Friends and colleagues from across the state continued on Monday to react to the unexpected death of state Rep. David Brumbaugh.
Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow, died Saturday at age 56.
At their first opportunity, fellow legislators paid tearful tribute to Brumbaugh on the House floor Monday morning. Meanwhile, his empty chair was draped with a state flag and his picture was posted outside the chamber.
“He was a friend and a patriot,” Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, said of Brumbaugh, whom he described as a man of great intelligence with a love for God, family and country.
Ritze, whose seat on the House floor was next to Brumbaugh’s, said Oklahoma residents never had to doubt where Brumbaugh stood on the issues and that he fought for what he believed in.
Joining Ritze in addressing the assembly, Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee, praised Brumbaugh for his passion for the Constitution.
House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, added: “David was a serious lawmaker, and he really believed in the work he was doing on behalf of his constituents.
“He was one of the kindest and most sincere men I have ever known. He had many friends on both sides of the aisle, and most who knew him held a deep respect for him inside and outside the Capitol.”
The state Senate held a moment of silence for Brumbaugh on Monday, as well.
Brumbaugh was elected to the House District 76 seat in 2010, succeeding John Wright, who left because of term limits.
Brumbaugh had been Republican Caucus chair since 2014. He also was vice chair of the House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee on General Government.
A successful businessman and civic leader, Brumbaugh ran for office hoping to cut government waste and spending while promoting fiscal responsibility.
As a lawmaker, he was a staunch social conservative, consistently lending his voice and votes in support of measures restricting abortion. He had also become a prominent supporter of transportation infrastructure, including the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.
Wright said Brumbaugh did well as his successor in District 76. Getting to know him, he said, “you could tell by his thoughtful discussions, his research of the issues and his approach to his responsibilities that he cared deeply about his service in the Legislature.
“He literally poured out his life in seeking to contribute to the quality of life his constituents would enjoy based on the public policy enacted by the House.”
Also remembering Brumbaugh on Monday was U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine.
“David … was a good friend,” he said in a statement. “He held consistently to his conservative legislative principles while maintaining great relationships with people of differing opinions. He never wavered from the truth.”
Brumbaugh was the president of Broken Arrow-based DRB Industries LLC, an air filtration and cooling technology company.
Before going into politics, he volunteered on various boards, including as a commissioner for the Tulsa City-County Library System.
A native of Abington, Pennsylvania, Brumbaugh held a bachelor’s degree in political science from Belmont Abbey College, according to his House member biography.
He was a veteran of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, and as a legislator he was a founding member of the joint House and Senate Veterans Caucus.
In a joint statement, caucus members remembered Brumbaugh on Monday as “a quiet, steadfast and principled leader, … the calm voice in the midst of the storm.”
Brumbaugh was an active member of Tulsa Bible Church, where he was an ordained deacon, former chairman of the deacon board, and a Sunday school teacher.
His survivors include his wife, Shelley Brumbaugh, and two daughters, Abigail and Hannah.
The family will be available for visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Floral Haven Funeral Home in Broken Arrow. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Tulsa Bible Church, with a graveside service following at Floral Haven Memorial Gardens in Broken Arrow.
Memorial donations can be made to Gideon’s International or Mend Pregnancy Resource Center.
— Barbara Hoberock and Randy Krehbiel contributed to this story.<&line2>
Barbara Hoberock and Randy Krehbiel contributed to this story.
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I am so sorry that your family is going through this. My husband died suddenly almost 5 years ago. Death is truly an enemy.
One day all that He worked for, a better life for everyone, will come true. What a blessing to finally see your life's work come true. The Bible promises better life, health, and future for everyone.
Again, so truly sorry for your pain
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