Song/Poem by Lee Agnew

Good Old Town (for Stillwater, OK)

A Poem by Lee Agnew (Ted & Jeanne’s son)

Listen, have you heard the news
Oklahoma’s got the blues
Up there in Stillwater town
Funny things are going down

A University needs land
To build up their new Master Plan
Don’t care what the neighbors say
Four hundred homes are in the way

They got money if you play nice
Tell you it’s fair market price
If you argue or complain
They got Eminent Domain.

Good old town a long time gone.
Good old town a long time gone.
Good old town a long time gone.
Left me here to sing this song

Ted and LeRoy they were friends
At Oklahoma A&M
After the War they both came down
To teach in a land grant college town

Jeanne taught at the college too
She and Martha had lots to do
Their children walked to school together
In the Oklahoma weather

Good old town a long time gone
Good old town a long time gone
Good old town a long time gone
Left me here to sing this song

Now fast-forward fifty years
In the paper it appears
T. Boone Pickens gave some dough
And OSU has got to grow

An Athletic Village is
The way to be competitive
Training rooms and tennis courts
A practice field that’s all indoors

President says yes it’s true
They want Ted’s house and LeRoy’s too
Now I like to watch a game of ball
But this don’t make no sense at all

Good old town a long time gone
Good old town a long time gone
Good old town a long time gone
Left me here to sing this song

Long ago the Okies sang
Of Pretty Boy Floyd and the Dalton Gang
I think we’ve all learned since then
There’s lots of kinds of highwaymen

They say we can’t stop their game
So take the money and don’t complain
But Woody Guthrie called it then:
Robbery with a fountain pen

I can’t tell you what to do
But to yourself you must be true
Me, I gotta take this fight
Cause there’s some stuff that just ain’t right

All you people on Bellis Street
Now sing this song and sing it sweet
And all you folks down Washington,
Jump in with me and sing along

Good old town a long time gone
Good old town a long time gone
Good old town a long time gone
Left me here to sing this song

(Repeat chorus)

(This piece was inspired by the life and work of Woody Guthrie. It is not intended to infringe on any copyrighted material)

Listen to “Good Old Town” here.

If you have a slow Internet connection and are experiencing problms with the streaming version above you can download the entire file to your computer before playing. Download “Good Old Town. Note: This is a large file and may take 30 minutes or more to download with a dial-up connection.

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10 Responses to Song/Poem by Lee Agnew

  1. Linda says:

    This is to Lee and his siblings. My dad had your father as a professor. My sister and I both majored in mathematics and had your mom for Number Theory (late ’70′s and early 80′s). I stayed in touch with your mom for awhile and even got to go to an OSU football game once with your parents. I didn’t know that their house was part of OSU’s plans. I heard yesterday, from my dad, that he had heard that your dad became ill in Arizona. I just wanted to let you know that our hearts and prayers are with you.

  2. Sue Agnew says:

    Thank you, Linda, for sharing your story. That’s how teachers attain immortality, through those whom they’ve influenced, who carry on the good work.

    Daddy is in HealthSouth, a rehab hospital. He is becoming stronger each day, toward the goal of eventually returning to Stillwater. Rehab seems to be two steps forward/one step back, so it’s discouraging, but when we think that two weeks ago he was on a ventilator in the CCU, it’s amazing. He’s a tough 90-year-old, and he’s “fighting” with grace and dignity.

    The address of HealthSouth is 2650 N. Wyatt Dr., Tucson, AZ 85712 (his name is Ted). Cards are appreciated! And hearts and prayers are really helping — all of us!

  3. Lee Agnew says:

    As some of you already know, our father Dr. Theodore L. Agnew, Jr., passed away Sunday, April 15 in Tucson AZ.

    Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 21, 11:00am at First United Methodist Church in Stillwater. A complete obituary will be published in the Stillwater News-Press.

    Memorials may be directed to the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation (Agnew Family Endowment Fund), 4201 Classen Blvd, Oklahoma City 73118, or to the First United Methodist Church, 400 West 7th Avenue, Stillwater 74074.

    Condolences may be e-mailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting

  4. “Back in the day”, Lee and I were tight friends politics and otherwise, then drifted apart.

    I’ve been gone from S-water a quarter century now, but the entire Agnew family … I’ve always thought the highest of all of you.

