Longtime Southern Hills bartender Isidro 'Chico' Medina dies at 88
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Friday, March 01, 2013
3/01/13 at 5:07 AM
Overlooking the ninth and 18th greens with the downtown Tulsa skyline as a panoramic backdrop, the view from the big lounge picture window never got old to Chico Medina.
In some ways, though, he enjoyed the view inside even more.
Every day, from his post behind the bar, the longtime Southern Hills Country Club bartender saw and welcomed some of the city's best-known civic and business leaders, who seemed to come and go in an endless stream.
Many became his good friends, and he knew multiple generations of their families.
But for all the different success stories those friends and customers represented, Medina never would have traded any of them for his own. A uniquely American tale, it was the kind that only an immigrant could tell.
A native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and longtime Tulsa resident who retired in 2002 after 40 years with Southern Hills, Isidro Fernando "Chico" Medina died February 20. He was 88.
A funeral Mass was held Monday at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church under the direction of Fitzgerald Ivy Funeral Home.
Medina had high expectations for his three children and emphasized education and hard work.
They learned well.
Louis Medina is now senior vice president of Stillwater National Bank of Tulsa; Jerry Medina of Norman is president of Medina Exploration, an oil-and-gas firm; and Lucy Medina of Washington is a pediatrician.
And they are all proud of their father, who through his work ethic, foresight and risk-taking paved the way for his family.
Medina immigrated to the United States in 1952. Hoping to build a better future for his family, he left behind his wife, Elva Medina, who was seven months' pregnant, and settled in Tulsa, where he had relatives.
Relying on their help, as he did not yet speak English, Medina soon found work at a grocery store. His wife and child were able to join him within a few months.
In 1962, again with the help of family, Medina was hired by Southern Hills.
Over the next four decades, he became a friendly fixture at the club's Men's Grill, where he made lasting relationships with staff members and club members alike.
Adding his own engaging personality to the general warmth and camaraderie, Medina got to know the members well and "had an incredible memory for names, children, who they were married to and who they used to be married to," Louis Medina said.
The members frequently met at the lounge in groups - or "you could just come by yourself and visit with Chico," he added.
A hard worker, Medina often got home late.
"But he never complained," his son said. "Southern Hills was like a second family to him" - and one that enabled him to better care for his own family, always his first priority.
Wanting the best for their children, Medina and his wife sacrificed to send each to Catholic schools and then to the University of Oklahoma. Their daughter graduated from Harvard Medical School.
"He lived out his American dream through hard work and his faith," Louis Medina said. "He loved this country and the opportunities it had provided for him and his family."
Of all the lessons he taught his children, the most important was how to treat people, starting with their mother, with whom he was still in love after 62 years, and extending from there to everyone else.
"He taught us how to live in faith and have dignity and respect for others," his son said. "He taught us to never give up on people, in particular the less fortunate."
Medina's survivors include his wife, Elva; their three children; 10 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Original Print Headline: Immigrant's American dream came true in Tulsa
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Isidro "Chico" Medina: An immigrant, Medina had high expectations for his three children and emphasized education and hard work. "He taught us how to live in faith and have dignity and respect for others," his son Louis Medina said. "He taught us to never give up on people, in particular the less fortunate."