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The second of five children born to William Edwin and Georgia Beryl (Fronk) Overton, Joan (pronounced JoAnn) was born June 13, 1932 in a sod house along Clear Creek near Elmwood, Oklahoma.
Joan received her grade school education at the Elmwood school and graduated from Beaver High School in 1950. Four years later, she earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Oklahoma A&M College in Stillwater. After her graduation, she took a position as an assistant home demonstration agent based in Watonga, Okla., where she worked until 1955.
On Aug. 9, 1955, Harold S. Kachel and Joan Overton were married at the Overton farm home six miles south of Beaver. The Kachels worked for two years at Yarbrough Public Schools, where he served as principal and she was the school secretary. In 1956, Harold accepted a position as instructor in the industrial arts department at Panhandle A&M College (today Oklahoma Panhandle State University), and the couple relocated to Goodwell, Okla., where Joan became active in faculty wives activities. In 2010, Joan and Harold were recognized for wide-ranging “superior contributions” to OPSU with induction into the Alumni Ambassador Hall of Fame.
In 1965, Harold was appointed curator of the No Man’s Land Historical Museum for the No Man’s Land Historical Society, and Joan also began working at the museum. After the museum became affiliated with the Oklahoma Historical Society’s department of museums, Joan became a museum attendant. Among the many, many museum projects she worked on were a series of monthly art exhibitions of regional artists, general fundraising, and the Pioneer Days Queen display, with photographs and biographies of each recipient of the honor. During her years at the museum, Joan led tours and introduced the history of No Man’s Land to thousands of local schoolchildren who are sure to remember their class trips to the museum in Goodwell. Taken collectively, the museum displays and events that she initiated, maintained or oversaw helped preserve and showcase the unique history of the Oklahoma Panhandle. In 1992, Joan was recognized by the State of Oklahoma for her service with a Governor’s Commendation.
After retirement, Joan and Harold returned to live in the home in which they were married, the old S.S. Strong ranch headquarters house south of Beaver. In 2007, they were nominated as the Beaver County Farm Bureau Family of the Year and competed in Oklahoma City for the state title. The family project was the operating of the Kachel farm in Beaver County. The —K Farms, now the Kachel Family Limited Partnership.
For many years, Joan was actively engaged in civic and community affairs. A member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she served as president of the local chapter and spearheaded a number of historical marker projects, including Santa Fe Trail crossing markers in the Oklahoma Panhandle. She and her husband also attended many of the area’s celebrations and parades, where they were often seen driving parade dignitaries in their classic, red Cadillac convertible. In 2013, Joan and Harold were the Pioneer Queen and Parade Marshall respectively for the annual Cimarron Territory Celebration and World Cow Chip Throwing Contest in Beaver.
B. Joan (Overton) Kachel died Sept. 19, 2019. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Virginia Mallory, and her brothers Duane and Max Overton. She is survived by her husband Harold of rural Beaver County; her brother Dean Overton of Portales, N. M.; her sister-in-law Mary Overton of rural Beaver; her children and their spouses, Connie and Phillip White of Wichita, Kan., Lea and Michael Morgan of Oklahoma City, and Stan and Shari Kachel of Hooker, Okla.; and her three grandchildren, Brendan Kachel, Jarret Kachel and Keaton Kachel.
The family welcomes flowers or memorial donations to:
No Man’s Land Historical Society
P.O. Box 278
Goodwell, OK. 73939-027
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