    So a terrible shock to open the Tulsa World this AM and see the death notice for Ted, esteemed historian and prince among us.

    Sorry, I don’t know if Jeanne is still with us, but, if so, my profound regrets and sorrow, and same to the entire Agnew clan.

    Time to go John Dunne: ‘Every death like this, diminishes all of us, but each of us is better, that one such as Ted sojourned so long among us.”

  5. Lee Agnew says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Lloyd, and it’s good to hear from you again!

    (Ah, those long conversations in the Wesley Foundation basement — we sure had the world figured out back then, didn’t we?)

    Mom passed away back in May of 2000, after a struggle with Alzheimer’s. Both she and Dad set a high standard for the rest of us, and they are both sorely missed.

    I will certainly pass your condolences on to my brothers and sisters. Thanks again.

  6. Dee Ann Sanders says:

    Hi, Lee,

    I got to know your father well the past few years, since I returned to OSU as an engineering professor. I found your name in a family biography that Will Paine had prepared, and had a sudden flash of fond memories: you and I were in the OSU band the one year I was here as a student–working on my MS during the 1971-1972 school year. Band, especially the wonderful and wily French horn, helped me keep my sanity that year. And conversations with your dad; newspaper articles and letters to the editor by you, your dad and sister, and just being with your wonderful father, helped me keep my sanity at OSU the past few years. I shall miss him terribly, and I feel for your loss. Even 90 years isn’t enough for a man of your father’s stature.

    Take care.

    Dee Ann

  7. Lee Agnew says:

    Hi, Dee Ann,

    It’s good to hear from a fellow French hornist. Those were indeed some great times. And thank you so much for your kind words about Dad. He was an inspiration and example for all of us.

    Best to you and yours,


  8. Lee Agnew says:

    Update from the Agnew family:

    Since our father Ted Agnew’s death this past April, my siblings and I have been hard at work dealing with all the physical, legal, and emotional matters involved with settling our parents’ estate. Those of you who have been down this road know what I’m talking about.

    We have reached some significant milestones: The house in Washington Heights is on the market, and the dates are set for the estate sale. (December 7-8-9. For information contact JLK Antiques, 377-1805.) Dad’s papers and documents related to his work with the United Methodist Church have been donated to Oklahoma City University. His papers related to his OSU career have gone to the Special Collections of the OSU Library. Mom’s papers have gone to the Archives of American Mathematics in Austin TX. It is immensely gratifying to us that so many others are interested in our parents’ lives and their work.

    The house at 701 N. Bellis Street that Dad donated to the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation lives on through the endowment fund established by the proceeds from the house’s sale to OSU. The first year’s earnings from that endowment have gone back to our parents’ communities via the First United Methodist Church in Stillwater, and our mother’s home congregation, Trinity United Church in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

    On November 2, 2007, at the annual Friends of the OSU Library Banquet, Ted and Jeanne Agnew were honored posthumously with the Edna Mae Phelps Award for their years of support of the Library and the University. Accepting on my parents’ behalf, I quoted some of my father’s words from his valedictorian’s speech before the graduating class of 1933, Ogden (IL) Community High School. (The handwritten draft of that speech was among the boxes of papers we had been sorting through the week before.):

    “Have we learned … that courtesy ranks with courage? Do we know how to be good losers? Do we know the power of kindness, the joy of work? Do we appreciate the influence of example, the worth of character?”

    Dad wrote that speech when he was 16 years old, but he lived the values expressed in it throughout his 90 years. As the year of his death draws to a close, we are grateful, not only to the example that he and Mom set for us, but for all our Stillwater and OSU friends who have shared our grief with us.

    We would like to wish everyone who reads this a Blessed and Joyous Holiday Season, and a New Year filled with new and happy memories.


    Lee Agnew

  9. Tamara Colbert Maschino says:

    Lee, our thoughts are with you and your family, it is so hard to finalize a family members estate, the jewels of wisdom you found from your father are priceless.

  10. Kim Cox says:

    Lee & Susan:

    You probably do not remember me but I will always remember you two. You befriended a frshman bassoonist who had never been to a large university and made him feel like he was pasrt of the band. I will never forget that. I am sorry to hear about Dr. Agnew. Although I never had him for a professor, I always heard a lot of good about him.

    Actualy, I was googling for Lloyd Wallisch and happen to come across your name, Lee. Nice poem.

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