2022 Legacy Hall of Fame
The Bartlesville Community Foundation will again recognize the impactful contributions of three local families during its annual Legacy Hall of Fame gala. The event will be held on Saturday, May 14 at the Bartlesville Community Center. During the event, the BCF will present Legacy Awards to the Keleher and David B. King families. The BCF will also honor the Creel family with its third annual Heritage Award. Tickets for the event are available at www.bartlesvillecf.org/events or by calling 918-337-2287.
The Bartlesville Community Foundation will again recognize the impactful contributions of three local families during its annual Legacy Hall of Fame gala. The event will be held on Saturday, May 14 at the Bartlesville Community Center. During the event, the BCF will present it’s third annual Heritage Award to the Creel family.
Elbert Creel and his wife, Bird, moved from Independence, Missouri to Ramona, Indian Territory in 1899, eight years before Oklahoma became a state. On December 9, 1900, they welcomed a son, William Hunt “Bill” Creel. He was the first white child born in the Ramona community.
After graduating high school and the University of Oklahoma, Bill Creel was hired by Phillips Petroleum Company as a mechanical engineer. After a brief stint in Borger, Texas, Bill and his wife, Wilma, settled in Bartlesville where they both were very active in their community and church. Along the way, they became parents of two sons: William Gorton “Bill” Creel and Donald Hunt “Don” Creel.
After graduating Bartlesville College High School and the University of Oklahoma, Bill Creel (the son) worked for the H.C. Price Company in the pipe coating division in Harvey, Louisiana. It was there he met his future wife, Carol Lusk. They were married in November of 1951. Due to Bill’s work, they were transferred 26 times during their years together. Throughout Bill’s successful career that took him around the world, Carol and their children lived in Holland and England for five years.
Upon returning to Bartlesville and retiring in 1979, Bill and Carol devoted countless hours to the community and St. John’s Catholic Church. Bill served as the CEO for the Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce (1988-1991) and was instrumental in keeping the city off the EPA’s Superfund list. He also served on numerous boards and committees that included the Frank Phillips Foundation (Woolaroc), Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation, OK Mozart, Jane Phillips Medical Center, Junior Achievement, and Kiddie Park, just to name a few. In 1997, he co-chaired Bartlesville’s year-long centennial celebration.
Bill passed away in 2009 at the age of 80. Carol still resides in Bartlesville. In her earlier years, Carol was active in Service League, and supported the Bartlesville Symphony, and St. John’s Catholic School.
Like his brother, Don Creel graduated Col-Hi and OU where he met his future wife, Barbara Hill. The couple married in June of 1955. One month later, Don reported to San Francisco for two years of active duty in the U.S. Navy where he would earn the China Sea medal. In 1957, the couple moved to Odessa, Texas where Don began his 35-year career with Phillips Petroleum Company. After living in seven other states and raising son, Jeff, and daughter, Betsy, the Creels returned to Bartlesville in 1985 when Don was transferred to Applied Automation. He retired in 1992.
Don’s many civic activities included the Tri County Technology board, Biplane Expo, Arvest Bank Community Advisory Committee, Rotary, Sigma Chi alumni, Friends of the Frank Phillips Home, and Friends of the Bartlesville History Museum. He also served several roles at First Christian Church. Barbara was also active in the church and the community, including Service League. And she was known as Ms. Music on Tulsa’s version of Romper Room, a television program for preschool children.
Don passed away in 2017 at the age of 83. Barbara passed away in 2020 at the age of 85.
The Creels join the Arutunoff family and E.H. “Ted” and Melody Lyon as recipients of the BCF’s Heritage award. The Keleher and David B. King families will be honored with the BCF’s Legacy Award.