NORMAN, Okla. – Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby led the April 23 induction ceremonies for the Chickasaw Hall of Fame, an annual celebration honoring Chickasaws who have made significant contributions to Chickasaw people or the Native American community.
“Tonight, we recognize five individuals who are not only uniquely talented and extremely successful, but who used their success to serve and inspire others,” Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said, addressing the crowd.
“Perseverance, integrity, servant leadership and selflessness are but a few examples of what make these individuals special,” he said.
More than 600 people attended the event for this year’s inductees, who included a longtime tribal attorney and Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner; an architect, provider of scholarships and the nephew of famed Chickasaw storyteller Te Ata Thompson Fisher; the founder and chief executive officer of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores; an internationally renowned artist and 2017 Chickasaw Nation Dynamic Woman of the Year; and a famed oncologist forging new scientific discoveries and techniques to treat and cure cancer patients.
“This year, our inductees demonstrate the power of selflessness and service,” said T.W. Shannon, master of ceremonies for the event, and former speaker of the Oklahoma House “They possess the qualities of strength, character and servant leadership.”
Brenda Kingery, Reford Bond (1877-1954), Jonathan C. Trent, MD, PhD, Hiawatha Thompson Estes (1918-2003) and Tom Love were inducted in ceremonies at the Embassy Suites Hotel.
Brenda Kingery is a celebrated artist and champion of women’s empowerment around the world. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she studied and taught in Okinawa, Japan. Mrs. Kingery uses her education and experiences to teach and inspire others. She is founder of Threads of Blessing, which empowers women around the world to develop artistic talents that reflect their own cultures. In 2007, Mrs. Kingery was appointed by President Bush to the board of trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“Brenda Kingery has continued the Chickasaw tradition of expressing our history and culture through art,” Governor Anoatubby said. “Her dedication to helping others is inspiring. As a founding member of Threads of Blessing, she has touched lives in Honduras, Uganda and Haiti. We honor Brenda for her commitment to representing cultures, her passion for art and her service to others.”
Mrs. Kingery said she learned from the Chickasaw Nation, her studies in Japan and her work with Threads of Blessing how art is an essential tool to keep culture alive.
“I am thankful to the Chickasaw Nation and those before us that have taught us the importance of learning our language, our history and our culture,” Mrs. Kingery said. “Thank you, and God bless you.”
Reford Bond (1877 – 1954)
Mr. Bond was the principal member of one of the first law firms in Oklahoma, Bond & Melton. He served as the National Attorney of the Chickasaw Nation during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. Mr. Bond served as president of the Oklahoma State Election Board and Special Justice of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma. In 1934, he was appointed chairman of the Corporation Commission of the State of Oklahoma, where his leadership helped guide and protect Oklahoma’s oil industry for 20 years.
“Reford Bond served both the Chickasaw Nation and the state of Oklahoma during crucial points in history,” Governor Anoatubby said. “He successfully represented the Chickasaw Nation in numerous cases in Washington, D.C., protecting the sovereignty of the Chickasaw Nation and securing the rights of the Chickasaw people. As Chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, he helped guide Oklahoma’s energy industry and usher in practices still in use today.”
Accepting the award for Mr. Bond were his grandchildren, Myron and Jay Bond, and Catherine Ware Bond Wootten.
“His life truly was one of dedicated service, both to his fellow Chickasaws and all Oklahomans,” said Mr. Myron Bond. “Our family is pleased that he and his distinguished accomplishments are now enshrined in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame.”
Jonathan C. Trent, MD, PhD
Dr. Trent is a leader in cutting-edge research and treatment of cancer. Dr. Trent attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the University of Texas. In 2011, he was appointed professor of medicine and co-director of the musculoskeletal center in the department of medicine at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Trent combined his skills as a researcher with patient care and developing precision medicine for cancer patients. His leadership contributed to breakthroughs in gene discovery that enabled treatment specific to individual cancer patients.
“Inductee Dr. Jonathan C. Trent has done great things for humanity from behind a microscope,” Governor Anoatubby said. “After experiencing the impact cancer had on his own family, he dedicated his life and career to saving lives and finding a cure. We are grateful for Dr. Trent’s career and the lives he has impacted through medical research and education.”
Dr. Trent said, as a Chickasaw, he’s been drawn to the natural world and the elements – particularly the wind. He said the wind can represent opposition, which has served to make him work harder, and can also be a helpful force at your back.
“I never could have accomplished what I have in my life without my family and my community at my back,” Dr. Trent said. “I would like to end by thanking the Chickasaw Nation for being the wind at my back, the wind at my family’s back and the wind that is carrying our entire community to new heights.”
Hiawatha Thompson Estes (1918 – 2003)
Mr. Estes was an architect and founder of the Nationwide House Plan Book Company, later known as Hiawatha Estes and Associates. He attended the University of Oklahoma and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He moved to California to design modern homes. Mr. Estes’ inexpensive, practical home designs were featured in newspapers across the country, reaching millions of Americans and, as a result, his homes are present in neighborhoods nationwide. He is a founding member of OU’s President’s Associates and financially supported more than 75 university scholarships.
“We honor Hiawatha Thompson Estes as an innovator and entrepreneur whose work had a positive impact on families across America. As a highly accomplished architect, his practical home designs allowed countless families to achieve their dreams of homeownership,” Governor Anoatubby said. “His contributions to home architecture can still be seen across the United States, and his generosity is still visible on the University of Oklahoma campus.”
Accepting the award for Mr. Estes were his sons, Brian and Ken Estes.
“His drive showed the Chickasaw spirit,” said Mr. Ken Estes. “He never lost sight of the fact that his success resulted from the values he learned growing up in Chickasaw Country.”
“He would be so honored with this award and our family is so very grateful,” said Mr. Brian Estes. “His legacy will be honored in perpetuity in the Honor Garden in that very special place so close to where he grew up in Sulphur, Oklahoma.”
Tom Love is founder and executive chairman of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. He and his wife, Judy, opened their first service station in 1964. Mr. Love pioneered combining gas stations with 24-hour convenience stores as well as self-service pumps. As of 2019, Love’s operates more than 480 locations nationwide. The Loves’ philanthropic giving has supported local and national charities as well as institutions of higher learning and they continue to give through partnerships with national charities, including Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“Tom love is a prosperous businessman and devoted philanthropist. He has taken his business from a small filling station in Watonga, Oklahoma, and grown it to become one of the most successful enterprises of its kind,” Governor Anoatubby said. “While achieving that success, Tom and his wife have dedicated themselves to philanthropic causes, supporting numerous local and national charities. They have also raised more than $30 million for children’s medical research.”
“The same qualities that define Love’s Travel Stops define the Chickasaw Nation,” Mr. Love said. “Since Removal to the west, we have stood together during the hard times, helped one another in times of need and shared victories, both large and small. I’m proud to be a Chickasaw and I’m profoundly thankful for this honor you’ve offered me tonight.”
Chickasaw citizen and 2018 Silver Feather recipient Pauline Brown led the invocation, Chickasaw citizen Noah Hinson sang the national anthem, and the Chickasaw Honor Guard posted the colors. Oklahoma Strings provided entertainment at the event.
For more information about the Chickasaw Hall of Fame, visit HOF.Chickasaw.net.