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Famous People from Shawnee

Updated: Feb 15

While Shawnee was historically a small town (we are rapidly growing, with a population nearly 32,000 as of the 2020 census), many of Oklahoma's best and brightest hail from the area or earned their education in Shawnee's local universities or spent a meaningful portion of their life and work in this historic city. While there are many more, here are a selection of the most widely recognized and appreciated persons who have called Shawnee home.

Prerna Gupta

Top 10 Most Influential Women in Tech

Gupta grew up in Shawnee, graduating from Shawnee High School and then Stanford. She is an investor, mentor, and advisor to many tech start-ups as well as a writer and CEO in her own technology companies. Learn more about Prerna Gupta.

Brad Pitt

Oscar-Winning Actor

This beloved, storied actor was born Shawnee, although he and his family moved to Missouri while he was still very young. He still has family in the area and is rumored to have introduced several of his famous girlfriends and wives to Shawnee's local favorite cafes and hangouts. Learn more about Brad Pitt.

Gordon Cooper

Astronaut & Adventurer

A Shawnee native, he went to space in Mercury 9 and Gemini 5 during the race to the moon, proving that humans could make the journey safely. He was the first American to sleep in space, and the last launched on a solo orbital mission. Learn more about Gordon Cooper.

Brad Henry

26th Governor of Oklahoma

Brad Henry was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the son of Charles Henry, a prominent judge and former state representative. After graduating from Shawnee High School in 1981, Henry attended the University of Oklahoma as a President's Leadership Scholar and earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1985. He was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. In 1988, he was awarded his J.D. degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where he served as managing editor of the Law Review.

Henry practiced law in Shawnee, Oklahoma before running for the Oklahoma State Senate. He served as a state senator from 1992 until he became governor. Learn more about Brad Henry

Aloysius Larch-Miller

Rights Activist

Moved with her family from Tennessee to Shawnee in 1903. In 1918 while battling influenza, she debated ratification of the 19th amendment and won; she died of her illness just weeks later, and Oklahoma ratified the amendment the month she died. Shawnee honors her through a park named after her located on Broadway. Learn more about Aloysius Larch-Miller.

Captain Robert "Bob" Lloyd Ford

American Hero, Author, Philanthropist & Businessman

Did you know Captain Robert “Bob” Lloyd Ford flew over 1000 combat missions as a UH-1 Huey helicopter pilot from July 1967-July 1968 in the Vietnam War? He and his brother Bill were instrumental in the creation of the Oklahoma Veterans Memorial that now stands in Woodland Park in historic downtown Shawnee. Learn more about Captain Ford.

Dr. Brewster Higley, VI

Author, Home on the Range

"Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam..." You might not know his name, but you definitely know the song. Higley penned the poem that became an anthem of the west. Shawnee is his final resting place. Learn more about Dr. Brewster Higley, VI.

Father Gregory Gerrer

Artist, Academic, and Collector of Treasures

Father Gregory Gerrer's colorful and adventurous life led him many places, entering the monastic life at Shawnee's Sacred Heart Abbey. Throughout his life and travels he studied, collected, and traded for art and his collection now resides in Oklahoma's oldest art museum, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. Learn more about Father Gregory Gerrer here.

Jim Thorpe

Greatest All-Around Athlete of the 20th Century

Considered by many to be the greatest all-around athlete that ever lived. Though no birth certificate exists, Jim referred to the Shawnee/Prague area, Indian Territory, as his birthplace. He was raised Sac & Fox and called Wa-Tho-Huk (Bright Path). Learn more about Jim Thorpe.

Robert S. Kerr

Environmentalist & Statesman

Robert S. Kerr (1896 - 1963) was Oklahoma’s first native-born governor, a wealthy oilman, and eventually a powerful U.S. senator, elected three times. Senator Kerr believed strongly in the promise of Oklahoma, and that it was possible to heal her land and conserve her natural resources. While Kerr was born in Ada, Oklahoma, he attended Oklahoma Baptist University and later became a major benefactor of the school. Learn more about Statesman Kerr.

Creed Humphrey

Kansas City Chiefs

Born and raised in Shawnee, Creed is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and graduated from Shawnee High School. He went on to play football at OU and then was drafted into the NFL in 2021 by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played and won in his first Super Bowl in 2023 and his second in 2024 at Center for the Kansas City Chiefs. Learn more about Creed Humphrey.

Carl Hubbell

Major League Baseball's Master of the Screwball

Although he never lived in Shawnee proper, Carl Hubbell lived in the small neighboring town of Meeker, Oklahoma from the age of 13. He had a long and storied career as a pitcher for the New York Giants in the MLB, and earned the title of "Master of the Screwball" for his ability to strike out the greats, including Babe Ruth. The Carl Hubbell Museum sits inside of Meeker City Hall just 10 minutes north of Shawnee. Learn more about Carl Hubbell.

Wade Hayes

Award Winning Country Music Artist

Wade Hayes was born and raised in Bethel Acres, Oklahoma and graduated from Bethel High School. Hayes had learned to play mandolin, but later switched to guitar after his father bought him one. After high school and college, Hayes moved to Nashville, where he began recording demo tapes and writing his own material. Wade Hayes became one of the best know lead guitar players in Nashville. Hayes had 20+ songs on the Country Music charts, including two songs reaching #1 and six in the Top 10. Learn more about Wade Hayes

Darrien Gordon

NFL Player 2x Super Bowl Champion

He graduated from Shawnee High School in 1989 where he was an All-State football player and two-time state champion wrestler as well as an honor student. Before his NFL career, Gordon played college football for the Stanford Cardinal, since the NFL Scouting Combine began in 1985, he is one of three players who have been drafted in the first round after not being invited to the combine.

American former professional football player who was a cornerback for 10 seasons in the National Football League (NFL) (1993–2002). He was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft. During his NFL career, he played for five teams,

San Diego Chargers (1993–1996) Denver Broncos (1997–1998) Oakland Raiders (1999–2000) Atlanta Falcons (2001) Green Bay Packers (2002) Oakland Raiders (2002) appearing in four Super Bowls, winner twice with the Denver Broncos. Learn More about Darrien Gordon

Joe Cobb

Actor-Our Gang Series

Born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on November 7, 1916, Cobb auditioned for producer Hal Roach's Our Gang comedy series at the age of five in 1921. He first worked with the series in 1922, appearing in The Champeen (1923) and The Big Show (1923).

Joe Frank Cobb (November 7, 1916 – May 21, 2002) was an American child actor, most notable for appearing as the original "fat boy" in the Our Gang comedies from 1922 to 1929. Learn More about Joe Cobb

Louise Fluke

Oklahoma Flag designer

She moved to Shawnee, Oklahoma with her family at a year old with her family later. As a young girl she received art lessons from Marjorie Dodge Tapp. After graduating from Shawnee High School, she continued her art lessons at Columbia University and the Chicago Art Institute. After returning to Shawnee, she married George Fluke on December 18, 1924.

While sewing her own wedding gown, she learned that the state organization of the Daughters of the American Revolution had announced a contest to design a new state flag. Her fiancé encouraged her to take the time to enter the contest. She took three weeks to study artifacts at the Oklahoma Historical Society, and entered five different designs. The Daughters of the American Revolution judges picked one of hers as the winner. The legislature approved Fluke's flag proposal on March 25, 1926. Learn more about Louise Fluke


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