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Fetgatter comments on the passing of his father-in-law, former State Sen. Ballenger

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Scott Fetgatter (R-Okmulgee) today commented on the death of his father-in-law, former State Sen. Roger Ballenger, who passed away after a battle with melanoma. Fetgatter is married to Sen. Ballenger’s daughter, Kim.

“The loss of my father In-law, Senator Roger Ballenger, was a great loss for our family, community, state and House District 16,” Fetgatter said.

“I married my wife Kim 29 years ago and will never forget the day I went to the senator’s home to ask his blessing.

“After the initial shock, the good senator had a challenge for me before he would allow such an engagement:

“’The proposition is simple! If you will eat some pickled pigs feet, I will bless the marriage,’ he said.

“Those who know me know I am a very simple picky eater, so this was a great challenge. While I knew this wouldn’t go well, I persevered and downed one foot.

“This began a dear relationship I will value for the rest of my life.

“My father in-law always challenged me to work hard, be fair and take care of my family and community. Never be afraid to try new things, take risks and always listen to what people are telling you. Never forget where you came from and never look down on anyone.

“The loss of Roger will be felt all across the state.

“It was Roger who passed the bill to put a veterans designation on Oklahoma drivers’ licenses.

“His service extends from serving our country in the Navy during the Vietnam War to the Okmulgee City Council, as an Okmulgee County commissioner, a state senator to his current position of city manager in his hometown of Okmulgee.

“Roger was a Statesman in every sense of the word and loved spending his time with family.

“We (the family) talked today about how when he got to Heaven he immediately started looking for a committee or some other way to serve.

“I loved him and will miss him but value all of the life lessons he gave me.

“Little did I know the pickled pigs feet would change my life forever.”

Sen. Ballenger was 69 at the time of his death. He served in the Oklahoma Senate from 2006 until 2014, when he chose to not seek another term.

Ballenger is survived by his wife, Cimone, his daughter, Kim (husband Scott), son Clay (wife Jami), stepdaughter Lindsay (husband Brian), and five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at First Baptist Church in Okmulgee.

McIntosh County Democrat

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