Honoring the legacy of Tom Love
Tom Love guided the family-owned and-operated business from one store in 1964 to a network of more than 600 locations across America.
A respected community and business leader, Tom was admired for his genuine humility, good-natured disposition, generosity and helpfulness toward others.
Born in 1937 in Oklahoma City, Tom attended St. Gregory's Preparatory School in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and St. John's University in Minnesota, before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1954. He married the love of his life, Judy, in 1960.
In 1964, Tom and Judy Love used $5,000 to lease an abandoned service station in Watonga, a small rural town northwest of Oklahoma City. From a modest beginning, the then-named Musket Corporation opened 40 stores in eight years in western Oklahoma.
Tom Love was a man of conviction who never wavered from the principles of honesty and integrity in the 59 years he spent developing the company he started with his wife, Judy. These tenets still guide our company and will as we move forward. Tom always listened and was sincerely interested in knowing the stories of employees and customers. He wanted to hear their thoughts, ideas, and hopes for them, their families and the company. He credited the company's success to the people who worked for us. He could relate to all employees but had a soft spot for those on the frontline at stores. In many respects, he was an ordinary person who built an extraordinary business alongside his wife Judy and his family, who he loved deeply. - Shane Wharton, president of Love's
Pictured left to right: Frank, Jenny, Judy, Tom, Laura and Greg.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved husband, father and grandfather. He loved people and that was evident in how he guided our family, operated the business he started in 1964 and in how he gave back to our community and organizations across the country that serve others. Dad was always committed to helping others succeed and opening the door for leaders, including his children and grandchildren, and we look forward to building upon his legacy. While the grief we feel is unmeasurable, we celebrate his life and will continue his legacy of living a life filled with integrity, honesty and faith. - The Love Family
Sentiments from friends and colleagues
"Tom was a dear friend who I often turned to for advice. He was a visionary, innovator, inspirational leader, and compassionate person. Tom was a quintessential entrepreneur long before entrepreneurialism was ever in vogue. He loved his country, having served in the Marine Corps. He loved his hometown of Oklahoma City, where he headquartered his business. Tom loved his state and responded with alacrity and superb skill when he accepted my appointment as chairman of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission. He was devoted to his dear wife, Judy, their four wonderful children, and many grand and great-grandchildren. He was committed to his faith, and he gave generously, but often quietly, to support education, medical, and other significant initiatives. Cathy and I are heartbroken at his loss, but we are encouraged to know Tom’s legacy will live on through his family, company, and countless kind deeds.” - Frank Keating, Former Oklahoma Governor
“Tom Love is my Oklahoma hero. Together with his loving wife and business partner, Judy, Tom has lived a life of humility, generosity and enormous impact. His deep love for his church, community and country has been abundant and long-lasting. As our grieving hearts accept Tom’s passing, the brokenness is quickly filled with gratitude for his life. Tom was a man of amazing vision, deep faith, and complete devotion to others. He loved God. And he loved people – all kinds of people. None more than his family. May the comfort of our compassionate God be present with his beloved wife, Judy, their children and grandchildren. And all of us. ‘A mighty oak has fallen in the forest and left a gaping hole against the sky.’ But Tom Love’s roots grew so deep that greatness will continue to grow from the many seeds of faith and integrity he planted in others.” - Jane Jayroe-Gamble, broadcaster, author, public official and family friend
“We mourn the passing of our great friend and fellow Oklahoman, Tom Love. Tom represented the finest of our Oklahoma values of humility, honesty, compassion, and service. He exhibited these exceptional core values in every aspect of his remarkable life – faith, family, friends, business, and community. As a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend, Tom always showed an abundance of goodness and kindness. We salute Tom for a well-lived life and for his invaluable contributions to the betterment of our city, state, and nation. My family sends heartfelt condolences to Judy and the entire family and pray for their comfort in the coming days and weeks. Those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with Tom are better because of it.” - Mike Turpin, Former Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma
“With deep sadness, we acknowledge the passing of a distinguished Chickasaw Nation citizen, Tom Love. In 2019, it was my great privilege on behalf of the Nation to induct Tom into our Hall of Fame, the highest honor we can bestow upon one of our citizens. The induction recognized Tom’s immeasurable contributions to the advancement and betterment of the Chickasaw Nation. Tom embodied the values we cherish - honesty, trust, respect and service. He was generous with his time and resources. We enjoyed and cherished his friendship. We will surely miss him. As a Nation, we extend our condolences to Judy and the family. You will be in our hearts and prayers." - Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation Governor
Commitment to Community
Tom’s passion for service was also felt in his commitment to helping those in his community. The Love family has generously donated to local and national organizations such as Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, United Way, Catholic Charities, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. In 2018, OU opened the Tom Love Innovation Hub to provide a space for future entrepreneurs and other workforce development programs. The university recently broke ground on Love’s Field – the future home of the six-time national champion Sooner softball team. In addition, his legacy will carry on at the Love Family Women’s Center on the campus of Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City and Science Museum Oklahoma's new state-of-the-art planetarium that will be named Love’s Planetarium.
Tom received many honors, including Corporation of the Year in 1991 and the 1996 President's Award for Service to God and Country. He was chosen as Oklahoma's Most Admired CEO in 2010 and Trust Guardian Transportation Award in 2014. A Chickasaw citizen, Tom was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2019 and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2000.