Jim Tyree was born on May 30, 1922 in Sperry, Oklahoma. He grew up as an oil worker's son in Oklahoma City where he played football at Capitol Hill High School. As an "all-state" football player, he was a first line "all-state" player who was inducted into the Capitol Hill Athletic Hall of Fame.

He was recruited by Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University and joined the Sooners in in 1941, however, because they could obtain a summer job for him, digging ditches for Oklahoma Natural Gas Company.

At Oklahoma, he played both offensive and defensive end until serving with the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946.

He was a draft choice of the Brooklyn Tigers NFL professional team and received an appointment from West Point to play ball for the academy but, before he could accept, he was activated into military service. He attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the US Army and served in the South Pacific becoming Battery Commander in the 165th Field Artillery Unit. This unit had been prepared to be among the first to invade Japan but it was aborted when the US dropped the atomic bomb and Japan surrendered.

His return home was delayed when his battalion was selected to run the prisoner-of-war camps bringing war criminals to trial. In 1946, after eight months and 50,000 prisoners had been handled, his duty at Luzon ended and he was discharged to return home.

He returned to the Sooners for the 1946 and 1947 seasons and during the 1946 season, he was elected captain by his teammates and in 1947 he was elected co-captain. He lettered all four years at Oklahoma, attained "all-conference" status in the Big Six, played for the South in the Blue-Gray all-star game, played on the 1947 team which won the Gator Bowl at Jackson, Florida, the first bowl game ever won by Oklahoma.

Following graduation as a mechanical engineer, he played professional football as a first line player with the 1948 Boston Yanks. Ultimately he retired from the "Yanks" to begin his professional career.

He started as an engineer trainee with Oklahoma Natural Gas and was named was named Oklahoma district operating manager in 1956 and then was promoted to the Shawnee district vice president in 1964. In 1972, Jim was named executive vice president of ONG and later president in 1976.

In 1982 through his retirement in 1986, he was served as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Board of ONEOK, and it was under his leadership, that ONEOK had major business expansions and moved its headquarters to its present location in downtown Tulsa.

From ditch-digger to CEO/President, he had a illustrious and meteoric rise in his professional career, was a prominent civic leader in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and throughout the state, serving on a variety of task forces, civic projects, and cultural programs. He served on numerous boards, including the Bank of Oklahoma, Liberty National Bank and Trust Company, American Gas Association, the Gas Research Institute in Chicago, Indian Nations Council of Boy Scouts and Industries for Tulsa, and was chairman of the Southern Gas Association.

In retirement, Jim enjoyed fishing and family at his lake home in Eufaula, Oklahoma. He was known by all who met him for his huge wide receiver hands and broad shoulders, but they were small compared to his kind and generous heart.

In 1975, he was made a member of "The All-Time Greats of Oklahoma" by the Jim Thorpe Award Committee for his football accomplishments.

Jim Tyree, passed away on April 16, 2010, after a courageous fight with lung cancer.