William “Gene” Fikes, 79, of Geronimo, OK passed away peacefully Friday, January 8, 2021, in Lawton after a brief battle with the Coronavirus.
Gene was born November 17, 1941 in Brady, TX to Reuben Lawrence and Julia Marie Fikes, and graduated from Brady High School in 1961. He proudly served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Washington DC where he served in the Honor Guard and was a supply sergeant. It was there that Gene discovered his love of, and his knack for wheelin’ and dealin’. His knack for finding a great deal would continue throughout his life.
After his discharge from the army, Gene attended Cameron State Agricultural College in Lawton, OK. There he met Margaret Phillips Ressel, a young widow with two small boys, Greg and Mark. Gene and Margaret were united in marriage on January 28, 1970. Gene loved and raised Greg and Mark like they were his very own. Cory came along in July of 1971, completing their family.
Gene received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Cameron in June of 1970, and his Master’s Degree in Education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in July of 1985. Gene coached at Apache High school from 1970-1971 and at Savannah High School from 1971-1976, before returning home to the Lawton area where he coached elementary PE, and junior high and high school football, basketball, and track at Cache for 22 years, retiring in 1998.
Coach Fikes was named an Oklahoma All State Football Coach in 1995 where he coached the defense for the West. He was named the Oklahoma Coaches’ Association Track Coach of the Year for Region 4 in 1984 and 1994. Gene was the coordinator of the Southwest Senior Bowl for 27 years and the founder and coordinator of the Southwest Senior Classic for 16 years, retiring from both in May of 2016, when his last three grandsons graduated from high school.
After retirement, Gene sold sporting goods and equipment for several years for Baptist Sporting Goods, traveling all over Southwest Oklahoma to area schools, putting his wheelin’ and dealin’ skills back to good use. Coach Fikes always enjoyed keeping up with the coaches, kids, and sports in our area. He loved kids and he loved sports and touched countless lives in his almost 30 years of coaching and his years of working with student athletes through the Senior Bowl and Senior Classic.
Gene was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa fraternity and was a Master Mason for 52 years. He was an avid golfer, enjoyed traveling with Margaret, and got tremendous enjoyment following his nine grandkids to their dance recitals and sporting events (where he was able to do a little more coaching from the bleachers). He was a farmer and a rancher and a member of the United Methodist church of Hulen. Gene was a talker. He never met a stranger and loved to joke and visit with anyone he came into contact with. Coach Fikes loved to give nicknames and if you were lucky enough to ever get one, then you know you held a special place in his heart. Coach Fikes had many funny sayings too. And that’s a “true fact”.
Survivors include his loving wife of almost 51 years, Margaret, of Geronimo; three sons: Greg Ressel and his wife Elizabeth of Duncan, Mark Fikes and his wife Tamra of Marlow, and Cory Fikes and his wife Amy of Grandfield; nine grandchildren: Tyler Fikes and his wife Savannah, Kyle Ressel, Katie Verser and husband Casey, Cody Ressel, Lindsey Hintz and husband John, Kalyn Bower and husband Brian, Nathan Fikes, Tanner Ressel and wife Sarah, and Bradyn Fikes; seven great-grandchildren: Hannah, Jacob, Noah, and Rebekah Fikes, Claire and Caleb Verser, and Cleo Ressel; two brothers, RL Fikes of Chickasha, OK and Gerald Fikes of Odessa,TX ; two sisters: Louise Rhodes of Lawton, OK, and Barbara Lemons of Brownwood, TX; and many special nieces and nephews.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Billy Jack Fikes, and a nephew, Billy Ross Lemons.
Gene was a three time cancer survivor. Memorial contributions can be made in loving memory of William Eugene Fikes to MD Anderson, who he credited with saving his life – three times.
A private graveside service will be held Monday, January 18 at 2pm at Highland Cemetery in Lawton, OK, in observance of current COVID restrictions. A come-and-go public viewing is scheduled for Sunday, January 17 from 11:00am until 8:00pm at Lawton Ritter Gray Funeral Home.
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