Roy Gayle McCuan
Roy Gayle McCuan was born in Woodville, OK on Flag Day, June 14, 1933 to Laura McWilliams and William Wright McCuan. Gayle was the youngest of their three children including a sister, Mavis, and a brother, William Joseph known as Dub. Gayle was a quiet and observant child and demonstrated his creative and artistic ability by drawing on all the walls of his bedroom. This delighted his mother and years later she reluctantly took down the wallpaper but always kept one treasured piece with his drawings on it. Gayle grew up in Madill as part of a close-knit extended family including many aunts and uncles who were avid hunters and fishermen. One of Gayle’s favorite childhood memories was going to his grandfather’s home near Lake Texoma where he was allowed to hunt squirrels from the living room window.
In high school, Gayle was less interested in academics but excelled in both football and basketball where his 6 feet 4 inch height came in handy. After graduation, he served in the Army and was stationed in Germany. It was during peace time so he only had fond memories but being that far from home didn’t suit him. He could only be lured back overseas decades later by a trip to the motherland, Scotland, where his sister, Mavis, always joked they were descendants of witches and thieves. It was a long hike, but Gayle didn’t come all the way to Scotland to miss seeing the MacEwan Castle, which he later joked was only a pile of rocks and not even a very big pile.
After his discharge from the Army, Gayle returned to Madill where he married the girl next door, Mary Ann Sartin, on Flag Day, June 14, 1958. Their daughter Rhonda was born the next year, followed by their son, Randy in 1961. The family moved to Edmond in 1966 and have lived in the current home since 1972.
Gayle was a master carpenter and a member of the Carpenters Union Local 329. He designed and built the custom cabinetry found throughout their home. His creativity and talents weren’t limited to carpentry; he could literally build or fix anything. He built the retaining wall in front of their home using recycled pieces of concrete from a demolition site, decades before recycling and repurposing became fashionable. He also built the fish pond and waterfall in their back yard.
Gayle continued to hunt and fish throughout most of his life and went on many hunting trips to Colorado and Arizona with his high school buddy, James Nunley. He also passed down that family legacy to both his son and grandson by taking them on hunting and fishing trips and teaching them the skills needed and the understanding of only killing what you will eat.
Gayle was still quiet as an adult but had a great sense of humor and could deliver one-liners like a pro. He loved telling funny stories and could always find humor in even difficult situations.
Gayle became known as Poppaw once the grandchildren came along and he kept Reese’s peanut butter cups in his nightstand and treated the kids when they came to visit. He and Mary had a beloved peke-a-poo named Pookie, who also loved Reece’s. No one told Pookie that chocolate is toxic to dogs so he lived a long life eating them and passed away in 1982. Stories of Pookie still live on and one of the rooms in the family home is still referred to as Pookie’s Room.
After Gayle retired in 1996, he could be found working in the yard and taking breaks under the large hackberry tree in the back yard. He enjoyed visits from the little girls next door as well as their dog. As an avid gardener, he spent so much time outside that some of the squirrels became like pets and came right up to him to beg for treats. They obviously didn’t know about him shooting their relatives from his grandfather’s living room window.
Gayle passed away at the home he loved on Thursday, December 1, 2022. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Ann McCuan and their two children: Rhonda McCuan and husband, Michael Green, of Lakewood, CO and Randall McCuan, Sr. of Oklahoma City. Four grandchildren: Randall McCuan, Jr. of Edmond, Megan McDevitt and husband, Seth, of Oklahoma City, Laura Nelsen and husband, Daniel, of Norman, and Kayla McCuan of Oklahoma City. Five great-grandchildren: Jace Nelsen, Alaina McCuan, Jane McDevitt, Ransom McDevitt, and Fisher McDevitt.
Gayle is predeceased by his parents, his siblings, and his extended family of aunts and uncles.
The family wishes to thank the home caregiving team of Christy Wilson, Kove Beals, Rebekah Beals, and Cortlen Combs and the nurses of Good Shepherd Hospice, who not only made it possible for Gayle to stay at home, but consistently provided outstanding and compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Good Shepherd Hospice.