May 22, 1998
I have some follow-ups to a few things that were mentioned earlier in these columns. Joan Stinnett, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Mouser, writes from Hurst, Texas, that she has enjoyed reading the articles on early-day Perry theatres and eateries. In one of those columns I described The Period, a drive-in diner that was built on the south side of town shortly after World War II by Chet Stoughton, who moved here with his family from Battle Creek, Michigan. The Period was kind of an early McDonald’s sort of place and it was quite popular, especially with local teen-agers. Mr. Stoughton’s daughter, Kaye, was one of Joan’s best friends. “Imagine my surprise,” Joan writes, “all these years later to run into Kaye in this area (Dallas). Kaye spent a lot of years as the high school librarian of our HEB school district when my sons were there. We still run in to each other once in a while at the bridge table. It really is a small world!”
In that same vein, I have a note from former Perryan Karen June Kay, who has been making her home in Hollywood, Florida, for about 12 years. Karen was an office employee at Ditch Witch before moving to Florida. But let her tell the story: “I work at Memorial Regional Hospital, in cardiac surgery. I am the data manager for the Society of Thoracic Surgery. It truly is a small world. Not long after I came to work at Memorial, I met a lady who is also employed here, who originally was a fourth grade teacher in Perry, Janet Lafferty. She is an RN who works at one of our other hospitals, Memorial Hospital West. She and her family are friends of Starling Miller. I share my Perry Daily Journals with her. Recycling at its best.” Karen’s youngest daughter, Lisa Hanger, is a senior at Perry high school and her oldest daughter, Jennifer, will be married on May 30 at the First United Methodist Church here. It was good to hear from Karen.
A recent column described the pride Perryans felt in 1938 when some of our citizens were near the highest levels of authority in Oklahoma state government. One of them was the late Bud Warren, who at the time was purchasing agent for the newly formed Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Bud later returned to Perry and eventually became a quarter horse breeder. His prize stud, Leo, was the talk of the industry before the animal had to be put to sleep in 1967 because of a crippling illness. It was erroneously reported that Leo died under mysterious circumstances. Quite the opposite. A front page story in The Perry Daily Journal on May 15 of that year reported the death of the 27-year-old Leo.
Reba Warren, Bud’s widow, says the newspaper did not state that Leo was euthanized, but that was the case. “I do not remember how long Leo was down in his lot and unable to get up,” Mrs. Warren says. “We made a cage and had a canvas sling made and got him up. However, he could not walk to get in shelter from the spring storms, but he continued to try, injuring his head. Bud could not stand this condition and let the veterinarian put him to sleep.” Mrs. Warren says some breeders did not approve of that, but the owners felt it was the humane thing to do. The old stud’s rear quarters were paralyzed. Leo had sired about 600 registered quarter horses, twice as many as any horse in this country. A champion racer in his own right, he was the nation’s leading sire of AA and AAA race horses. A life-size plastic statue of Leo is in the northeast corner of Leo East Park, which is named in his honor. The animal was buried in a gravesite some 300 yards south of the Warren ranch house.