Len Brightly

Sept. 2, 1940 – Dec. 5, 2023

Len Brightly passed peacefully in his sleep on December 5, 2023, at his home in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

He was born to Fredrick Irving Brightly and Edna Pauline DeGraw Brightly on September 2, 1940, in Livingston, New York. They moved to Lovell in 1943, later moving to Cowley, where Len began attending Primary while in grade school. Len was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1949 and has been a member ever since.

Len joined the U.S. Army in January of 1958. On completion of basic training at Fort Ord, California, he was shipped overseas to Okinawa, where he was assigned first to the motor pool, then to a Nike Hercules site as a crew member maintaining a missile battery.

After 18 months  on Okinawa it was time for Len to come back to his home in Cowley. He worked for the Good Trucking Company until November of 1960 and was planning to go back into the military to save enough money to go to college. Unfortunately, he was involved in a shooting accident on December 27, 1960, that left him paralyzed, losing the use of his legs.

Len attended several colleges including Casper College in Wyoming, College of the Desert in Palm Springs and the University of California in San Bernardino, California, where he met Norma Ashley.

They were married November 12, 1971, and moved to San Diego. Norma was baptized into the church on December 24, 1977, and they were sealed in the Los Angeles Temple on February 3, 1979.

He spent the whole of his working years in civil engineering, having his own business for three years.

Len spent 20-plus years as a Scout master and was awarded the Silver Beaver Award while living in Tucson, Arizona, in 1984. Later he spent a week with his scouts canoeing the lower end of the Colorado River. He had wanted to do this for years, and as always, he did it.

After a brief but painful illness Len and Norma moved to McAlester, Oklahoma, in 2001 to be closer to Norma’s family. He was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2023.

He leaves behind his wife, Norma, of 52 years; brother Charles S. Brightly Sr., sisters Heidi Brightly, Gale Heny and Dale Harvey, all of Wyoming; stepson Lonnie (Kathleen) Kimball of Yuciapa, California; and stepdaughter Carol (Mike) Kimball-O’Donnell of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held at the Church of Jesus Christ or Latter-day Saints on  December 14. Burial was at the Fort Gibson National Cemetery in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.