HOW DID YOU COME TO BE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“I first came to Muskogee as a preschooler for a two-week summer vacation. Then, I came back, stayed two years and became a high school graduate from Manual Training High School in 1965. Muskogee became my final resting place 21 years ago when I returned to care for my adopted parents, Lucille and Oletha Thomas.”
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
“My ‘free time’ is spent focusing on maintaining better health and wellness through zumba classes, walking, bicycling, weights. I’m also focused on preserving the rich and diverse history, art and culture that shapes Oklahoma. Since my work is also my play, my vocation has become a vacation of sorts, free from the rigors of structure.”
HOW DO YOU MAKE A LIVING IN MUSKOGEE?
“I have worked with the Girl Scouts, taught at Tulsa Community College and Rogers State University. Every day I am unemployed unless I have a paid contract to fulfill. My husband and I have a couple of independent production companies, which we contract our services in film-industry related positions.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“I love the friendliness of all the people, the architectural beauty of the city’s buildings, the diversity of neighborhood housing and the blending of ethnicities.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“More pride shown by residents in what Muskogee has to offer. I’d like to see an “I love Muskogee” grassroots campaign launched. A Downtown Arts District where glass blowers, pottery makers, musicians, poets, visual artists and other crafts and art-loving people gather day and night. Also, I’d like to see more jobs in Muskogee for youth and a lower high school dropout rate.”
IS THERE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE WHO YOU ADMIRE?
"Sue Harris, president of the Muskogee Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. Sue leads by example and practices what she wants of her staff, volunteers and board. She is a mentor and a friend.”
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
"Muskogee is a fun, friendly place where unforgettable experiences in film, music, theater and visual arts impact the quality and diversity of daily life."
Meet ShIronbutterfly Ray
HOMETOWN: Little Rock, Ark.
CAREER: Educator and consultant.
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences and psychology from California State University and master’s degree in education, specializing in early childhood education, from Pepperdine University.
FAMILY: Oscar Ray, husband, blended family of seven children.
CHURCH: Understanding Principles For Better Living Church.
HOBBIES: Community volunteer, photography, videography, founder of Script-2-Screen Independent Screenwriters Competition, website building and maintenance, and Facebook enthusiast.