NORMAN — When news spread Nov. 26 that Cody Ponder’s 28-month battle with esophageal cancer had ended, the Norman community seemed to grieve collectively.
Social media sites like Facebook were flooded with comments about Ponder, something that Kris Glenn, Ponder’s close friend, was not surprised by.
“I have been amazed, yet not surprised, about how many people his death has impacted, but that is a tribute to how he lived,” Glenn said.
Shortly after Ponder’s death, Glenn said he spent at least two days telling people via phone, text, email and social media that Ponder loved them.
“And that is not just me saying that. He absolutely loved people, and people loved him,” Glenn said.
Prior to his death, Ponder, 35, was the assistant transportation director for CART. Glenn worked with Ponder at CART for five years.
“I lost a best friend and someone I consider a brother, but the Norman community lost so much more. Cody was a champion of public transportation in his role at CART,” Glenn said. “He was a fixture in the nonprofit community helping people who needed it most and a friend to everyone who knew him.
“Cody was a better version of all of us, as he went out of his way to make people feel good about themselves. If you knew Cody, then he knew your birthday, your dog’s name and asked about your great-aunt because he truly cared about people, loved people and loved life.”
Ponder’s memorial has been set for 10 a.m. Saturday, on his birthday, at Journey Church, 3801 Journey Parkway in Norman, under the care of Primrose Funeral Service. Those attending are asked to wear periwinkle in honor of the continuing fight against esophageal cancer.
“I called Cody one day after I knew there were no more treatment options, and I just lost it. I had not done that in front of him because I wanted to be strong for him, but that day was different,” Glenn said. “I cried and cried to him, telling him how sorry I was, and in true Cody fashion, he starts comforting me.