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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 14, No. 3
September, 1936

Page 365

Your committee appointed to draft resolutions on the death of our Brother, William D. Potter, which occurred at Ardmore, Oklahoma, on Wednesday, February 26, 1936, beg leave to submit the following:

William D. Potter was born in Gainesville, Texas, on August 14, 1876, the son of Judge Clement Clay Potter and Zella (Bogardus) Potter. His father was an attorney, who, winning distinction in the practice of law, was called to the bench and made a splendid record as a representative of the profession.

Having completed the public school course, William D. Potter continued his education in the University of Texas; later he entered Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tennessee, where he studied until 1897. He then completed preapration for the bar as a law student at the University of Texas, from which he graduated in 1896. The day of his 22nd birthday he came to Ardmore, where he has continued without break in the practice of his profession.

In 1900 he was united in marriage to Miss Lena Stoner of Gainesville, Texas. From this union came two children, William Woodson, a son, formerly County Attorney of Carter County, and Mary Helen Potter, who is now Mrs. Percy H. Johns of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Mr. Potter has always occupied a prominent place in the law fraternity of southern Oklahoma. He was a member of the Carter county Bar Association, the Okahoma State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. When he first came to Ardmore he was associated with the firm already established by his father here under the name of Potter, Ownby & Thomas. Thomas retired soon afterward, due to ill health, and the firm name was changed to Potter, Ownby & Potter. Ownby later became a United States attorney, and in 1910, Mr. Potter became associated with J. C. Thompson under the firm name of Potter, Thompson & Potter. Later, when Lee Cruce became Governor, and with

Page 366

his brother, A. C. Cruce, moved to Oklahoma City, Mr. Potter formed a partnership with W. I. Cruce. The firm name of Cruce & Potter continued until 1928, when Mr. Cruce died. Since that time Mr. Potter has engaged in law practice in partnership with his son, W. W. Potter and also in partnership with W. E. Cruce. In late years the firm has been W. D. Potter and his son, W. W. Potter. W. W. Potter was elected County Attorney at the last county election and served a year at that post, resigned in January of this year to return to partnership with his father, whose failing health made it difficult for him to carry on the affairs of his office.

One of the most inestimable services rendered to this community was the efficient manner in which W. D. Potter, as attorney for the Santa Fe Railroad, adjusted all damages growing out of the explosion that very nearly wrecked the city of Ardmore in 1915. The efficient and speedy action of Mr. Potter and his client in this respect was a great benefaction to the citizens of Ardmore. It has been said that Mr. Potter adjusted all claims in regard to said explosion, which ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars, in such a fair and just manner that no litigation ever occurred in the courts concerning the same.

Mr. Potter was a member and one of the directors of the Battle Springs Club and also a member of the Dornick Hills Country Club and the Chickasaw Lake Club. He was fond of fishing and sports and was an ardent fisherman. He was a member of the Rotary Club, the Elks Lodge and the Woodmen of the World and Beta Theta Pi.

The survivors include his widow, one son, W. W. Potter of Ardmore, Oklahoma, one daughter, Mrs. Percy Johns of Tulsa, Oklahoma, one brother, Roy P. Potter of Gainesville, Texas and a sister, Mrs. C. A. Kinnear of Seattle, Washington.

An editorial in the Daily Ardmoreite of February 28, 1936, fittingly pays tribute to him in the following words:

"No man ever lived in Ardmore that had more or truer friends than Bill Potter, and his passing was sincerely mourned, not only in Ardmore, but in this section where he had lived so long. Coming to Ardmore when the city was young, just out

Page 367

of college, he cast his lot with these people and remained a steadfast booster of the city and its interests to the last. Quiet and unassuming, he attracted people, and by his personality retained their friendship and good will, always.

As a member of the bar he was a credit to his profession and his ethics were never questioned. He was a student of the legal profession and did not lay aside his studies after he obtained his degree. He had filled many places of trust in the city and community and was often retained by some of the largest corporations in the State.

He chose the civil branch of his profession and only appeared in criminal cases at the behest of some friend. As a member of Ardmore's civic organizations he was identified with every movement for the upbuilding of the city and community and always found aligned with those who labored for a better moral atmosphere in early times when society was not the stabilizing force it is today. His legion of friends here and elsewhere mourn his passing and all agree they have lost a good friend and the city and community an honored and respected citizen."

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That in the passing of William D. Potter the Bar of Oklahoma has lost an able lawyer and a member that always reflected credit upon his profession.

And the Bar of Ardmore has lost one of its most honored, upright and worthy members whose example we commend to the younger members of the Bar.

His widow and children have lost a devoted husband and father and the community one of its most valued citizens. We shall miss his kindly presence and his helpful influence and we will not forget him.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That we tender his bereaved family and relatives our heartfelt sympathy in their sorrow and and assure them that we fully appreciate their great loss and ask the privilege of being of service to them in any way possible.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That a copy of these resolutions be presented to the District Court of Carter County, Oklahoma to be entered of record in said Court and that the Secretary

Page 368

of the Ardmore Bar Association furnish a copy to the family of the deceased and to the Oklahoma Historical Society.

DATED this the 11th day of June, 1936.

John M. Thompson
W. B. Johnson
Jno. W. Caufirer


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