Bob Lemon, a native Oklahoman with extensive honors from organizations far and wide, is the recipient of the Angie Debo Civil Libertarian of the Year Award from the ACLU of Oklahoma. Lemon has been an ACLU supporter for countless years. He is a proud graduate of Oklahoma State University (then Oklahoma A&M College) and a dedicated father.

Many of the most joyful moments during Bob’s lifetime have involved the sharing of music with friends and family. Bob loves all kinds of music, especially the traditional songs, hymns, and anthems that provide him opportunity to sing from the heart with his tenor voice (a favorite venue: Sing-Alongs at the Golden Bee Pub at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs). His late wife, Mary Lou, was a talented classical pianist in her own right, who provided spirited accompaniment for singing at Lemon family holidays and other gatherings. Daughter Robyn is an accomplished flautist, with whom Bob has performed in church services and even a talent show or two. Son Chrys is a member of the choir at National City Christian Church in Washington D.C. All the Lemon children and grandchildren have a lifetime love affair with music, instilled from an early age by Bob and Mary Lou. Each December on the Winter Solstice, the Lemon clan comes together for a musicale (classical and holiday recordings) arranged by Chrys, to commemorate the life of Mary Lou, who lost her life to cancer, three days before Christmas in 2002.

Bob received several nominations for this year’s award, and ACLU of Oklahoma Board member Kay Samaripa summed up why she thought he should be the front-runner in her letter.

“I’ve been fortunate to meet many individuals who think right, act right, speak right, and do right,” Samaripa said. “Bob Lemon is most certainly such a person.”

That “rightness” is reflected in how Bob spoke of his wife of 52 years and two days:

“Sensitive to the needs of people, Mary Lou used many of her talents and resources throughout her life to assist individuals who had inadequate living conditions or who had been pushed out to life’s fringes. She often arranged for otherwise unobtainable medical services, frequently provided a place to live, and always offered her friendship. A Matthew 25 Christian with an ecumenical spirit, she especially valued the efforts of Mayflower Congregation Church’s 363 Group, which recognizes that people need help more than just at Christmas and Thanksgiving. She believed her faith did not require abandoning common sense, reason, and rational thought when entering a house of worship. An unabashed liberal Democrat, Mary Lou believed all people are entitled to both equal protections under the law and universal respect as children of God, particularly regarding the current controversies surrounding sexual orientation. She challenged her own and other faith congregations to become ‘open and affirming’ of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people and to approve same-sex unions and marriage. It became her life mission to understand and openly confront bigotry and prejudice in all of its many different forms.”

Bob will receive his award at the Bill of Rights Banquet, November 7, at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center in Oklahoma City. An invitation to this banquet for ACLU members is printed on the last page of this newsletter. For those who buy a sponsorship table, there will be a private champagne reception. We look forward to seeing our members at this great event that will also show our gratitude for a man that has dedicated his life to doing the right thing.

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