Garnett Family endows scholarship at Northwestern

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Garnett Family endows scholarship at Northwestern

August 5, 2009

Dub GarnettThe family of the late Dub Garnett has donated $20,000 to endow the W.G. “Dub” Garnett Memorial Scholarship through the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Foundation. This scholarship is Dub’s perpetual gift of help for those who need it.

Any student with a 2.5 GPA living in Woods County or northwest Oklahoma may apply for this scholarship with preference given in business or agribusiness.

Dub's name will live on through the scholarship, and his son, Jerry Garnett, operator of the family-owned Garnett Oil Company, spoke of why the family chose Northwestern.

“The main reason for choosing Northwestern is that we, as a business, have been tied to the university, and they have been invested in us for a long time,” Garnett said. “Dad understood the importance of the university to Alva, and I think everybody does, or we wouldn’t have passed the sales tax like we did."

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This was a famous metaphor that Dub often used to talk about the hard work it takes for success, and that it doesn’t come easy. This is a phrase heard many times over, but for a man in northwest Oklahoma, it was a way of life.

Waldo Galen “Dub” Garnett was born in Mooreland in 1945 to Waldo and Rena Garnett. Hard work and perseverance were instilled in Dub and his sister from the start. Growing up on the family farm in Harper County, Dub helped his father with the upkeep and carpentry work until he was old enough to get a job. Every morning during his senior year, Dub would take the school bus out and pick up the kids for a little extra cash. He knew what hard work was, and he continued to work hard after high school.

He attended Panhandle State University for a spell and as he said, “graduated from the school of hard knocks” before marrying the love of his life in 1964, Bonnie Whittaker. They were married in the First Christian Church in Woodward and then returned to Buffalo where Dub became the assistant manager of the Ideal Foods Store. They weren’t there long before he was asked to manage the Ideal store in Shattuck, and then Enid. It was very clear in management’s mind that this guy had a knack for pulling struggling stores out of the hole. He was transferred to Fairview and then made his last stop for Ideal in Alva in 1971. They asked him to move once a again, and he respectfully declined because it was important to him that his four kids, John, James, Jerry and Julie, have a home and not always be on the move.

Dub began riding around with a friend on his bulk fuel deliveries for Conoco. Quickly, this became something very interesting to Dub, and in 1976, with a single bulk delivery truck, he started Garnett Oil Company. In 1977, he opened the service station and was one of 10 gas stations and about as many bulk deliverers in Alva. By the time Dub was finished, the corner of College and Oklahoma Boulevard was a staple in the Alva community. When he started, a gentleman came up to him and said, “Garnett, a lot of people have tried to make this corner work but nobody ever has. You’re gonna have a tough time making it work.” But make it work is exactly what he did. Garnett Oil Company is one of only a few gas stations remaining in town and now the only one that still does bulk delivery. When the going got tough, Dub just smiled and got right to work.

“You might walk into the shop and ask ‘Where’s the owner?’” Garnett said. “Well, he’d be right there in his overalls and a hole in his shirt; he wasn’t flashy.”

Dub was always working and at times may have come across as a little gruff, but he loved to joke around and was notorious for his “Dub-isms.” No matter what the circumstance, he could put a witty spin on it to lighten the mood. His outgoing personality gave him the chance to meet many people and allowed him to be a help first-work second kind of guy when it came to his business.

“That is why he was so successful in the service industry because he was a helping man from the start,” Garnett said.

In 2007, Dub passed away, and the stories started to pop up about how Dub had lent a hand. There is a story about how a little girl in Alva was diagnosed with cancer and for Christmas, Dub went to the family, gave them a card and walked away. In that card…$500 to help with the expenses for treatment. Another story was about a church bus that broke down. Dub and his crew got the bus going and sent them on their way without asking for a single cent for their work. There are probably still more stories to be told because being the helping hand was second nature to Dub.

“The last two years have been very productive,” Garnett said. “I like to think he was up there helping us along.”

By endowing the scholarship, Dub’s name will live on forever. There is no better way to keep his spirit alive than by establishing something that will continue to help the students of Northwestern, just like Dub would have wanted."

“Dub was indeed a friend to Northwestern and a successful entrepreneur for Alva," Dr. Janet Cunningham, Northwestern president, said. "This scholarship will provide a lasting memorial to the memory of Dub Garnett.”