NORMAN — Cody Dean Ponder ascended to heaven Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, in Norman, surrounded by his mommas and wife after a courageous 28-month battle with esophageal cancer.
Cody was born to Kenton Ponder and Danell Vernon Bray Dec. 21, 1977, in Healdton. He grew up in the towns of Lone Grove and Wilson among a very large and loving extended family. Cody was proud of being one of 31 first cousins and always remembered everyone’s birthdays including their partners and kids. There was nothing he loved more than gathering with his family for holiday meals.
Graduating from Lone Grove High School in 1996, Cody was an active student playing center on the football team, participating in speech and debate, member of the color guard and baritone/trombone player in the school band. He was known as the classmate who was friends with everyone.
Cody moved to Norman in the fall of 1996 to attend the University of Oklahoma. He again became an active part of his community serving as the New Sooner Orientation chair and a resident adviser in Adams Center where he met the love of his life Johnnie-Margaret McConnell. Cody later earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with minors in psychology and history.
His professional career began at First Fidelity Bank where he served as a teller and customer service representative from 2000 to 2002. Cody then began driving a school bus for Norman Public Schools while finishing his degree and was later promoted to special needs bus coordinator and ultimately director of transportation. His banking background, love of serving others and big trucks finally fused when he moved to OU as C.A.R.T.’s grants specialist in 2006.
Cody was recognized in September 2011, by Mass Transit Magazine as being a “Top 40 Under 40” in public transportation for the entire country. He was promoted last year to serve as the assistant director of transportation for the University of Oklahoma.