Place for grieving parents coming to Ada

By: Sara Humphrey Email
By: Sara Humphrey Email

ADA, OK - A Pontotoc County couple grieving the loss of their son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter has donated millions of dollars to build a special place for other parents who have lost their children.

Seven years ago, Harland and Shirley Stonecipher were hit with every parent's worst nightmare.

"It's such a terrible loss," Harland Stonecipher said. "It's an unnatural loss. It's not like losing a parent or a sibling, it's losing a child and that's not natural."

On July 24, 2005, their son Brent was killed in a plane crash in rural Ada.

The accident also claimed the life of the couples daughter-in-law Tina and 11-year-old granddaughter Nikki.

"That's a loss of a whole family," Stonecipher said. "That family is gone. We were just concerned about when we are gone, who is going to keep that memory alive? We began to realize if we have that problem then everyone else has that problem."

The Stonecipher's are members of the Life Community Church in Ada and long time friends with Pastor Mickey Keith.

"We are out-growing our current facility where we pastor," Keith said. "We were looking at buildings and Harland calls me one day and says 'Mickey, lets build a church.'"

The Stoneciphers recently donated $3.5 million to build a new Life Community Church and Memorial Chapel, which is dedicated and open to parents around the world who have lost a child.

"It just means a way to help ourselves by helping others," Stonecipher said.

The church and chapel will open in 2014 and be free to anyone who wants to share memories of their child.

"We can't make their pain go away, we know that, but we can help them feel a little bit better about it in knowing that their child's memory is going to live on forever and that's what we want to do," Stonecipher said.

Pastor Mickey Keith said the new church will be on the corner of Pre-Paid Way and Stonecipher Blvd. in Ada.

Construction is set to begin this summer and take eighteen months to complete.

The Stonecipher's have also established a scholarship fund at East Central University in memory of their granddaughter Nikki.


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