Red Dirt Diaries: Friends Unite To Help Family Of Late Oklahoma Farmer


Friday, October 25th 2019, 7:04 pm
By: Karl Torp


Farmers in Willow, Oklahoma, in the western part of the state, are putting in extra work to help a heartbroken family. 

“I will miss him every day, there will be no replacing him,” said Tabatha Thomas about her late husband Larry Thomas.

Larry died of complications from liver cancer last month. The grim diagnosis for the Willow peanut farmer came in back in March.

At that time, Larry gave his friend an offer to lease the land from him, because he’d be too sick to tend to the farm.

Neighbor and friend Gary Rippetoe gave him a better offer in return.

“We will make you a crop and maybe next year you’ll be better,” said Rippetoe.

There may be no replacing Larry the husband, but dozens would try to replace Larry the farmer by planting and tending to his peanut crop all season long.

This week, 16 tractors and dozens of friends showed up to harvest the peanuts.

“That tells the story of what kind of guy he was,” said Rippetoe.

It usually took Larry three to four days to collect from his farm. On Monday, friends gathered to do the work in about four hours.

Larry and Tabitha's son honored his father with the first pass.

Tabatha said he’s feeling the “weight of world,” trying to replace his father.

“I don’t know how I’m doing, but I’m trying,” said 15-year-old Sean Thomas.

“I feel like Sean will have seven to nine days now,” added Tabatha, who said the peanuts harvested this week were the highest graded in Willow this season.