Douglas Ray Tolliver, Sr., age 68, passed peacefully from this life March 5, 2020 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Douglas, known as “Doug” to his friends, “Ray” to his siblings, “Dad” to his children, “Uncle Ray” to his nieces and nephews, and “Papa” to his grandchildren, was born April 22, 1951 in Knoxville, Tennessee to Charles Pat Tolliver and Bernice Vera Brown (Gilbert). Doug was baptized by Reverend Jasper Walden in Cove Lake in Caryville, TN in 1980.
Doug spent some of his childhood in Knoxville before moving to Independence, Kentucky where he attended Simon Kenton High School. He voluntarily enlisted in the United States Army on October 31, 1968 at just seventeen years old during a time when young men were being drafted. After basic training and advanced individual training, Doug met Karen Talbert his first wife, and the mother of his children. Doug and Karen were married on April 22, 1969 and Doug was later stationed in Okinawa, before deploying to Qui Nho’n Vietnam where he served with the 359th Transportation Company. After returning from Vietnam, Doug continued to serve in the United States Army at various duty stations to include Fort Richardson, Alaska; West Point, New York; Fort Wainwright, Alaska; and Fort Ord, California, where each of his four children were born.
In 1979, Doug left active military service, but continued to serve in the Tennessee Army National Guard while studying to obtain a certificate in heating and air conditioning. During this time, Doug was called to preach the gospel. He attended the West Walden Street Church of God, where he served as a Deacon and drove the church bus, encouraging children to attend having “dollar days” and offering one dollar to each child who rode the bus to church. Doug worked in the heating and air industry for five years before moving to Oklahoma where he was reentered active military service in the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Doug retired from the Oklahoma Army National Guard in December 1993.
After retiring from military service, Doug obtained his Master of Science Degree in Business from Southern Nazarene University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. His youngest child, Heather Lynn, was added to the family upon his marriage to Dawn in 1993. He was the first member of his family to obtain any level of college education and his achievement inspired his own children and grandchildren by showing them what was possible. Doug went on to work for the State of Oklahoma Department of Corrections before becoming a mechanical contractor and starting his own heating and air conditioning business.
Doug spent the last thirteen years of his life, with his loving companion and friend, Stacy Coe. He eventually “retired” but never really retired and continued to work as long as he was physically able. He worked hard every day of his life and set an excellent example for all his children and grandchildren. He served his community, volunteering his time and/or labor at the Regional Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Oklahoma, and the Wonderfully Made Foundation.
Doug was one of those people who knew how to do just about anything. He was not only a jack of all trades, he actually mastered them all. He served in the army, but he cursed like a sailor. He treated his daughters no differently that he treated his sons—they can all change a tire, install a lighting fixture, repair a plumbing leak, or build a wall. He didn’t place much value on material things—it was the moments that mattered to him. He was a child abuse survivor who saved his own children by breaking the cycle of abuse. He enjoyed gardening and doing various projects with his children, he loved planting irises and lilies in his garden, he loved playing bingo, he loved animals—particularly dogs, squirrels, and birds--and he loved his family and friends. He was dearly loved and will be sorely missed. We are all better for having had him in our lives.
Doug was preceded in passing by his parents, Charles Pat Tolliver and Bernice Vera Brown (Gilbert), siblings: Charles Tolliver and Connie Starkweather, grandchildren: Mayzie and Eva Gurwitch and Madeline Tolliver, nephew: Major Douglas Ray Solan and niece: Tamulen Eulene Solan.
Those left to continue his legacy include his loving friend and companion, Stacy Coe, his two sons: Douglas Ray Tolliver, Jr. (Mary) and Jason Matthew Tolliver. Daughters: Shannon Melissa (Tolliver) Gurwitch (Jeffery), Leslie Michelle (Tolliver) NesSmith (Chad), and Heather Lynn. His brother Jerry Tolliver and brother-in-law Lee Starkweather. Sisters: Karen (Tolliver) Solan (Richard) and Angie Tolliver. Nephew: Shane Tolliver. Nieces: Kelly Lasalle, Tracy Lovan (Brad) and Danielle Donahue (Shawn). Grandchildren: Able Blaker (April), Jernigan Newell, Julian French, Alexei Newell (Alexa), Alvin Blaker, Channing NesSmith, Caelan Tolliver, Gracey Gurwitch, Jesly Tolliver, Landon NesSmith, Ethan Gurwitch, Dylan Tefteller, Jimmy Weaver, Kelsy Tolliver, Douglas Ray Tolliver lll, Alby Tolliver and Noah NesSMith. Doug is also survived by a host of other loving nieces, nephews, extended family and friends, and by his beloved dogs who will also miss him dearly, Daisy Lynn and Bandit.
Visitation is 4:00pm to 8:00pm, Monday, March 9, 2020 at Resthaven Funeral Home & Memory Gardens, 500 S.W. 104th St. Oklahoma City, OK 73139. Services to honor Doug’s life are 10:00am, Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at the Chapel at Resthaven. Interment will follow at Fort Sill National Cemetery in Elgin where military honors will be rendered by the United States Army. Condolences may be shared at www.ResthavenOKC.com.
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