Muskogee Man Is Oklahoma's 9th West Nile Fatality Of 2012

Wednesday, September 26th 2012, 2:14 pm

A 78-year-old Muskogee man died Monday from the West Nile virus, according to his obituary.

John Archer, who owned Archer Cleaners in Muskogee, was on the board of the Ranger Creek Yacht Club and Commodore of the Muskogee Boat Club.

Archer's death brings to nine the number of West Nile virus deaths in Oklahoma in 2012 and is the fourth case of the virus in Muskogee County this year.

The neon sign outside Archer's Cleaners was shining like always Wednesday, and stories of the man who started it all were being shared throughout the town of Muskogee.

"He was a second generation dry cleaner. Started in 1958, up the street," said John's son Greg Archer.

Greg said his dad spent 50 years of his life building his business and getting to know and love his customers.

"If his customers would call him on a Sunday and needed their clothes, he would come here and get their clothes. He was always putting them first," Greg said.

John was an outdoors man as much as he was a businessman, and he didn't miss the chance to get outside to hunt and fish.

"He loved to quail hunt and watch his bird dogs," Greg said. "He had a lake house on Ft. Gibson and he loved being out there in the outdoors."

Greg said his dad's hunting days had dwindled in the past few years.

In 2010, John beat liver and colon cancer after doctors told him he only had a month to live.

"He was definitely a fighter. He battled his disease," Greg said.

But over the summer, something hit John that he couldn't fight off. He tested positive for the West Nile virus.

"Two days before, he was mowing his lawn. He mowed his lawn and kind of felt achy and his bones ached, and he tried to tough it out a couple days. And my mom finally talked him into going to the hospital," Greg said.

John checked into the hospital on Friday, July 13.

By that Saturday, Greg said his dad could no longer speak, was partially paralyzed and had to be put on a ventilator.

"Looking back on it, I can't believe a little mosquito beat him, because he was a cancer survivor, also," he said.

So now, Greg said he will carry on the legacy and live by his father's mantra: Always live life to the fullest.

John Archer's funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, at the First Assembly of God in Muskogee.

Archer's Cleaners will be closed for the day to celebrate his life.


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