Paul Arden Tharp, Jr.
Paul A. Tharp Jr. died on November 14, 2019 in Norman, OK. He was born September 1, 1938 to Martha (Mason) Tharp and Paul A. Tharp in Ponca City, OK. Paul lived in Ponca City through completion of high school at Ponca City High School in 1956. He started his college career at the University of Colorado in Boulder, but came back to the University of Oklahoma in 1957 where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in June 1960. After earning his Doctorate of Law in 1963 from OU, he practiced law for two years, but found that his passion was rooted in teaching. So, in 1964 he returned to school at the University of Wisconsin, completing his PhD in Political Science in 1968.
Paul was hired as a professor at the University of Oklahoma in 1967 where he began teaching in the Political Science department. During his 30 plus year career as a professor, he taught a wide variety of courses, with a particular interest in International Law and the Law of Public Administration. He taught both in Norman and internationally through the Armed Forces Advanced Programs. He also served as the pre-law advisor helping countless students attain their goal of attending law school. Paul retired from OU in the summer of 1999.
During retirement, Paul expressed his joy of public service and love for animals by volunteering for causes in and around Norman including many years walking dogs for Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, years preparing food and assisting with animal care at Wild Care Animal Sanctuary and serving food at Food for Friends.
Paul's love of music was a theme throughout his life. He played flute and piccolo in the Ponca City High marching band. He continued his passion for music learning to play the accordion as an adult.
Paul is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Robert Tharp. Paul is survived by his wife Carolyn, his children, their spouses and their children including his sons Michael, Robert and John and his daughter Melissa, their spouses Gaylen, Jana, and Eric and grandchildren Curtis, Catherine, Elizabeth, and Julia.
Paul was a dedicated teacher and an enthusiastic student his whole life. His warm company, his entertaining stories and lively conversations will be missed.
A Celebration of Paul's Life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at St. Stephen's United Methodist Church, 1801 W. Brooks St., Norman, with Rev. Jeannie Himes officiating.
Donations can be made in honor of Taffy and Sophie and the many other animals and causes that were a source of joy for Paul over the years. Please donate to Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, Wild Care Animal Sanctuary, Food For Friends or St. Stephen's Music Ministry.
Online condolences may be shared at
Published on November 16, 2019


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Showing 10 of 14 posts

Gene Aubrey
Nov 23, 2019
Our hearts and prayers are with you. We also will miss Pat very much. He added life, laughter and joy to those around him. God's blessings upon you.
Chole Dudley
Nov 20, 2019
I knew him from Second Chance. He was always so happy to come walk the dogs. He was always such a nice, caring man. All of us here at Second Chance will miss him.
Nov 19, 2019
What a very special man Paul was. He was a man on a mission every time he came to WildCare, and was more than thrilled to do anything we ask of him! He was a genuinely happy guy who spread joy everywhere he went. He will be greatly missed.
Joel & Laura Garber
Nov 19, 2019
Thinking of you all during this difficult time! Our hearts sank when we heard the news. Sending all our love your way! Prayers for peace and comfort. Hugs!
Nicole Rivera
Nov 19, 2019
Paul was such a pleasure to work with. He always had a smile on his face and spread joy every time he came to volunteer at WildCare. He will be missed by many especially the animals that benefitted from the time he gave volunteering.
Cathy Smith
Nov 19, 2019
Carolyn, Mike and Melissa,

I’m so sorry for your loss. Uncle Pat was such a kind person. I remember my dad fondly referred to Uncle Pat as “little bother”. Kent and I have wonderful memories from his visit to Tokyo when we lived there in the 90’s. May he rest in peace.

Love and prayers,
Elise Gundlach
Nov 19, 2019
Paul was truely a great man. He loved to share stories with everyone and had a beautiful way of telling them to make you feel you were right there with him. He touched a lot of people's hearts and changed the lives of many animal's. He will be greatly missed.
Nov 18, 2019
I remember Paul's first day volunteering at WildCare. He was happy to do any chore asked of him. I am so glad I got to visit with him this past summer on a return visit to Oklahoma. His smile and never-ending enthusiasm will be missed by all.
Laura Biddick
Nov 18, 2019
Paul was such a doll and so generous with his time. I was very greatful that he was recently able to come back to Wildcare and continue volunteering with us. Any chance I had, I would make it a point to get a story out of him, which he was always glad to share.
He will be missed greatly at Wildcare, and to his family and other friends, I offer my condolences and hope that you find peace in his memory.
Kristy Wicker
Nov 18, 2019
I so enjoyed getting to know Paul over the last several years through our work at WildCare. He was such a very special person, always sharing a story or joke on his way through the center. He was an inspiration to me through his continual service to our community and animals. I will miss him dearly.
Nov 18, 2019
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