Landscapes 08

Paul Lee Belew

August 21, 1938 ~ December 15, 2021 (age 83)


Paul Belew was born August 21, 1938 in Woodward, Oklahoma as the second child of parents, Hershel and Blix Belew, and a sister, Lou Jean. He attended Woodward Public Schools graduating in 1956. He attended three semesters of college at Panhandle A&M in Goodwell, Oklahoma. He married Jackie Swenson in August 1958 and in this marriage were three children, Tammy, Tony, and Terry. The family were members of the First Presbyterian Church and were active in the church functions. Paul also served as an elder for a few years.

For several years Paul worked with his father in his office and school supply business, H. L. Belew, Inc., located in downtown Woodward. His father started cleaning and selling used typewriters after the war and later moved into office and school supplies. The business grew where he and his father called on school districts and businesses throughout Oklahoma. During this time in his life Paul received his single engine pilot licenses. He was a Mason and served as Worshipful Master of the Woodward lodge and District Deputy Grand Master of the state Grand Lodge. He was active in the Scottish Rite and Shriners, dropping his membership only after moving to Colorado. He also received his 50-year pin in the Masonic Lodge.

In 1973, Paul went to work for J D Hodges Trucking as a salesman traveling a lot to the Houston area. Hodges Trucking moved drilling rigs and heavy equipment. One of Paul's duties was keeping the cranes busy when they were not on rig moves–finding heavy loads to haul. The heaviest vessel they moved was 110 feet long surge tank weighing more than 300,000 pounds. The truck and trailer had 52 tires.

With the downturn in the oilfield in 1977, Paul went to work for Proctor and Barnes Construction, who built drilling sites for rigs. He also piloted their company Cessna 210 high performance airplane.

In October 1980, Paul married Billie (Nixon) Davis, who had a six-year old daughter, Stephanie. He raised her as his own and always considered her as his daughter.

J D Hodges had expanded into a drilling company with 25 rigs and in 1981 hired Paul to run a new drilling company, Fairway Drilling, which would be a separate company for J D Hodges' sons. In 1983, the oilfield almost came to a standstill and in 1985 the FCIC shut down Fairway's bank, Penn Square Bank in Oklahoma City. This caused many companies in Oklahoma's oil and gas production to close and Fairway Drilling was one of them.

Without a job and the economy in the area bleak Paul partnered with a propane company and started delivering propane in the Woodward area. Starting with no customers he built a good business and late sold to his partner. In 1993, he was appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma to serve as the Administrator of the Oklahoma LP Gas Administration and moved to Oklahoma City. During his time as the administrator he work with legislators and Oklahoma’s local propane companies to update the Statutory Laws and Rules to the safety standards required.

In 1995, Paul accepted a propane company's management job in Woodland Park, Colorado. Always wanting to live in the Colorado mountains, he and Billie now could live the dream. Two years later he took a security job at Womack's Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Shortly thereafter, he moved into the surveillance department as the director. This lead to Paul traveling to Womack's casino in Prague, Czech Republic to help set up their surveillance department.

In 2000, due to Billie's Alzheimer's, he took early retirement and moved back to Woodward. Billie passed away in 2006.

In 2008, his son Tony had a serious stroke and Paul moved to Las Vegas to help Tony's wife take care of him. Later with his own health problems Paul moved to Aurora, Colorado in 2014 where is daughter, Tammy, lived. Paul had decided to end his dialysis in April 2020 after suffering from the affect of Wegener's Disease. Doctors told him he would live a week to a month without dialysis and one year and 8 months later he passed away on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.

Paul lived an interesting life and seemed to advance to more responsibilities in whatever job he accepted. He was proud of his single engine pilot license he pursued as a young man and it shows he liked adventures. In his oil field career years he got to work alongside the famous Red Adair crew on an oil rig fire.

Paul had been researching the Belew family history for more than 40 years, which took him back eight generations to the mid 1700s. In 2010, he self-published his documented research in a 540-page book titled, Our Belew Line, with a copy accepted in the Library of Congress and the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution. He has sold over 200 books online and had become the go to person for other genealogy researchers within the linked surname families. He gifted a book to the Woodward Museum.

Paul is survived by his children: Tammy and husband Louis Sillstrop of Aurora, Colorado; Tony and his wife Linda Belew of Las Vegas, Nevada; Terry Belew of Woodward, Oklahoma; and Stephanie and husband David Moss of Ada, Oklahoma. Eight grandchildren: Joshua Clare and wife Jen, Ty Clare, Haley and Jordan Belew, Casey and wife Jackie Ziegert, Coby Belew, Makayla and Caleb Moss, plus seven great-grandchildren. One sister, Lou Jean and husband Stan Burleson of Floydad, Texas.

Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Hershel and Blix Belew, and wife, Billie. His ashes will be placed in Elmwood Cemetery, Woodward, Oklahoma at a later date under the direction of Billings Funeral Home.

Please see the link to their funeral home here:

In lieu of flowers, Paul requested that a memorial fund be set up at Billings Funeral Home in Woodward for the First Presbyterian Church, 721 Oklahoma Avenue, Woodward, Oklahoma, 72801.

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