LW Nightengale or, “Big Daddy”, as he liked to call himself was born in a family-built four room home in Homestead, Okla., early in the morning on Oct. 22nd, 1931, to Christina and Tobias Nightengale. He was the fourth of five sons that Christina and Tobias would raise on 640 acres of property that the Nightengale family had homesteaded and purchased after the 1892 land rush opening the Cheyenne Arapahoe reservation. Louis and his younger brother Jack were sixteen years younger than the oldest brother. Because of this Christina referred to the two as her “second family”. Louis’ youngest years were during the Great Depression when tens of thousands of “Okies” joined the Great Migration to California and the Northeast. To hold onto the Major county farm, Louis helped by milking in a small family dairy, raised Dorset sheep, and drove a steel wheel John Deere tractor to plant red winter wheat in the fall. Despite the Depression, dust storms, and a tornado that took out the barn, the family held on. Louis’ older two brothers were called to duty in World War II. Louis recalled letters from his brother Emmett, a Seabee master sergeant, participating in the bloody US Pacific campaign for liberation in Palau.
Louis and Jack rode horseback to a one room schoolhouse with a dozen other students, independent district 162, until the ninth grade when he transferred to Fairview High School in Fairview, Okla. The family attended the Holdeman Mennonite Brethren Church. Louis showed prize winning sheep for the Future Farmers of America and was on the high school basketball team. He was interested in farming as a career and attended Oklahoma A&M for a degree in small grain agriculture and animal husbandry. After college Louis joined the US Army and was assigned to Fort Huachuca, Ariz., as a signal corps officer from 1953 to 1955. If Louis had known the war would end in an armistice the month after he joined, he might not have volunteered, but he would not have met Etta Sullivan. Etta was an administrative stenographer from New York working for a division of the Manhattan Project. Louis and Etta married when Louis left the Army in 1955. Louis was hired by Ralston Purina and the young couple moved to Ely, Minn. In 1958 Louis and Etta had the first of four sons and moved to Yukon, Okla.
Louis was accepted to Oklahoma State University veterinary school in 1958 and graduated in 1962. He and Etta moved their growing family to Ardmore, Okla., and he joined Dr. Charles Love at Town and Country Animal Hospital on South Commerce Street, buying the practice the next year. Louis and Etta divorced in 1981. In 1985 Louis married Ann Singleton, they blended their two families and can now count 20 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Louis owned Town and Country for 55 years, closing the practice in 2014 but continuing to be involved with Ardmore Animal Shelter until he fully retired. The original family farm has never changed hands and is now known as N2590 E0560 on Google Earth. He and Ann enjoyed family, travel, and living in Ardmore. He is survived by his wife Ann, brother Jack Robert, and his four sons Christopher John, Douglas James, Markham Lee, and Bradley Wayne Nightengale. He loved life and his family loved him. He died at peace early in the morning of Dec. 18th, 2020, and will be very dearly missed.
Posted online on December 29, 2020