Eddie Bayouth, longtime Sapulpa clothier, dies at 91
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Sunday, August 05, 2012
8/05/12 at 2:51 AM
Whenever she walks into a clothing store these days, Eddie Bayouth's daughter falls back into old habits.
"If any hangers are turned the wrong way, I'll turn them right," Jean Ann Thompson said, adding that she still can hear her father's voice expounding passionately on the subject.
A longtime Sapulpa merchant who operated Bayouth's Department Store, Bayouth used to drop by his daughter's store down the street, and "if he spotted one clothes hanger turned wrong, he'd fix it and then give me a lecture about the importance of appearance," Thompson said, laughing.
"Dad was a perfectionist, organized and very meticulous - and the absolute best teacher in the world."
With the Bayouth clan, that's how it always worked: one generation teaching the next.
At his store, Bayouth labored side by side with his wife, Mildred, and their three children, just like he and his siblings had with their father before them.
One of the last of a family-owned chain of stores that once dotted northeast Oklahoma, Bayouth's Sapulpa store closed in 1995 after 50 years in business.
Eddie J. Bayouth died July 30. He was 91.
A service was held Thursday at St. Antony's Orthodox Church in Tulsa. Smith Funeral Home of Sapulpa was in charge of arrangements.
Bayouth was one of 12 children of Solomon Bayouth, an enterprising Lebanese immigrant who started the Bayouth's chain, opening his first store in Collinsville in 1916.
It expanded over the next three decades, adding locations in Skiatook, Jenks, Sapulpa, Hominy, Cleveland and other towns, each run by one of his children.
Eddie Bayouth, after serving in the Army at Fort Sill during World War II, worked at the Skiatook and Collinsville locations but wanted a store of his own.
He and his father agreed on Sapulpa as a good location. In 1946 they borrowed $6,000 from the bank and bought a dry goods store there.
Bayouth made the store his own, and as his family grew, they joined in.
Bayouth's sons, Larry and Eddie Jr., both worked there, and Larry carried it on after his father retired in 1983.
Offering store credit years before the age of credit cards, Bayouth was famously generous with his terms, Larry Bayouth said.
"I've had more of his old customers come up to me and tell me how if they needed something he would see that they got it" regardless of their ability to pay.
He added, "One woman told me that when she got married her husband couldn't afford a suit for the wedding. So Dad just gave him one. Boy Scouts, too. If one couldn't afford a whole scout uniform, he took care of it."
Thompson also began working in the store as a child, originally making bows for the free gift-wrapping service.
She later worked the floor, and eventually when her dad bought out Nancy K's, a children's store down the street, she took it over. Later moving it to Tulsa, she ran it for nearly 30 years.
Eddie Bayouth was active in the community with the Sapulpa Jaycees, Sapulpa Kiwanis Club and other organizations. He also helped find a permanent home for Alcoholics Anonymous of Sapulpa, which led to his serving many years on the board of Cushing's Valley Hope rehab facility.
He was a founding member of St. Antony's Orthodox Church in Tulsa, serving on the parish council, and helping on countless projects, especially the annual Hafli Lebanese Dinner.
Eddie was the last surviving of Solomon Bayouth's seven children by his first wife, who died.
"We're really wrapping up a very strong family legacy with him," Thompson said.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Mildred Bayouth, and seven siblings.
Survivors include his three children, Larry Bayouth, Eddie Bayouth Jr. and Jean Ann Thompson; two brothers, Emile Bayouth and Tex Bayouth; two sisters, JoAnn Naifeh and Delores Sallee; 11 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Original Print Headline: His store was a family affair
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Eddie Bayouth was active in the community with the Sapulpa Jaycees, Sapulpa Kiwanis Club and other organizations.