This is a hallmark year for 2008 Alumni Ambassador Hall of Fame inductees Jimmie and Carrie Lou Draper–they are celebrating 50 years of marriage. The honorees were able to meet the first time in the middle 1950s at the American Theater in Guymon (now Guymon Community Theatre) because Jimmie had been recruited from Northern Oklahoma Junior College to play basketball at Panhandle A&M College. The panhandle, already for home for Carrie Lou Langston, would become the adopted of home of Jimmie Draper.
Because Guymon lacked a hospital, Carrie Lou Langston was born in Liberal, Kansas, in 1937 to James and Mary Langston. Her father was a prominent Guymon businessman, owning the Buick dealership and being a charter member of the Guymon Good Roads Club, later to be the Guymon Chamber of Commerce. James was the C of C”s first president. Carrie Lou attended Guymon schools, graduating in 1955. While in school she played French horn in the band, and was a majorette and later drum major in the marching band. In her senior year Carrie Lou was selected to be the teenage Pioneer Day Parade Queen. And by this time she had met her future husband, Jimmie Draper, following him to PAMC where she enrolled for her freshman year.
Jimmie L. Draper, the first and only child of Leo and Alice Draper, was born in Orlando, Okla., weighing a very substantial 15 pounds. He attended a two-room country school through the fourth grade before his family moved to Mulhall. Because of an undiagnosed illness of Jimmie’s father, the Drapers moved to Roswell, N.M,. for its drier climate, living in a tent while there. Eventually they would go the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for a definitive diagnosis of a very rare disease. The family returned to Oklahoma, settling in Marshall, where Jimmie and his mother would operate a service station while the health of Jimmie’s father gradually improved. Jimmie was graduated from high school in Marshall in 1952. That fall he began college at NOJC, but only spent one year there before migrating to PAMC to play basketball for Oscar Williams, his former high school coach. Jimmie also entered the R.O.T.C. program and joined the Army Reserve in Guymon. He attended classes in the morning and worked afternoons constructing Guymon Cablevision.
Jimmie Draper was graduated from PAMC in the summer of 1956. He then went on active duty with the Army, completing basic training at Fort Chaffee, Ark. In the fall of 1956 Jimmie was posted to Fort Hancock, N.J. That same fall, Carrie Lou Langston transferred to University of Oklahoma where she was initiated into Delta Delta Delta sorority. Her college experience was interrupted in January, 1958, when fiancé Jimmie retuned to Oklahoma on leave. With no prior notice, in one week’s time Jimmie and Carrie Lou were married on a Saturday night in a candlelight service at the Methodist Church. By Monday morning they were packed and on the road to New Jersey before Jimmie’s furlough expired.
When Jimmie had completed his commitment to Uncle Sam, the Drapers returned to Guymon where Jimmie worked at the D&J clothing store and the American Soil Conservation Service, and began farming at night. Meanwhile Carrie Lou worked at Esther’s dress shop and then the Methodist Church. Their family grew with the arrival of daughter Lisa in 1960, followed in 1963 by son Kerrick, and a second son, Garrett, in 1966. All three children attended Guymon schools. Lisa attended OPSU and West Texas State University, becoming a dental hygienist, though currently working for a law firm in Amarillo, Texas. Kerrick was graduated from WTSU, and is a mortgage advisor with PHH Mortgage Services. Tragedy struck the Drapers, though, when son Garrett was killed in 1987 in a car wreck while returning to OU.
Over the years, Carrie Lou has been the traditional mother and community member: Brownie Scout leader, Cub Scout Den Mother, Sunday School and Bible School teacher, church choir member, and leader of Methodist Youth. She has served on various committees and local boards, and chaired the Oklahoma Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser. She also served as a fashion consultant.
Jimmie Draper operates the family business, Draper Farms, and is a strong supporter of community activities, particularly OPSU. He is often seen at university events, including basketball games, cultural events, and the annual Paul Farrell Dinner and Art Auction. He is a member of the OPSU Images Booster Club, supporting the OPSU art students, and serves on the OPSU Advisory Committee. In addition, Jimmie is a member of the Guymon Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Economic Development Committee, and the Panhandle Historical Society. He has coached Kids Inc. football and basketball, and served on the Guymon Centennial Committee.
The Drapers have generously allowed community groups to use the “museum” building at Draper Farms for banquets and other social functions. Jimmie and Carrie Lou hosted the PAMC Class of 1956 reunion dinner and social. They are rightfully proud of the private museum that houses and displays antique autos, farm machinery and implements, and antiques specific to the Oklahoma panhandle.
In the words of their nominator, the Drapers are “strong supporters of both the alumni association and the (Panhandle State) foundation, both financially and with the things they do.” Their employment of OPSU students on a regular basis provides another and significant type of support of OPSU and its mission.