John “J.D.” and Patty Karr had a well-earned reputation for giving. Together, the Vinita couple supported causes in their community and around the state.
When J.D. died earlier this year, his estate funded a trust that Patty and he created before her death in 2001. This month, that trust made a gift of $100,000 to OMRF to support heart and eye research.
Both Patty and J.D. suffered from heart and eye problems during their lifetimes. Before Patty died in 2001, she and J.D. already had a plan in place to leave a portion of their estate to OMRF. “My brother was well educated in the banking business,” said J.D.’s brother, Thomas Karr, of Claremore. “He invested his money well, and together, he and Patty earmarked funds to give to OMRF after they were gone.”
During World War II, J.D. served in the Army Air Corps and was a Pearl Harbor survivor. He returned home and learned the ranching business on Clem McSpadden’s ranch in northeastern Oklahoma. He was a Mason and a member of the VFW, the Rogers County Fair Board and the Will Rogers Round-Up Club. He worked as a banker and farm appraiser for Vinita Production Association and retired in 1986. He raised Hereford cattle on his ranch until he was no longer able to keep up with the work.
The Karrs married in 1960 and made their home in Vinita in 1963. Patty volunteered at the Vinita Public Library for many years, and through their trust, the couple left thousands of books and a gift of $12,000 to support the library.
Four years ago, J.D. was diagnosed with cancer. As his health declined, he maintained the plan he and Patty had put in place years earlier. As trustee, Thomas Karr delivered the $100,000 check to OMRF earlier this month. Upon the sale of the Karrs’ farm, a second gift will be made to OMRF.
The funds will go to support research in OMRF’s Samuel Roberts Noble Cardiovascular Institute, where scientists are studying how the build-up of fats and plaques in the arteries lead to heart disease and stroke. The gift will also assist OMRF researchers who are searching for new strategies to treat and prevent age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in the elderly.
“For more than 65 years, the people of rural Oklahoma have shared their good fortune with OMRF,” said OMRF Vice President of Development Penny Voss. “J.D. and Patty Karr are great examples of people who care enough to invest in research for the sake of others who will come after them. We are grateful to them for their foresight and their generosity.”
“Everybody knew John would do anything for his family or really anyone who needed him,” said Thomas Karr. “He and Patty had no children, so this was their way of passing on a legacy to generations to come.”