After 71 years of loving life and all it offered, Richard “Sonny” Puckett Jr. made his final departure to his permanent home in Heaven to be with Jesus, his Lord and Savior on Saturday, October 26, 2013.
Richard; known to many as Preacher, Grandpa, Short, or Sonny; was born August 21, 1942 in Muskogee, Oklahoma to Richard Byron “Pete” & Rose Puckett. One of four children, Richard grew up on a farm in Muskogee and attended Central High School. He met and married the love of his life, Oma Belle Taylor, on July 3, 1962.
Together Richard & Oma started their life in Spearman, TX where they had their son, Charles Robert. They moved back to Oklahoma and while in Coweta, they had their daughter, Mary Rose. Later they returned to the Muskogee area where he has resided in Oktaha for the past 34 years.
Richard was a charter member of Trinity Free Will Baptist, where on April 7, 1970, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. In 1978 he was ordained as a minister and has served ever since. Years later Richard and Mel Burns were charter members and co-pastors of Memorial Free Will Baptist Church in Muskogee. About 30 years ago, Richard and Oma found their church home at Liberty Community Church in Oktaha, where he pastored until his departure to Heaven.
Richard wasn’t just a dad to Charles and Mary; he was also a dad to Linda and James. Never in-law’s, always a true part of his family, Richard loved Linda and James as his own. He didn’t introduce them as his daughter-in-law or son-in-law, but instead, Linda having an Indian Heritage, was his “Indian girl” and James his “#2 son” – there wasn’t a separation, he lived out his words “families are united as one.”
Richard was also a proud grandpa and could talk for hours about his grandkids, about Robbie playing baseball, hunting and then serving his country in the Army – and about the Puckett heritage, carrying on with his only great-grandson, Ivan; Jennifer, his “Betty Boop” girl who he babysat when she was in her Betty Boop daily cartoon phase, then later was his pride and joy basketball player at Hilldale, and his first OSU graduate; Amber who was his softball star and who gave him such honor and pride when he married her to Joey; and Joey, his newest grandson, who loved and cared for him like his own, then as Richard said “they gave him two princesses,” Madison and Sophia; and then his baby girl, Jessica, who grew from being a purple Barney fan to his Oktaha golf state champ, then after losing Grandma she stuck by his side to forever be his and grandma’s “mess.”
Richard & Oma “adopted” many people in their lives; so it’s no surprise his favorite Bible verses are Romans 8:14-17. His recent spirit of adoption has extended his love to the newest part of his family, Bridget Tatum and Gregory Ullrich, who call him Grandpa. He attended Grandparents Day with Gregory and was there for birthday parties and important times when these two kiddos needed a grandpa and a mentor in their lives – a role model to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Along Richard’s path in life, he loved to support Oktaha Schools; the coaches, the teachers, and Jerry Needham, who he called his “friend.” He faithfully attended basketball games and other activities. Richard believed not only in supporting his own kids and grandkids, but also in loving and supporting all kids.
Over the past almost 20 years Richard has worked alongside his daughter, Mary Hess, at B-Sew Inn in Muskogee. A machine technician by day and her prayer warrior by night, Richard’s always been her biggest fan! He loved working on sewing machines, but most of all he loved the interaction with his co-workers, loved telling his hunting stories, and loved to sneak out on the floor to chat with his customers. The sewing world will miss him greatly!
Richard loved to fish, hunt, and in more recent years, he discovered golf! It wasn’t just a hobby for him, but also a fun way to spend time with his family. He loved fishing with Charles and rarely passed up a round of golf with James, Charles, Robbie, & Jessica. But if you were around him much at all, you knew his favorite hobby was hunting. In fact, he said “the closest place to Heaven is in the woods”, so it was only appropriate that he was hunting for the big buck when he said to James, “I just want to see one more deer….” then with a big smile, Richard went to see Oma – his favorite dear!
Richard is survived by his children, Charles & Linda Puckett, of Oktaha; Mary & James Hess, of Muskogee; his grandchildren, Charles “Robbie” Puckett, Jr. of Oktaha, Jennifer Hess of Houston, TX, Amber & Joey Glass of Oktaha, Jessica Hess of Tulsa, Bridget Tatum & Gregory Ullrich of Muskogee; three great-grandchildren, Ivan Puckett, Madison & Sophia Glass, all of Oktaha; one sister & brother-in-law, Patsy & Richard Smith of Las Vegas, NV; two special friends & brothers-in Christ, Don Burns and Duane Pittman plus endless loving nieces, nephews, family, & friends.
Richard was preceded in death by his wife, Oma Belle Puckett; his parents, Richard “Pete” & Rose Puckett; two sisters, Mary Ellen Willhite & Edna “Sissy” Puckett.
Richard would say “Trust in the Lord and don’t be sad, I’m with Jesus now!” Funeral services will be held at 2:00pm, Thursday, October 31, 2013 at Lescher-Millsap Funeral Home Chapel with Reverend Don Burns officiating. Pallbearers are Robbie Puckett, Joey Glass, Kyle Revere, Tommy York, Kelly Raper, and Michael Taylor. Honorary Pallbearers are Duane Pittman, Mark Sullivan, Richard Smith, Ronnie Watson, Keith Easterling, and Jimmy Taylor. Burial will be at Greenhill Cemetery.
Extra parking will be at B-Sew Inn (across the street from Lescher-Millsap) where a van will transport everyone to and from their vehicles.