Gaines S. Ballew Jr.

1930 – 2021

Gaines S. Ballew, Jr was born in Cookson, Oklahoma where Lake Tenkiller is today on August 11, 1930. His parents were Samuel Gaines Ballew, Sr. and Clatie Lee Jolliff and younger brother William Cecil Ballew. He teased that he went to “Cookson University” before going to Central High School in Tahlequah, OK. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served in Goose Bay, Labrador Canada before going to Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas. There he met and married Barbara N. Mills in Del Rio, Texas August 22, 1954. He attended college at Northeastern State, OSU, OU and Texas State in San Marcos and ended up with a Master’s Degree in Education. While he attended Northeastern, he owned and ran a DX station in downtown Tahlequah. He taught in Buffalo Valley, Deer Creek-Lamont, Mulhall, Orlando, Selman, Buffalo and O.S.U. all in Oklahoma. He became Principal and then Superintendent of Schools until 1969 when he moved to Edmond as a Driver and Safety Education Coordinator and acting County Superintendent in Wagoner County. He was promoted to Administrative Coordinator in the School Lunch Division. He believed strongly in education and helped his wife, children and grandchildren attend college. He and his wife Barbara raised three children: Karen Tinsley husband Michael Tinsley, Gaines Ballew, III wife Pam Ballew, Connie Hamett fiancé Lance Clouse. Grandchildren who he loved and had so much interest in: Katie Hamett, Natalie Tinsley Penick, Kali Tinsley, step grandchildren Jessica Tinsley Smith, Nathan Tinsley, Lillie Roney Van Pool and Landon Roney. Great-grandchildren Aden and Zane Lanman. During retirement Gaines and Barbara would travel throughout the United States and meet up with Gaines’ military friends from the Air Police. Gaines enjoyed his family, the stock market, rodeos, football, baseball, basketball and figure skating. Family meant EVERYTHING to him, seeing his family succeeding and doing good thrilled him. He also loved seeing family photos on FaceBook. He was close to all his “unreal amount” of cousins, aunt, uncles, nieces, nephews as well as his wife’s family. He was known and adored as “Uncle Gaines” and can honestly say, he remembered all their birthdays. Gaines was gifted in Math and anything involving numbers. He could always remember friends, family birth years and make and models of cars. He learned to hunt at a young age, hunting deer, squirrels, quail and also, raised and hunted with his bird dogs. Everyone that hunted with him knew he was a near perfect marksman. He made it a point to never intentionally break ANY rules or laws. Always a true and honest gentleman and greeted everyone with a huge smile and a firm handshake. All the girls in our family will miss the “how ya doin’ sweetie” each time they’d walked through his door. He was very generous and will be a GREAT “miss” in all our lives, especially his wife, “Barb” who he loved and cherished dearly. In lieu of donations, American Lung Association, but personally this Dad of ours would say, for you to spend your money helping out others as well as your family and friends. Another scripture he loved and lived by was Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”


Visitation will be 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM Tuesday November 23rd, 2021 at Matthews Funeral Home. Graveside services will be held at 1:30 PM Friday November 26th, 2021 at Fort Gibson National Cemetery.


  1. Connie:

    I am so sorry to hear of your dads passing. I remember him well from our childhood days at Selman. Always such a nice generous man. I remember that big smile he always had for us kids when he would greet us at school in the mornings and tell us Good Morning. Funny how the simplest things in life (like a smile from someone you admire and respect) you never forget and stays with you always. Miss you friend and will keep you and your family in my prayers. Love to you all. Kim Morgan Heath Woodward, OK

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