Sue Tibbs to be honored in state House memorial service on Thursday

Floral Haven Funeral Home in Broken Arrow has released details of services for state Rep. Sue Tibbs of Tulsa, who on Friday night (April 5) died at the age of 77 after a long fight with cancer. 

Tibbs’ funeral will be Wednesday (April 11) at 2 p.m., Grace Church, 9610 S. Garnett Road in Broken Arrow.  Burial will follow at Floral Haven Cemetery in Broken Arrow.  

A memorial service, open to the public, will be held in the House chamber at 1 p.m. Thursday (April 12). Tibbs’ designated two charities for memorial gifts: Coweta’s Free in Christ Ministries, and Tulsa’s Women in Recovery (Family & Children’s Services).  

Tibbs’ support for Women in Recovery put her on the frontlines of policy transformation in Oklahoma.

In her last interview with CapitolBeatOK, Tibbs said she was intensely focused on “the prison reform area. Being able to recognize that some people have made mistakes and wish to have a second chance, giving them that opportunity and truly seeing these programs work, changing lives for whole generations.”

Tibbs was a leading advocate of criminal justice reform, including the package of “reinvestment” proposals aiming to provide alternatives to incarceration for non-violent crimes, drug treatment and diversion for addicts, and guaranteed post-incarceration supervision. 

A wave of tributes to the six-term Republican legislator spanned the spectrum of party and political philosophy over the past few days.

House Minority leader Scott Inman, a Del City Democrat, reflected that Rep. Tibbs “cared deeply about the people of her district and the people of Oklahoma. I have immense respect for her and her record of service. … I am reminded that Rep. Tibbs was devoted in her daily walk with Christ, and in her passing I pray that the Lord will grant peace and comfort to all she leaves behind.”
Republican state party chairman Matt Pinnell, also from Tulsa, said, “You never had to wonder where Sue stood on an issue, and I respected that. Sue represented the people of District 23 well, and she will be greatly missed.”
Governor Mary Fallin commented, Tibbs was “an influential and important figure at the State Capitol, and she will be remembered for the hard work and dedication she brought to her position as a legislator.”

House Speaker Kris Steele, who has said he considered Tibbs both a friend and a mentor, said in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, “Sue Tibbs was as dedicated and determined a person as you’ll ever meet. She was an incredibly effective, fair legislator who was widely admired for her strong sense of conviction and faith. Her determination was most evident as a passionate champion in the areas of corrections reform and voter identification in which her legacy will be forever evident. She was our colleague, but to many of us, she was the kind of friend anyone would like to have.

“Sue never complained or allowed her illness to get in the way of her service to the people of Oklahoma. She and I were elected together and often talked about finishing our term together. Serving alongside her was one of the great joys of my time in the Legislature. She is an amazing individual who touched and changed my life and the lives of many, many others. She will remain with us in spirit and her presence and influence will be evident for years to come. The thoughts and prayers of the entire House of Representatives are with her family and friends during this difficult time.” 
Elected in 2000, Tibbs was part of the last group of House Republicans to have served before the GOP gained majority status in the lower chamber. 

Note: Two photos with this story were provided by Peter J. Rudy of Oklahoma Watchdog. One taken in March shows House colleagues from both parties praying for Tibbs’ healing during one of her last days in the House chamber. A second photo taken Monday (April 9) is of the Oklahoma flag, draped over her now-empty chair in the House Chamber. Two other photos posted here show Tibbs at a Women in Recovery graduation ceremony held last year.