Edward L. Gaylord
Edward L. Gaylord
“I don’t believe there is any other person in the state who had a better life than I have in Oklahoma. I am a very lucky guy.”
Native Oklahoman Edward Lewis Gaylord was the son of frontier Oklahoma City newspaper publisher, E. K. Gaylord. He attended Oklahoma City Public Schools and began working for the Oklahoma Publishing Company as a junior in high school until his senior year, when he attended and graduated from Asheville School for Boys in North Carolina in 1937. He later graduated from Stanford University in 1941. After a year at Harvard Business School he joined the U. S. Army and served the next four years. During his time in the Army, he became an officer and served as an aide to a brigadier general assigned to protect the Panama Canal. In 1946, he left active military duty and went back to work for the Oklahoma Publishing Company in Oklahoma City. At the Oklahoma Publishing Company, Mr. Gaylord worked his way up from the circulation department to leadership of the company upon his father’s death in 1974. As Chairman and CEO, he greatly expanded and diversified the company through radio and television acquisitions and moving into the areas of cable, entertainment and hospitality, among others. In 1983 he purchased the Opryland Complex and the Nashville Network and majority interest in the iconic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs in 1988. In addition to his work with the company, Mr. Gaylord was heavily involved in civic activities. In 1961, when the State Fair of Oklahoma was on the brink of financial collapse, Gaylord took over as president. Within the next 10 years Oklahoma’s state fair became one of the most profitable in the nation. As chairman of the Oklahoma Industries Authority for more than 30 years, he played an active role in helping bring more than 100,000 jobs and $1 billion in facilities to the Oklahoma City area. He also chaired and contributed greatly to Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and Oklahoma Christian University.
In the 1960’s, Oklahoma City was seemingly in a constant drought, requiring water rations every year. As president of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Edward Gaylord led the bitter fight to assure that water from Lake Atoka in southeastern Oklahoma could be piped to the Oklahoma City reservoir.
Gaylord was a lifelong resident of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.