Len Eaton

Len Eaton. Tulsa World file

Len Eaton, former Bank of Oklahoma chairman and chief executive officer and a longtime Tulsa civic leader, died Monday.

He was 85.

A service is set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday at All Souls Unitarian Church. Ninde Brookside Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

A native of New York, it was Eaton’s banking career that brought him to Tulsa. But from the time he arrived in the early 1970s, he was fully invested in his new home, heading civic efforts and helping build its business culture through the Tulsa Regional Chamber board.

In addition to serving as chamber chairman, Eaton was the first chairman of Tulsa’s River Parks Authority and headed its project to build the low-water dam on the Arkansas River.

He also served on and chaired the boards of the Oklahoma Nature Conservancy and the former University Center at Tulsa and was a nine-year member and past chairman of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

In 2016, Eaton and his wife, Patty Eaton, a former Tulsa city commissioner who shared his passion for community involvement, were inducted into the Tulsa Hall of Fame together.

Mike Neal, Tulsa Regional Chamber president and CEO, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Len Eaton. Having served as Chamber chairman in 1991 and a board member for more than 30 years, he was a longtime advocate for the regional business community, as well as early childhood education.

“During his tenure as chairman, he successfully lobbied for critical education issues at the state level. He continued his steadfast support of education throughout his career.”

Eaton grew up in the New York City suburbs of Yonkers and Bronxville. A graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Business School’s management development program, he came to Tulsa in 1972 to join the National Bank of Tulsa, as Bank of Oklahoma was then known.

Going on to become chairman and CEO, Eaton helped guide BOK during some of its best times in the 1970s, when it grew into the largest bank in the state, as well as through the bumpy stretch in the 1980s that led to the bank’s purchase by George Kaiser.

Eaton retired from BOK in 1991.

He went on to serve as director of corporate finance for the NORDAM Group and owned the World Travel Service travel agency.

To plant a tree in memory of Len Eaton as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

Tim Stanley

918-581-8385

tim.stanley@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @timstanleyTW

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