Former Tulsa Mayor Robert J. LaFortune dies at 97

 March 30, 2024

Robert J. LaFortune - the former mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma - has passed away at the age of 97.

LaFortune's death was reported by the local outlet News On 6 on Thursday, March 28, 2024. The circumstances of LaFortune's passing have not been made public.

"Mayor Bob"

If you are familiar with LaFortune, then you might know him better as "Mayor Bob." He served in that capacity during an eight-year period from 1970 to 1978.

To say that he was a major figure in Oklahoma politics would be an understatement.

To help put things into perspective, LaFortune has buildings, a park, and a tower named after him. He has also been inducted into both Oklahoma's and Tulsa's halls of fame, the former in 1975 and the latter in 1988.

KOSU reports:

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, LaFortune played a critical role in developing Tulsa’s highway system and secured money for the Tulsa Performing Arts Center in his time as mayor.

La Fortune's background

The local ABC affiliate, News Channel 8 Tulsa, reports:

LaFortune was born in Tulsa in 1927 and attended the University of Tulsa. He worked for the Reilly Tar and Chemical Company for five years, then later invested in the Reed Drilling Company. He also joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve where he served for 10 years and earned the rank of Captain. In 1963, he sold his stake in Reed Drilling and focused on investments and independent oil and gas ventures.

After his time as Tulsa mayor, LaFortune went on to serve on various company boards.

He also was a family man, with six children and 16 grandchildren - some of whom followed in his footsteps.

"My hero"

This would include LaFortune's grandson - GT Bynum - the current mayor of Tulsa.

Bynum has released a statement on his grandfather's passing, which has been reported by 2 News Oklahoma.

"I can’t remember a time when my grandfather wasn’t my hero. I am grateful for all I learned from him about faith, family, and public service," Bynum said.

He continued, "He showed through 75 years of service to Tulsa what a positive impact one person can make for the good. And he approached his work at the City of Tulsa as a public service, not as a political opportunity. He made a significant contribution to nearly every aspect of Tulsa’s community life through tireless effort because he loved our city so much."

Bynum concluded, "Even at the age of 97, he remained excited about the city that Tulsa is becoming and believed that our best days are yet to come."

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