Remembering Henry Zarrow

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tulsa philanthropist leaves behind inspiring legacy


With the passing of Henry Zarrow — "Mr. Henry" as he was known to many — Tulsa has lost one of its most dedicated and inspiring friends. And while there are many outstanding entrepreneurs and philanthropists still among us, we can't help but meet Mr. Henry's death as the closing of an important chapter in the history of our community.

Henry Zarrow fulfilled, in the most authentic and unassuming way, the grand American vision. As the founder of Sooner Pipe and Supply, he built his fortune through hard work, innovation, and principled dealing. As a visionary who laid the groundwork for the Zarrow Foundations, he shared the fruits of his success freely, joyfully, and with enormous impact. And as a man of faith and family, he lived with purpose and humility. His reward was that he walked in the peace of a righteous man, and he was able to see generations of Tulsans and others thrive through his support. His beloved wife, the late Anne Zarrow, was a devoted partner in that calling.

The University of Tulsa is home to a number of Zarrow Scholars, as are several other Oklahoma colleges and universities. This scholarship program, established by Mr. Henry, puts college within reach for scores of deserving young people each year, and it is but one example of Mr. Henry's particular devotion to education, which he recognized as a cornerstone of both professional success and meaningful citizenship. That dedication was evident again and again, through gifts to universities, public schools, and libraries.

In 2012, TU opened the Henry Zarrow Center for Art and Education downtown near Guthrie Green — just a few blocks from the site of the first pipe yard that would become Sooner Pipe and Supply. The name of that facility was not sponsored; we simply wanted to thank Mr. Henry for his lifelong support of learning — especially for the youngest Tulsans. We were joined at the opening by students from the Zarrow International School, and the obvious rapport that Mr. Henry had with them was a testament to his genuine goodness and cheerful outlook on life.

It is not possible in this small space to do full justice to Henry Zarrow's professional and philanthropic achievements; we entrust that hefty job to the other pages of this paper. But we should take this opportunity to pause in gratitude, and to reflect on the example in living that Mr. Henry has left us. He truly cared about the people of Tulsa, and he put that concern into constant action. The best tribute we can offer to this great man is to add to that work, each of us doing what we can to make our community a place of learning, mutual respect, service, and abiding opportunity.

Steadman Upham
The University of Tulsa

Mona Chamberlin