Paul A. Tharp Jr. died on November 14, 2019 in Norman, OK. He was born September 1, 1938 to Martha (Mason) Tharp and Paul A. Tharp in Ponca City, OK. Paul lived in Ponca City through completion of high school at Ponca City High School in 1956. He started his college career at the University of Colorado in Boulder, but came back to the University of Oklahoma in 1957 where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in June 1960. After earning his Doctorate of Law in 1963 from OU, he practiced law for two years, but found that his passion was rooted in teaching. So, in 1964 he returned to school at the University of Wisconsin, completing his PhD in Political Science in 1968.
Paul was hired as a professor at the University of Oklahoma in 1967 where he began teaching in the Political Science department. During his 30 plus year career as a professor, he taught a wide variety of courses, with a particular interest in International Law and the Law of Public Administration. He taught both in Norman and internationally through the Armed Forces Advanced Programs. He also served as the pre-law advisor helping countless students attain their goal of attending law school. Paul retired from OU in the summer of 1999.
During retirement, Paul expressed his joy of public service and love for animals by volunteering for causes in and around Norman including many years walking dogs for Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, years preparing food and assisting with animal care at Wild Care Animal Sanctuary and serving food at Food for Friends.
Paul’s love of music was a theme throughout his life. He played flute and piccolo in the Ponca City High marching band. He continued his passion for music learning to play the accordion as an adult.
Paul is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Robert Tharp. Paul is survived by his wife Carolyn, his children, their spouses and their children including his sons Michael, Robert and John and his daughter Melissa, their spouses Gaylen, Jana, and Eric and grandchildren Curtis, Catherine, Elizabeth, and Julia.
Paul was a dedicated teacher and an enthusiastic student his whole life. His warm company, his entertaining stories and lively conversations will be missed.
A Celebration of Paul’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, 1801 W. Brooks St., Norman, with Rev. Jeannie Himes officiating.
Donations can be made in honor of Taffy and Sophie and the many other animals and causes that were a source of joy for Paul over the years. Please donate to Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, Wild Care Animal Sanctuary, Food For Friends or St. Stephen’s Music Ministry.
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