, Muskogee, OK

October 18, 2013

Former legislator Bob Ed Culver dies at 79

Tahlequah man remembered as dedicated, fun, down-to-earth guy

By Thad Ayers
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A former state representative from Tahlequah was lauded as a legend “who never met a stranger.”

Bob Ed Culver died Wednesday. He was 79.

Culver, a Democrat, served Cherokee and Sequoyah counties in House District 4 from 1991 to 2000. He volunteered at the Tahlequah Fire Department for 30 years from 1957 to 1987.

“He was one of the legislators that was helpful in developing our regional fire training center here,” said Bob Adrian of Adrian Farm Supply in Tahlequah. “He had the funeral home business for many years with his family. After he retired, he enjoyed his farm out north of town as much as anything.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who served in the Legislature in the early ‘90s, said Culver was “a good friend.”

“He took his duty to the state seriously and was dedicated to representing his constituents,” Fallin said in the statement. “He will be greatly missed by all. Please join me in keeping his family and friends in our prayers."

Current District 4 Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, said he worked with Culver several times on legislation through his business. Brown said he also worked with Culver before he considered running for office.

“Bob was just a down-to-earth guy,” Brown said. “He was fun to be around.”

Culver was born in 1934. He was a 1952 graduate of Central High School.

He graduated from Northeastern State University in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in education. After graduation, Culver went to mortuary school in Dallas for a year and returned to Tahlequah.

He owned and operated the Reed-Culver Funeral Home in Tahlequah from 1957 to 1976.

Prior to his time in the legislature, Culver also served as Cherokee County Civil Defense director and president of the Tahlequah Chamber of Commerce, according to a state House media release.

Culver chaired the House Committee on Corrections and served on the Higher Education, Humans Services and Public Health committees when he was in the Legislature.

In 2003, NSU named an area north of the University Center in Tahlequah the Culver Courtyard for supporting the school since graduation, according to a release.

Culver is survived by Jo Ellen Priest, his wife of 57 years, four children and 11 grandchildren.

Funeral services are 2 p.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church in Tahlequah.

Reach Thad Ayers at (918) 684-2903 or


Funeral services for Bob Ed Culver are set for 2 p.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church in Tahlequah.