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Community Mourns Passing Of Cowboy, Activist Eric Rollerson

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Memorial marked for Eric Rollerson. Memorial marked for Eric Rollerson.
Marc Rollerson and Debbie Starling, two of Rollerson's children. Marc Rollerson and Debbie Starling, two of Rollerson's children.
Photo of Eric Rollerson. Photo of Eric Rollerson.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A well-known North Tulsa community leader was killed while crossing the street Sunday afternoon. Police say Eric Rollerson was hit by a pickup truck near 54th Street North and Lewis.

Rollerson was somewhat like a celebrity in North Tulsa. Those who knew him had nothing but wonderful things to say about the man who broke barriers in the community.

A cowboy, a family man, and an activist; those are just some of Rollerson's titles.

"His heart was so big. He was very loving and we're going to miss him," Debbie Starling said of her father.

Debbie Starling and Marc Rollerson are two of Rollerson's four children. They say he was a caring person and would give the shirt off his own back for anyone.

"Never forgot a birthday, never forgot a Christmas," Marc said. "Always made sure a card was in the mail that was handwritten."

On Sunday, Eric was helping a friend with his horses when one got loose. Marc said his father started to cross the street to get the horse when he was hit by a pickup truck.

That spot is now marked with a memorial in his honor.

"It was an unfortunate accident that happened, but was he doing something he wanted to do," Marc said. "He was messing with horses. I think that's the way he would have wanted it."

12/31/13 Related Story: Services Pending After Tulsa Leader Rick Rollerson Killed Crossing Street

Rollerson not only left an impact on his family, he also inspired many generations in North Tulsa.

Jack Henderson, a friend of Rollerson, said, "Everybody loved him, respected him and loved him."

Rollerson broke barriers by becoming the first black man in the city to run for mayor.

"It kind of gave me the ability to look forward and to hope one day," Henderson said. "Who knows I might decide to take that path because of something that he did."

His family says, since the tragic accident, they've received tons of phone calls from Tulsans.

Marc says he's not surprised by the mark his father left on the community.

"Could never get him to move out of Tulsa if his life depended on it," he said. "This was his home. North Tulsa was his community. He wanted to represent it well."

Rollerson's homegoing celebration is Saturday, January 11.

Police say the driver of the pickup also hit a utility pole. He was taken to the hospital.

Officers are still investigating if alcohol played a factor in the crash.

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