85-Year-Old Runner Killed In Tulsa Traffic Remembered For Giving Spirit
TULSA, Oklahoma - A runner killed in a crash Monday morning near 55th and Yale is being remembered as someone who was encouraging, giving and faithful.
Richard Irons went to church every Sunday and Wednesday at St. James United Methodist, where he listened to Worship Pastor Willie Davis play piano.
"Sometimes he'll stay extra so that means I have to play extra long until he decides to leave,” Davis said.
A member of the church for 19 years, Irons always liked to sit by the window.
"He was always smiling. He was always serving,” Senior Pastor Josue Araujo said.
Araujo said Richard will be remembered for his giving spirit.
"He would always, after the meal, go from table to table taking people's plates after they were done, always very politely, always very much with a big smile,” he said.
The 85-year-old ran races in Tulsa and across the country. At 70, he ran the Boston Marathon. But his passion for running wasn't rooted in competition, or even fitness.
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“It was his time with the Lord,” Davis said.
Sometimes Davis ran by his side. Davis said Irons always ran at LaFortune Park, and he’s sure that’s where he was heading Monday morning.
"He would be talking a lot,” Davis said. “And I would be just huffing and puffing. In my head - I never told him - but I would say, ‘Richard let's just run.’"
He said Richard found a way to cheer on everyone he encountered.
"Whoever was on the track. He would encourage them in the middle of a sentence, and then he would turn back to me and carry on a sentence,” Davis said.
And while he was killed on the way to his next run, Davis and Araujo say as they reflect on his life, they have so much to celebrate.
"Life was enjoyable for him,” Araujo said.
Irons’ funeral will be Friday the 28th at 1:00 p.m. at St. James United Methodist Church.