Cover photo for James Cray Meade's Obituary
James Cray Meade Profile Photo

James Cray Meade

June 2, 1927 — August 3, 2020

James Cray Meade

James Cray Meade, an energy and civic leader, died Monday at his home with family by his side. James was born in Pittsburgh, PA, raised in Uniontown, PA, and graduated from Portsmouth Priory School in Rhode Island. After enlisting in the U.S. Navy and serving as a radio radar technician, he graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology with a degree in Chemical Engineering, followed by a graduate degree in business from Babson Institute in Boston. He met his wife, Virginia Wood from Mexico City, while working in the oil and gas industry in Texas. They eventually moved to Oklahoma City and raised five daughters. James was an avid sportsman. He encouraged his daughters, later his sons-in-law, and grandchildren to snow ski, sail, scuba dive, and fly fish. Family was important to him. He organized many trips around the world, always with an educational component. He was a true Renaissance Man and could discuss almost any topic with expertise and enthusiasm. In 1957, James partnered with Snee and Eberly, from Pennsylvania, and his brother Bud, to create an oil and gas company, now known as Meade Energy Corporation. He was a well-respected operator in Oklahoma and instrumental in the development of the Arkoma Basin. His love of history, education, and art was legendary, which led to his generous support of George Washington's Mount Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Virginia and he shared a strong interest in the arts, and James was integral in the merger of the Oklahoma Art Center and Oklahoma Museum of Art. He served as the first president of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, then continued as a lifetime board member. Giving back to the community was important to him, and he established a lecture series that attracts speakers from around the world. He was honored with the Stanley Draper Award in 2011 and as King of the Beaux Arts Ball in 2013. James is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Virginia Wood Meade, and their children, Virginia Anne Meade, Oklahoma City; Margaret Meade Neely and her husband Jack, Tulsa; Susan Wood Meade, Telluride, CO; Caroline Meade Hendee and her husband Durward, Oklahoma City; Sarah Eleanor Meade, Los Angeles, CA; ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother K.T. Meade Jr. and his wife Marilyn, Oklahoma City, and his sister Catharine Meade Gregware, New Rochelle, NY, as well as his many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Margaret Cray and Knighton Tupper Meade, and his sister Margaret Meade Lambert. Services will be held on August 8, 2020 at 10:00am at Christ the King Church, Oklahoma City. For those unable to attend, see www.ckokc.org for a live stream. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. We will cherish his endless curiosity.
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Past Services

Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Christ the King Catholic Church

1401 NW 23rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73106

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