Jim Glover, Speaker Pro Tempore Emeritus of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, died Sunday in an Oklahoma City hospital. He was 74.
Visitation with the family will be held Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Becker-Rabon Funeral Home, 1502 N.W. Fort Sill Boulevard in Lawton. The funeral will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Elgin school gymnasium. Masks and distancing will be mandatory, at the family’s request. Glover’s large hands reminded one of Jimmy Dean’s, “Big John,” and his physique, his jeans, boots and cowboy hat could evoke images of John Wayne — but unlike the actor, Jimmy Ray Glover was a real cowboy.
“After he left the House, I was tremendously happy to work with him on helping the horsemen and Remington Park,” said former House Fiscal Director Greg Sawyer. Despite his gruff exterior, Glover cared deeply about his family and friends. After the funeral for former state Rep. Tom Manar, of Apache, who died in 1992, Glover emerged from the church sobbing uncontrollably.
Glover is survived by Linda, his wife of 55 years, his son Jamie and daughter Jennifer and three grandchildren.
A farmer/rancher, Glover served House District 65 in the state Legislature for 26 years, from 1977 to 2002, and was the Speaker Pro Tempore for much of that time. One of his signature accomplishments occurred when Rep. Glen D. Johnson was serving as House Speaker. A critical piece of legislation remained on the House calendar on the last day of the annual legislative session. That afternoon, Glover presided over the House proceedings while Johnson and other members of his leadership team huddled in the Speaker’s office across the hall from the House chamber, “twisting arms” in an effort to line up enough votes to pass Johnson’s bill.
As the clock in the House chamber wound down, with just five minutes remaining before the constitutional deadline of 5 p.m. to adjourn the session sine die, Johnson signaled Glover that he finally had the votes. Glover immediately went into auctioneer mode, deftly handling a flurry of motions from the House floor. Republicans made motions designed to delay or derail the vote, and Democrats made countermotions; Glover disposed of them all without missing a step. With barely a minute left on the clock Glover called for the vote, and the Speaker’s measure passed literally at the last second as the legislative session expired.
Glover was loved, respected, admired Glover was liked and respected by legislators from both sides of the political aisle. As word of his passing spread, condolences poured in from relatives, friends, former legislators and House staff members who worked for and with Glover.
Don Armes, a Republican from Faxon, remembered a time when he was campaigning to replace former Speaker Loyd Benson, a Frederick Democrat, in House District 63. “Jim called me and said, ‘I hear you’re running for office. Well, I’m gonna tell ya how to win. Knock on every (expletive) door in that district!’”
Former Rep. Ron Kirby, D-Lawton, described Glover as “a giant among boys.” “He was a good man. Wish we had more like him today,” former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who served one term in the state House of Representatives, wrote on Facebook.
“Jim was legendary around the Capitol during his 26 years as a legislator and was quite the mentor for me to have up there,” said Joe Dorman, a Rush Springs Democrat who succeeded Glover as the HD 65 Representative. “The man-made a positive mark on this state and he will be missed,” said Dorman, who is now the CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy.
“Of all the people I worked with during my 34 years at the House, Jim was my favorite. I loved that man,” said former House Chief Clerk Larry Warden. “When I first saw him, I thought, ‘Whoa! That guy’s built like a bear!’ But after I got to know Jim I realized, yeah, he was a bear alright — a Teddy bear.”
Glover was “a gentle giant and a heck of a good man,” said Shawnee City Councilor and former state Rep. Bob Weaver. “He made a difference.” Pat Paddleford, who served as Glover’s legislative assistant throughout his years in the Legislature, said, “It was an odd combination of city girl and farm boy, but it worked.”
“Enjoyed Jim as a student and later as a friend,” Elbert Bentley wrote on Facebook. “When he would come back to the Capitol on Mondays after a weekend of working cattle, he loved to talk about his ranch work,” recalled former House Speaker Steve Lewis of Tulsa. “He was a great debater, which made it very hard to vote against his position."
Glover was “a great guy to whom Oklahoma owes a debt of gratitude for many hours, days and years of loyal service.”
Glover was “a remarkable legislator, and one of the most memorable,” said former state Rep. Kenneth Ray Corn of Poteau, who is now the city manager of Anadarko. “It was an honor to serve with Jim,” said former state Rep. Joe Sweeden of Pawhuska.
“Jim was a great legislator and a great leader,” Sawyer said. “He knew the ins and outs of the process and how to get the people’s business done. He knew his colleagues in and out, too. He was a fixture when I worked on the House staff, and he was a great person to learn from.” Glover was “one of a kind,” wrote Robin Maxey. “He was a good friend to have.”