My Kiowa Friend, Smokey
Roderick “ Smokey” Gwoompi, 69, of Tahlequah, OK. Smokey was born Feb. 29, 1940 in Lawton, OK., the son of Pauline Tobah and Mitchell Gwoompi. He died Saturday, December 5, 2009, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Smokey attended Boone Elementary School , Carnegie Jr. High and was a 1959 graduate of Anadarko High School . Later he attended Haskell Institute and earned his degree as a machinist. He also attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Rod had been employed by the US Immigration in Dallas , TX. and later by Sequoyah Indian School as an educational assistant. He was a US Marine veteran, member of the Kiowa Tribe, Black Leggins Society, Cherokee Gourd Society, and the Tahlequah Drum Busters. He was a spokesperson for the National Kidney Transplant Foundation.
Rod enjoyed sketching, Native American singing, attending pow-wows, watching Dallas Cowboy football games, and visiting his many friends. _________________________________________________________
Smokey was a riot and a sweetheart all rolled into one. He flirted and teased, and he protected and gave, and he was everything a devoted Traditional should want to be remembered as in this life. There are no adequate words to say how much he is missed, or to illustrate the enormity of the impact when someone of his nature has crossed over. I was there, in the eastern Oklahoma exhuberant seasonal days (and evenings) of Sings and Pow Wows when they formed the “Drumbusters” and chose that name (to the chagrin of several people), and giggled with them about how silly it was but embraced it none the less. It tickles me to see they kept the name so many years later.
In my last conversations with him, which turned out to be within a year of his passing, he never let on how tremendous his health struggles had become. Instead, he chose to fill my heart with fond memories of our more youthful travels and ponderance on how we used to stand in the hot sun and dance for hours on end… and how lovely those treasured memories were for us both. He honored me with affectionate rememberance of our friendship even after many years out of contact, and still wished me to come home to Oklahoma as I had always planned. It seems it was our moment to say “goodbye”, though we did not know it then. There are no adequate words to say what his path crossing mine in life has meant… or how deeply I feel this parting… and I can only say, I miss you too my Kiowa Friend. Always. Aho.