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April 15, 2014

Slaying of former Duncan doctor shocks friends

DUNCAN — The deaths of former Duncan physician Bill Corporon and his teenage grandson at the hand of a onetime Ku Klux Klan leader left the beloved doctor’s friends in Oklahoma heartbroken and shocked on Monday.

 Dr. Bill Corcoron, who spent more than 20 years in Duncan and Marlow as a family physician, and his 14-year-old grandson, were randomly gunned down on Sunday in Overland Park, Kan.

  Corporon had driven his grandson to a Jewish Community Center to audition for an American Idol-style talent competition when they were shot. Minutes later, a third person was killed at a nearby Jewish assisted living center minutes later by a gunman who  yelled anti-Semitic epithets, police said.

  The shootings left Corporon’s longtime friends in southern Oklahoma searching for answers.

 Corporon, 69, was remembered as a kind, well-read man with a dry sense of humor who was instrumental in the development of Duncan Little Theater.

  On Monday, while watching television coverage of the shootings,  Corporon’s former colleague, Dr. Chris Herndon, said he was brought to tears by the words of Mindy Corporon, the late doctor’s daughter and mother of the slain 14-year-old, Reat Underwood.

“She said so many things that touched my heart,” said Herndon.  “Particularly about what’s important , your faith, your family and ... it just made me cry. I hate this so much. I was in shock most of the day.”

Above all else, Corporon believed in family, said Herndon, which led him to leave the Duncan area in 2003 to be closer to his children and grandchildren in Kansas.

 “Family was everything to Bill,” Herndon said. “You just couldn’t find a better father, grandfather, husband. He was just a great guy.”

 Herndon said he particularly liked Corporon’s way with patients, describing his manner as down-to-earth. “He always spoke to them as equals and used terms they could understand. He never spoke down to them. He had a great, dry sense of humor,” he said.

Another former college, Dr. Doug Proctor, said he remembered Corporon as “kind of a thespian” because of his great interest in Duncan Little Theater.

He also recalled going to Corporon’s  home one night and realizing what a widely-read person  his medical collegue was.

  “He had one room that was just full of books,” he said.

Bud and Martha Burger remember Corporon and his wife of 49 years from their shared interest in the little theater, church and OU football.

“They had great voices and were good for DLT. We were in ‘Civic Capers’ together. They were always so positive, so energetic,” said Martha Burger.

 Dr. Jimmy Jones, like other longtime friends of the Corporons, said he was “completely stunned.”

 “It’s just hard to believe something like that can happen,” he said. “Bill was a good friend and colleague. He was a terrific citizen and a very, very fine physician. He left no stone unturned and if he sent you a patient, you knew that patient had been properly cared for.

  “He was a strong family man. He was articulate and could light up the room through his personality. He was so important in reviving the little theater group. We will all miss him.

  “I just watched his (oldest) son Will handle a televised interview and I was so impressed. He was so poised, so articulate as he talked about his dad, his nephew and the senselessness of what has happened.”

  Will Corporon was quoted in USA Today as saying, “"My father leaves behind a legacy of faith and family and community."

The gunman was identified as Frazier Glenn Cross who also goes by the name Frazier Glenn Miller, authorities said.

  He is founder of the now-defunct White Patriot Party, a Ku Klux Klan group that was based in North Carolina, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Witnesses said Cross screamed “heil Hitler” and smirked as he opened fire with a shotgun about 1 p.m. Sunday outside the community center.

 

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