Cherokee preacher remembered as giving, ‘authentic’

Merle C Dry, 55, Cherokee. (Photo courtesy of Metro Pentecostal Church Facebook)

Indian Country Today


Merle C. Dry, Cherokee, was the first Oklahoma citizen to die from complications related to COVID-19. He was 55.

Dry was a man of faith.

One of his proudest moments as a preacher was in 2015 when he became an ordained minister with the United Pentecostal Church International, according to his obituary. He was on the ministerial staff and church board member at Metro Pentecostal Church in Tulsa.

“He was passionate about the things of God. Besides being with his wife and children, he was happiest when he was doing something for the church or for people of the church. It wasn’t a duty to him, it was a privilege to give himself to the service of others,” states his obituary.

Click here to read the full obituary.

Dry was married to Carrie for almost 29 years and lived in Berryhill, near Tulsa. They have an adult son, Jesse, and a teenage daughter, Pamela.

Dry was a groundskeeper at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and had won awards for his work there.

“I was asked for one word to describe, Merle Dry. I could think of one: Authentic. He lived an exemplary life and really helped everyone that he could,” read a March 18 Metro Pentecostal Facebook post.

Dry tested positive for the coronavirus on March 17 and died on March 18 in Tulsa. The church said Dry was in good health but was dealing with a cold and had struggled to breathe when he was diagnosed. The cold caused Dry to miss his more recent church duties.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hosin Jr. told the Cherokee Phoenix that “on behalf of the Cherokee Nation, our thoughts and prayers are with the Dry family at this time and we are so very sorry for this tragic loss.”

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