Choctaw Chief Greg Pyle announces retirement during 65th birthda - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Choctaw Chief Greg Pyle announces retirement during 65th birthday celebration

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DURANT, OK -- Chief Greg Pyle started his work with the Choctaw Nation right after graduating college in the early 1970's. Now over 40 years and several accomplishments later, he has announced his retirement.

"You know I like to watch lone some dove,” Pyle said, “and there's a saying right at the end. He says well it's been a great ride.”

After serving as Chief of the Choctaw Nation for 17 years, Chief Greg Pyle announced his retirement at his 65th birthday celebration on Thursday. He says he's looking forward to this next chapter in his life.

"I feel good about being able to go and got seven grandchildren,” he said, “and haven't spent enough time with them. And now I'll get to spend lots of time. We say we're going to go out and spoil grandchildren."

Pyle says family time was the sole motivator for his decision to retire. Coming from California, he says seeing missionaries when he was a child brought him to this work of helping others.

"I think that continues, their heart's right,” said Pyle. “And then we say now we hire people because they've got to have a great heart. What have they did history, what are they going to do in the future for people. It's not just Choctaw's we believe in Southeast Oklahoma."

Thursday was a bittersweet occasion. He says he'll miss his time with the nation but knows he's leaving it in good hands with Assistant Chief Gary Batton, who says he plans to focus on Choctaw heritage.

"I know people see our casinos and things like that,” said Batton. “That's not all we're about. It's not - in Choctaw that's called 'scully'. We're not just about the money. It's about who we are, our values and our beliefs."

Batton will have a wisdom council in his leadership and a familiar face will be on it.

"I've got a feeling Chief Pyle will probably be on that council,” he said, "Chief is going to be chief to me, as long as we're together. So we're definitely going to keep that relationship.”

Batton will step into the role of chief next Monday during the official swearing-in ceremony. As for Chief Pyle, he says he's already looking at some pontoon boats to buy for his grandchildren this summer.