I was born in El Paso, Texas. My father was Walter William Gragert, son of Herman Fredrick Gragert of Douglas, Oklahoma. I attended grade school and Longfellow Junior High School in Enid. I graduated from Enid High in May of 1957. I have lived three lives since High school. I lived in Enid after I graduated from Enid High. I worked at Enid Paper Co. Raney Davis Mercantile Co, as an assistant warehouse manager. I left there to work for Hackney Iron & Steel, in North Enid, where I was employed about 3-4 years.
I met Judy Loffland, a cheerleader from North High School in Wichita, Kansas. We were married at Indian Heights Baptist Church in Enid. We purchased a home on Chestnut in Enid and became parents of 3 children. We later moved out by Vance Air Force Base in the country. While living there all three of our children died from asphyxiation as a result of a terrible fire. After the fire we struggled with life without our children. It was during this time I renewed my faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized at First Baptist Church in Enid. We attended Calvary Baptist Church in Enid. We eventually moved from Enid to Wichita, Kansas, where I worked for Coleman Company about 2 years and later at Boeing Aircraft in Wichita. I worked on machined parts later Hand forming of Saturn Missile Body Shells. We still struggled with the loss of our children and were having some marriage problems even though we were believers. My wife could not come to grips with the loss of our children.
In 1969 we moved to Colorado Springs, CO. and lived with my parents about six months. We were active in the Northside Baptist Church. I began College at the El Paso Community College and later attended classes at Colorado State University/Colorado Springs and Regency College. I worked for Litton Industries and then Clifton Precision Products. About the time we purchased a home in Colorado Springs, I started working for Hewlett Packard as a Manufacturing Engineer. While employed with Hewlett Packard, God called me into the Gospel Ministry. I did pastoral and educational youth ministry for a number of years and was licensed in the Gospel Ministry in 1972. In 1976 my wife Judy was accidentally overdosed at a hospital and died within minutes. By this time we had become parents of two more children: one adopted and one of our own. When Judy died, the light of my life went out. I struggled with our two girls Jennifer and Mindy trying to be a mom and dad, but it wasn’t working very well.
After two years, I attended a retreat for singles at Buena Vista, CO. I met Peggy Jo Henricksen, from Harlan, Iowa, who was much younger than I. Late in 1979 we were married in Colorado Springs, with my children and parents giving full approval to our marriage. Peggy’s parents are devoted Christians also. In October 1986, I retired from Hewlett Packard. We put our home up for sale and left Colorado Springs with our children. By this time we had two more children: Martha and Daniel, making a ‘full quiver’. Peggy Jo and I attended Southwestern Baptist Seminary and graduated in 1989 and 1990. Since then we have served in Southern Baptist Churches in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. I have been in the ministry about 36 years including Bi Vocational Ministry. I am presently pastor of Washington Avenue Southern Baptist Church in Rocky Ford, CO.
I would love to hear from you. Because I did not return to Enid High School until late 1956, my picture is not included with the 1957 senior class but it is on page 97 of the 1957 Quill (Center Photo middle right). I’m the one standing up with long sideburns. I am also pictured on page 9 walking down the hall to class. Hope you all are well. If you are ever in the vicinity of Rocky Ford, CO, please come and visit. God bless you all. I hope to see you soon.