The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

April 14, 2014

Man killed in Kansas shooting was Phillips graduate

ENID, Okla. — A victim of a fatal shooting at a Jewish community center near Kansas City, Kan., had ties to Enid.

Dr. William Lewis Corporon, a 1967 graduate of Phillips University in Enid, was killed as he was reportedly taking his grandson, 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood, to an audition Sunday. Underwood also was killed by the gunman.

The suspect in the shootings, 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross, has been arrested and is awaiting charges, according to Associated Press reports.

Enid’s Central Christian Church senior minister, the Rev. John McLemore, knew Corporon from Phillips University. McLemore said the two were in a campus social service club together.

“Bill was well-known on campus and well-liked,” McLemore said.

Corporon’s father, Lewis Corporon, was the associate minister at Central Christian Church on two occasions, McLemore said. During Lewis Corporon’s first stint at the church, William Corporon would have been in elementary or junior high school. Lewis Corporon later returned to the church, before retiring.

“His parents ... they retired and stayed in Enid and were just absolutely loved by all the people that knew them,” McLemore said.

William Corporon attended Phillips University from 1963 to 1967, McLemore said.

When Corporon finished medical school at the University of Oklahoma, he was a physician in Perry, where McLemore and his wife lived.

“At that time, they were real good friends,”  McLemore said, referring to Corporon and his wife. “We’ve kind of lost touch over the last few years. We were involved in community theater together ... in Perry.”

He said Corporon was part of a group that helped start a community theater in Perry 40 years ago.

“I don’t know that Bill ever acted. I think he directed a couple plays,” McLemore said.

Corporon went from Perry to the Marlow and Duncan area before moving to the Kansas City area, McLemore said.

“He was plain-spoken, kind of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. He was a good student. He had a good mind. He was funny. He enjoyed the banter back and forth,” McLemore said.

Corporon fathered three children, Will, Tony and Mindy.

McLemore said Mindy was the mother of Underwood.

“Bill was taking Reat to a tryout for some kind of a musical contest ... and just was in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were obviously not Jewish, they were United Methodist,” he said.

McLemore said he went to bed early Sunday night and was awakened by his wife, who asked if William Lewis Corporon was the same Corporon the couple knew.

“That’s exactly who it is,” he said. “We just can’t believe it.”

Corporon had five sisters.

“Our hearts and prayers go out for all of them,” he said. “It’s just unimaginable. It really is.”

David Butler, a classmate of Corporon’s at Enid schools, remembered Corporon as a “great guy.”

“He had a great sense of humor,” Butler said. “My memory is from a very long time ago, but I remember what a great guy he was and what a great sense of humor he had — and smart.”

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