In her 105 years, Aran Connors Priddy saw more than most of us could ever imagine.
Born in 1904 in Indian territory, she turned three years old a week before Oklahoma became a state. The only survivor among six children of a territorial judge, she lived to see not only World War I but also the invention of television, World War II, Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk, the Internet and Y2K.
But while the McAlester resident enjoyed a long life, her only child, Charles, did not. He died of cancer in 1970, when he was just 36.
That was when Priddy and her husband, Cecil L. “Pete” Priddy, started giving to OMRF in memory of their son. It was a tradition they continued throughout their lives.
When Pete, the longtime president of the First National Bank of McAlester, died in 1988, he left a $250,000 gift to OMRF. And when Aran died this past September, she did the same.
“Mr. Priddy was involved with several local institutions, including the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation,” said Norris Welker, the Priddys’ attorney for many years. “He was a real advocate for OMRF, and when he passed, he left some of his estate to the foundation. I think Aran was moved by his gesture, and she decided to dedicate a portion of her estate to OMRF as well.”
Having led a local philanthropic society and taught Sunday school for decades, Aran was no stranger to charity and service. Still, the couple’s total gift of $500,000 to support medical research will make an impact she scarcely could have envisioned.
“I can only imagine what someone born before statehood would think of the remarkable progress being made in our labs,” said OMRF Senior Director of Development Laura Lang. “I suspect she’d be awed by the cutting-edge medical research. But more than anything, I think Aran Priddy would be proud of the legacy of life-saving discoveries she and her husband have left for future generations of Oklahomans.”