1945 -P38 Lightning 1

Floyd Joseph Massad. Courtesy

Floyd Joseph Massad turned his sewing skills and admiration of the female form into an iconic Tulsa store that both scandalized and delighted.

Massad — the man behind Massad’s of Tulsa and a WWII veteran — died Oct. 19 at the Jack C. Montgomery Medical Center in Muskogee. He was 95.

Born to Lebanese immigrants who homesteaded in Beggs around the turn of the century, in his retirement he maintained an 80-acre farm near Grand Lake.

But the majority of Floyd Massad’s life was spent as the proprietor of his women’s clothing and lingerie store, making for an exotic upbringing for son Ted Massad and his three brothers.

“It was basically like being the son of Hugh Hefner. There were models around all the time (and) fashion shows,” Ted Massad, 43, said in a recent interview with The Frontier.

Massad’s opened at 15th Street and Lewis Avenue in 1950 and moved a half-mile east in 1986.

They sold bras, shoes, formal and party dresses but were known for their sexy panties and lingerie.

Ted Massad described it as a dress-shop-meets-Frederick’s of Hollywood and acknowledged some saw the store’s wares as scandalous.

His father “thought it was a beautiful thing for a man and woman to be able to enjoy each other,” whether in red-carpet attire or a corset and high heels, Ted Massad said.

“All of it celebrated feminine beauty.”

Floyd Massad also created custom pieces including costumes for theatrical productions, professional wrestling and even wedding dresses.

“They didn’t have just what everybody else had, they had stuff you couldn’t buy anywhere else,” said Ed Collins of Tulsa.


Floyd Joseph Massad. Courtesy.

When the store closed in 2011, Massad told the Tulsa World about 40 percent of his merchandise was made in-house.

Ted Massad had carried on the family’s legacy as clothiers, attending ESMOD International, a Paris fashion design school, and joining the business. He designed pieces that his father constructed.

“He touched so many lives, artistically speaking,” Ted Massad said.

Erin Atwood, 30, of Tulsa recalled shopping for a bathing suit at Massad’s for a senior trip to Cancun when she was 17.

She described herself then as “an awkward girl who’d just really grown into a woman’s body … and hadn’t figured out how to dress for her curvier figure.”

Atwood grew up driving past the store’s displays, particularly at Halloween, thinking it was an exotic store for the most beautiful women.

“A lot of people thought it was a trashy store or a store for lingerie — and it definitely had things that fit both (those) criteria — but to me … it was a place that had well-made clothing that celebrated women and their figures,” she said.

Floyd Massad took the time to help her shop. She left with an American flag bikini that was age appropriate but still edgy and fun, she said.

“I was made to feel beautiful and told I could wear anything I wanted no matter what size I was.”

His appreciation of the human body inspired his work while his love of nature was reflected in his hobbies of landscape painting, gardening, hiking and camping.

As a “passionate” Orthodox Christian, Floyd Massad “was amazed by God’s creation,” his son said. He also relished the art of storytelling.

Floyd Massad volunteered to serve in WWII at 24. He initially hoped to be a pilot but took an assignment as a propeller mechanic after vision tests revealed he was colorblind.

1944 Paris France -George V cafee

“It probably saved him during the war,” Ted Massad said.

Floyd Massad told his four sons about landing at Normandy on the heels of D-Day and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.

Although war was a grim and serious topic, he preferred humor and enjoyed sharing how he accidentally meandered into a minefield on his way to pick up a fallen airplane for repair.

He and his American comrades would later be pictured in The Saturday Evening Post as it reported the liberation of Paris. Massad’s rifle is propped against his knee as he casually holds a beer in one hand and cigarette in the other.

Floyd Massad then attended Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (now known as Oklahoma State University), where he earned an engineering degree in 1948.

He was married and divorced twice, and fathered four children: Ted Massad, Chris Massad, Stan Massad and Keith Massad. He is survived by his sons and two sisters, Anna Ogdee and Lillie Solomon.