RAYMOND DANCEL GARY was born in Marshall County, Oklahoma. He graduated from Southeastern State College and taught school from 1928 until 1932, when he was elected Superintendent of Schools for Marshall County. He went on to serve as proprietor of Gary Furniture Manufacturing Company for five years, and later became President of Sooner Oil Company. He was a member of the Oklahoma state Senate from 1940 to 1954, serving as President Pro Tempore from 1953 to 1954. During Gary's gubernatorial administration, the state's public schools were integrated and a constitutional amendment was adopted abolishing state financing of segregated schools. Gary also worked toward the elimination of other racial restrictions in the state, which helped to prevent the kind of violence that erupted elsewhere in the south. Gary was devoted to improving Oklahoma's roads, and between 1955 and 1959 more than 3,500 miles of new highways were constructed and roughly 800 miles of the new interstate system were planned. Gary also established the Department of Commerce and Industry to promote new industrial development and a Water Study Commission to monitor the state's water supply and needs. In 1957, he chaired the Interstate Oil Compact Commission. After leaving office, he returned to his oil and cattle interests. He waged an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1964.

SOURCES:

100 Years of Oklahoma Governors

Oklahoma Governors Since Statehood

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. I. New York: James T. White & Company.

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.