James Doyal Hedrick, age 82, of Norman, Oklahoma, passed away Saturday, February 6, 2021. He was born July 17, 1938, in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, to Mary Adelene (Bowen) Hedrick and Walter Evan Hedrick, Sr.
Doyal lived in Norman, Oklahoma as a teenager and graduated from Norman High School where he played football and participated in the Navy JROTC program. Upon graduation, he received a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma’s Navy ROTC program. After two years of college and participation in the University of Oklahoma’s Naval Reserve program, he enlisted fully into the Navy and attended Navy Training programs in Great Lakes, IL and Kingsville, Texas. Doyal served 10 years in the Navy, ultimately achieving the rank of AT1 – Aviation Electronics Technician Petty Officer 1ST Class. He served in active duty combat during the Vietnam war aboard the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, as part of the Heavy Attack Squadron Thirteen (VAH-13) earning a Vietnam Service Medal and Navy Unit Commendation Citation and Ribbon. He also received the National Defense Service Medal.
During his Navy service, he met his loving wife Mary Ann (Moore) Hedrick in Memphis, Tennessee, while she was attending nursing school. They were married in 1962, the weekend after she graduated from nursing school, and enjoyed a marriage spanning 58 years. They raised two beautiful children, James Robert Hedrick and Mary Lynn (Hedrick) Murdock. James Robert Hedrick married Marcelle Hope (Grossman) Hedrick and they have two sons, James Douglas Hedrick and John Ross Hedrick. Mary Lynn Murdock has two sons also, Sean Murdock and Kevin Murdock.
Doyal and Mary Ann moved to Norman to be near family after finishing his military service. He worked for the State of Oklahoma’s printing department and ultimately retired after 30 years of service. He transitioned through a variety of positions ultimately attaining the position of Bindery Supervisor. A notable achievement was Doyal’s unique solution to repairing the collating machine, which saved the agency thousands of dollars and earned him an award from the Director of the Department of Human Services.
Outside of work and his Naval career, Doyal was active in his community in a variety of ways. His first priority was to serve his church. He was a member of Norman’s First Baptist Church for nearly 70 years. He worked in the church’s library for most of his years at the church, ultimately becoming the library supervisor. His love of books and learning was obvious by the care with which he attended to the needs of the library and by the countless hours he spent reading thousands of books. He loved books so much that he would mend and repair any that got damaged to ensure their safekeeping for many readers to follow.
Doyal openly lived his life and his love for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He always welcomed everyone with a smile and was always willing to lend a hand. Showing the caring concern of a fatherly figure to many, providing guidance as needed, demonstrating love for all. And for many, particularly college students, he especially enjoyed fellowshipping over a good lunch at a restaurant after church.
He was passionate about shooting, gun safety, and supporting the Second Amendment. He was an educator and leader at the Tri-City Gun Club where he taught proper gun safety and gun technique. He was a life member, certified instructor, and membership recruiter for the National Rifle Association. He was also a life member of the Oklahoma Rifle Association. He won many shooting tournaments both in and out of the Navy. At one particular Navy shooting tournament, he completely dominated the competition – earning ¼ of all the trophies granted. While serving in the Navy, he earned the Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal.
He enjoyed spending time traveling the globe. His Navy career took him to many ports around the world and he continued traveling the globe later in life with his wife. They traveled to Germany, Italy, Japan, Israel, Jerusalem, and numerous states and destinations in the United States – including Alaska, Texas, the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, Big Bend, Mississippi, Missouri, Florida, New York, and a trip to our nation’s capital, Washington DC. An avid historian, he and his wife enjoyed visiting historical sites to fully absorb the history and richness of each destination.
Doyal was an avid University of Oklahoma football fan. He had season tickets and never wanted to miss any games. He even walked to the stadium on numerous occasions, even in the Oklahoma heat and cold.
Doyal Hedrick had one of the most elusive, enviable and desirable of qualities, a natural and easy humbleness. He was quiet but not to a fault. Many who knew him used the word “kind” to describe him. In high school, his friends called him “Happy Jack” because he was so friendly and had a great sense of humor. He was always ready with a smile, a chuckle, and an understanding disposition. He was generous without extravagance. Doyal will be missed by all whose path he crossed.
Doyal was preceded in death by his parents, Walter Evan Hedrick, Sr, and Mary Adelene (Bowen) Hedrick. He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Ann (Moore) Hedrick; his son, James Robert Hedrick; daughter Mary Lynn (Hedrick) Murdock. He is also survived by his four grandchildren, James Douglas Hedrick, John Ross Hedrick, Sean Murdock and Kevin Murdock. His sisters, Ann (Hedrick) Van Schuyver, Monette (Hedrick) Marsh; and his brother, Walter Evan Hedrick, Jr., also survive him.
Flowers can be sent to Havenbrook Funeral Home. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the following organizations: First Baptist Church Media Library (211 West Comanche, Norman Oklahoma 73069) or Oklahoma Rifle Association (PO Box 850927, Yukon Oklahoma, 73085-0927).
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