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Cooperative mourns passing of trustee Jack Caudill


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ORTHEAST Oklahoma Electric Cooperative lost a good friend and ambassador with the April 16 passing of trust- ee Jack Caudill. Caudill passed away at age 67, following a long battle with cancer.


Services were held April 22 at First Baptist Church in Grove under the direction of the Worley-Luginbuel Funeral Home of Grove.


A longtime member of the Grove community, Caudill joined the cooperative board in 2006. He brought a strong business back- ground to the co-op post, having developed a good rapport with the community as owner of a grocery store in Grove.


“I’m just looking forward to being able to serve the community,” Caudill said upon his appointment to the District 9 post. “They’ve certainly been good to me.”


After graduating from Grove High School in 1965, Caudill spent the next four years working toward a degree in Business and Accounting from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He joined the workforce in 1969, beginning his career with an accounting fi rm in Miami, Oklahoma.


A few years later, an investment opportunity presented itself to cultivate a small chain of grocery stores in Arkansas. Caudill and his partners, at one point, commanded a workforce of 360 employees. He would spend nearly a decade gaining valuable experience in the grocery industry in the Fayetteville, Arkansas, area before returning with his family to his hometown in 1984 to be closer to his parents.


“I feel like my background is an asset to me,” said Caudill in 2009. “The electric business is diff erent than anything else I’ve been a part of, but the experience I have with people and numbers can be applied almost anywhere.”


The Caudills owned and operated the IGA store in Grove from 1981 until 1997 while Jack pursued his dream of ranching. He sold the store in ‘97 but continued ranching until his passing.


Of his years at the store, Caudill said: “I got pretty well acquainted with a lot of people.”


He added: “I’d like to think that I know this area pretty well since I’ve been here most of my life. I feel like I’m in touch with the


members here. They feel at liberty to address me with any issues they may have.”


Jack loved the outdoors and pursued many hobbies in his life. He was a Golden Gloves champion boxer, raced stock cars, rode motorcycles and loved snow skiing. He played pool, was a scuba diver and an avid hunter. He also received his pilot license in 1974 and loved to fl y. Jack was also a member of the Bank of Grove board.


Caudill spent his later years tending to aff airs at his ranch south of Grove. He and Juanita, his wife of 45 years, have two children, fi ve grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


As an individual who spent most of his life in northeast Oklahoma, a strong appreciation for rural electricity and the cooperative philosophy followed Caudill wherever he went.


“I’ve always appreciated the fact that we had electricity,” he said. “Years ago, if it hadn’t been for REC or someone like them, we wouldn’t have had service. I’ve always been partial to REC because they did serve the people who couldn’t get service any place else. We’d have never gotten electric out here without the


co-op.”•


June 2014 - 7


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