Sen. Dewayne Pemberton released the following statement regarding the passing Monday of his predecessor Sen. Earl Garrison.
“Earl Garrison had a true public servant’s heart. From his military service to his long career in public education and his years of service to the State of Oklahoma, he always gave his all for his students, state and country.
“He dedicated a majority of his life working tirelessly to improve education in Oklahoma as a teacher, coach and administrator, and carried that expertise to the Senate. He had a calm temperament and was a man of his word, which is why he was so respected by both sides of the aisle. He also fought to help his fellow veterans, senior citizens and the disabled.
“Earl was a pillar in our community. He loved helping people and always had a kind word and smile for anyone he met. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor and friend. Our local schools, district, state and nation are better because of him. We will forever be grateful for this tremendous Oklahoma son.”
Sen. Dewayne Pemberton
Senate District 9
Former state Sen. Earl Garrison was born and raised in Muskogee where he lived with his wife of 19 years, Faye. After graduating from Muskogee High School in 1959, he served in the U.S. Air Force for six years before getting his bachelors’ degree from Northeastern State University in 1972 and his doctorate in education from the University of Oklahoma in 1976.
Garrison began his teaching career at Mid-Del Schools and then went on to teach classes and coach basketball at Oscar Rose Junior College (now Rose State College) where he enrolled the college’s first student. He briefly worked as an accreditation officer with the State Department of Education before serving approximately six years as superintendent of Fort Gibson Schools. He completed his education career serving as superintendent of Indian Capital Technology Center from 1997 to 2004.
During his tenure in the Senate from 2004 to 2016, Garrison held numerous leadership positions including minority whip, assistant minority leader and chairman of the General Government Committee. He served on numerous committees including Education, Veterans and Military Affairs, Tourism and Wildlife, Appropriations and Transportation as well as the Appropriations Subcommittees on Education and Health and Human Services. He was part of the historic Senate Class of 2004 that served both in the Senate majority and minority.