A Tribute to Pat Grantby Representative Jim Bridenstine
Posted on 2013-12-10
BRIDENSTINE. Mr. Speaker, Pat Grant passed away on November 26,
Whether you called her ``colonel,'' ``attorney'' or ``champ,'' Pat Grant was one of the most extraordinary women you would ever hope to meet. She dominated women's golf in Oklahoma during the 1930s and 1940s. In addition to her golf prowess, Grant served her country for 22 years in the United States Army. After the Army, Grant practiced law for 30 years.
It was said of Grant: She was not only the perfect example of an athlete; she was the type of American our country needs to look up to.
People started noticing Grant when she won the Oklahoma State High School Golf Championship as a 13-year-old freshman at Cushing High School. She would win it three times before graduating in 1938. Then it was on to Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. There was no golf team at Oklahoma Baptist University at the time, but she was given a scholarship for teaching golf to other students. She graduated from OBU in 1942 and was the first woman to be inducted into the OBU Athletic Hall of Fame.
While at OBU and at the age of 18, Grant won the Oklahoma Women's State Amateur Championship in 1939. In 1940, at the Indian Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Grant won the State championship again. Her third straight championship came at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. During that championship, she set a new course record for women at Southern Hills and won the championship match 9 and 8. She held the trophy for the fourth straight year with a 7 and 6 win in Shawnee. The legend was beginning to take shape. Grant became known for hitting long, booming drives, some as long as 250 yards. It was rumored that sometimes she even talked to her golf ball.
There was no State championship in 1943, 1944 or 1945 because of World War II; but when play resumed in 1946, Grant won the State Amateur Championship again. With that victory, Grant became the only person in Oklahoma history to win the State championship 5 years in a row. That record still stands today.
When World War II broke out, Grant put aside her ambition of becoming a professional golfer so she could serve her country. ``It seemed like the right thing to do,'' she said. ``We were at war, and I didn't want to sit around here and do nothing,'' she said. Her career in the Army was as illustrious as her accomplishments on the golf course.
Grant and her sister, Mary Margaret, enlisted in the Army in 1942. Grant went into the Women's Army Corps, and Mary enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps. Grant was commissioned as a lieutenant in April 1943. While in the military, Grant held duty assignments all over the globe, including assisting the chief legal counsel during the Nuremberg Trials. Grant also served as the personal escort to Eleanor Roosevelt when the former First Lady toured Germany in 1948.
Grant received 23 letters of commendation while in the Army and won golf tournaments all over the world. ``It was good publicity for the Army for me to be playing in all these golf tournaments,'' Grant said. ``It was great for me because the Army was paying my way. That's what you call a 'win-win,' '' she added.
In 1965, after 22 years of Active Duty, Grant retired from the Army with the rank of lieutenant colonel. She was one of only 60 women to attain such a rank at that time. As if her life were not full enough, Grant landed in San Antonio to earn a law degree in 1966.
Just as she protected her country, Grant fought for rights and justice through her family law practice. Because of her service to others, Grant was named Woman of the Year by the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs in 1972. Retirement came for good in 1995. Grant moved to Cortez, Colorado. At the age of 90, she was still active and full of life. Grant flew an ultralight aircraft every Saturday morning when weather permitted.
``It has been a good trip,'' Grant recently said. ``God has chosen a life of adventure for me. I wouldn't trade it.'' Grant loved God, and she loved her neighbor, and she spent her life dedicated to family, friends, and country. She was inducted into the Women's Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame in April of 2010. She passed away on November 26, 2013, at the age of 90. She was a great role model for all Americans.