The Stuart Family
R. T. Stuart, his wife, Ida Freeny Stuart, and his son, R. T. Stuart, Jr., resided on the fourth floor of the building while also spending their time on the Stuart Family Ranch. Their apartment in the building is now the Bennett-McClendon Great Hall where special events are held.
Ida Freeny Stuart married R. T. Stuart on August 30, 1931, in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. She lived in Oklahoma City most of her adult life and participated in church and civic affairs. She had previously received her education at Tuskahoma Academy. Her husband, R. T. Stuart, was an ambitious businessman who came from Texas to Oklahoma to seek opportunity. He grew up on a ranch and attended M&F Institute in Chico, Texas. He earned a teaching certificate and combined his teaching experience with the sale of insurance for the Equitable Life Assurance Society of New York. By 1908, he had established a million-dollar-year mark, and a year later he became president of the American Home Life Insurance Company. He acquired the Mid-Continent Life Insurance Company in 1916 and moved to Oklahoma the same year. In 1956, he was inducted in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
Their only son, R. T. Stuart, Jr., joined his father's business in the Mid-Continent Life Insurance Company where he served as chairman and CEO until 1986. Loving to spend time at his family's ranch, he learned the cattle business and improved the ranch. In 1993, Stuart, Jr., augmented the Southern Oklahoma property with 22,000 acres. Stuart's daughter, Terry Stuart Forst, became the ranch manager. Forst was inducted to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2020.
The Stuart Ranch
The Stuart Ranch is Oklahoma's oldest family-operated ranch. It was developed in Bryan County as a homestead in 1868 by Robert Clay Freeny. His daughter, Ida Freeny, married R.T . Stuart, and they later acquired the ranching property. Decades later, Terry Stuart Forst, continued the improvements that her grandfather made. The ranch has received several honors, including the 1995 Best Bermuda Award, AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, and the OQHA Hall of Fame.
The Stuart Family Now
With her two sons, Robert and Clay, Terry Stuart Forst heads the operation. She is a 1972 Animal Science graduate from Oklahoma State University. She then graduated from the Oklahoma Ag. Leadership Program in 1988 and the Texas Ranch Management Program from Texas Christian University in 1992. She was the first female president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association and the first woman named Cattleman of the Year in 2007. Forst was also inducted in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame that same year.
Her experience has improved the operations at the Stuart Ranch and gained success in the horse program. Terry Stuart Forst is a 2020 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Honoree.