CLASS OF 1959
The following was copied from an online issue of Steve's obituary in the Kingfisher Times & Free Press:
S. Steven Smola was born Nov. 20, 1940, in El Reno, Okla., to parents, Stanley S. Smola and Neva Jones Smola. He died Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital surrounded by his family. He grew up in Kingfisher, Okla., with his sister, Joyce Smola Brown, and brothers, Gary and Ronald. Growing up he was very involved in showing award winning sheep through FFA and played football at Kingfisher High School where he graduated in 1959. He was later inducted in to the Kingfisher High School Alumni Hall of Fame for his achievements later in life.
Steven married Barbara Schoelen on Sept. 1, 1962, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Kingfisher, Okla. They had six children: Brenda Smola-Foti (Frank), of Portland, Ore., Marilyn Smola Green (Colin) of Baltimore, Md., Shelly Smola Harper (Perrin Scudder) of Dallas, Texas, Dr. Angela Smola Shepardson (Jason)of Edmond, Okla., Michael Smola (Julie) of St. Louis, Mo., and Christopher Smola, deceased. His grandchildren include: Daniel and Katherine Harper, Dallas, Texas, Brennan and Colby Shepardson, Edmond, Okla., Benjamin, Grace and Caroline Smola of St. Louis, Mo., and Tess and Eva Greene of Baltimore, Md.
He was preceded in death by one son, Christopher, his brother, Gary, and his parents.Steven attended Oklahoma State University and graduated in 1964 with a degree in agronomy. He began his career at Wheeler Brothers Grain Co. in Watonga, Okla., where he worked until his retirement after 37 years.
Early in his career as a soil specialist, he was instrumental in teaching area farmers the best use of fertilizer to increase crop yields. He went on to build and manage Wheeler Brothers Feedlot and ultimately became CEO of that company. During his tenure as CEO, he orchestrated the purchase of a defunct short-line railroad, now known as AT&L Railroad Company, in order to reduce the cost of shipping wheat to market.
Steven was very active in several state and national organizations serving in many positions. He was president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association in 2002-2003. He served as chairman and on the board of directors of various committees for the National Cattlemen’s Association, the Oklahoma Beef Council, Texas Cattle Feeders Association and the State Board of Agriculture. He was a life member of Oklahoma State University Agriculture Alumni Association, Oklahoma Railroad Association Director, Union Pacific Railroad Short-line Development Advisory Committee, Fort Reno USDA Research Station Advisory Committee and served on the OSU College of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources Deans Advisory Committee. He served on the Watonga City Council, Watonga Hospital Board and the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church Parish Council of which he was a member for 40 years. Steve moved to Oklahoma City in 2004 where he lived until his death.
A Wake was held at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Kingfisher, Okla., on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. followed by a funeral service on Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 10:30 a.m. with interment to follow at Kingfisher Memorial Cemetery. Arrangements are under direction of Sanders Funeral Service.
In lieu of flowers the family requests any memorials are made to the Chris Smola Literary Fund at the Watonga Public Library, 301 N. Prouty, Watonga, OK 73772. (580-623-7748)