntt Gardner, preceded him in death.
     
    Royce is survived by his family, J.B. “Sonny”, Sally and Lori Bright, of Sulphur; cousins, Herma­gene Smith and husband, Bill, Nelda Sue Burrow, all of the Dallas area and Billye Louise Nutting and husband, Bill of Denton, Texas; and numerous other cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as, his Chickasaw family.
     
    Casket bearers will be Dale Fitzwater, Fob Jones, Larry Jones, De Lannom, Larry Sloan and Billy Staggs.
     
    Honorary casket bearers will be W.O. “Bill” Young, Jim Young and the em­ployees of the Chickasaw Holding Company.
     
    Memorial contributions may be sent to the Oklaho­ma Telephone Association Scholarship Fund, 3800 North Classen Boulevard, Suite 215, Oklahoma City, OK 73118. Checks may be made payable to the OTA Foundation.
     
    Online condolences may be sent to www.hdouglas­funeralhome.com.

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