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Cletus Lane Carter
Cletus L. Carter, 78, of Forgan, Oklahoma passed away on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 surrounded by the comfort of his family.
Cletus was born August 2, 1940 in Liberal, KS to Arthur L. Carter and Thelma “Nub” Eden. He was a lifelong resident of Beaver County, Oklahoma. He grew up on the family farm and graduated from Forgan High School. He married the love of his life Deborah Beebe on June 1, 1958 in Forgan. They lived and worked together, almost inseparable, for over 60 years.
Cletus pursued higher education, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from Panhandle State University, a Master’s of Science degree in Natural Science from the University of Oklahoma, and further continued doctoral studies in Chemistry and Biology from the University of Oklahoma. He proudly served in the Army ROTC and competed on the ROTC rifle team.
After college, he followed his aspiration in life to be an educator. He became a high school science teacher at Beaver High School. During his tenure at Beaver High School, he was responsible for the inception of Girls Track & Field Programs in high schools across the State of Oklahoma, and consequently became Beaver’s first girls track coach. Additionally, he coached high school basketball and football, and to this day is still known as “Coach Carter” to many in his community. During this time in his life, he also was an active member of the Young Jaycees.
In 1970, Cletus returned to the farm and began helping his father with the family business. Throughout the years, he formed the family businesses of Carter Farms, Carter Enterprises, Triple C Cattle Company, and High Plains Grass Seeds. He served on both the Beaver County and the Northwest Oklahoma Community Development Councils. He was a Member of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, a Member of the Oklahoma Farmers Union, and he contributed 20 years to Oklahoma State University’s test plot program.
Although he returned to farming, he continued his constant involvement in education. He was an avid supporter of Forgan High School, its athletics programs, and served as President of the Forgan School Board. Throughout the years, he established the Oklahoma Rural Entrepreneur Action Learning program in high schools across the State of Oklahoma. He served as Director of the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Foundation. He also served on the Dean’s Advisory Council in Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources. As a donor, he was instrumental in developing the Oklahoma State University Research Center.
Cletus was extremely passionate about the rural cooperative movement. Since 1977 until his passing, he served on the Tri-County Electric Cooperative Board of Directors, where he rose through the ranks of TCEC, eventually serving as President of the Board and representing TCEC at the State and National levels.
In 1993, he joined the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives serving as Secretary, Vice-President, and was unanimously elected as President in 1999. He served on numerous OAEC committees and in 2011 he served as the very first chairman of OAEC’s newly established External Communications Committee. During his time at OAEC, he was elected by the Board as a representative at the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, where he traveled rural America supporting and educating rural electric cooperatives.
In 2000, Cletus joined the board of directors for National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation. He served as a Director, Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President, and in 2006 was elected as President of the Board. He also served as Chairman of the Finance Committee and Chairman of the Corporate Relations Committee.
In 2009, he was appointed by the Obama Administration as the Chairman of the Farm Service Agency Committee for the State of Oklahoma and served two terms under the Presidential Administration.
Cletus dedicated his life to serving rural America and has made a lasting impression on a nationwide community of rural cooperatives, farming and ranching communities, education, and athletics programs. He loved his community and was a compassionate and selfless man who touched the heart of everyone he met. He had a gift for leadership and inspired people everywhere. He was a strong supporter the U.S. Marine Corps, the Oklahoma State University girls basketball program, the Seward County Community College basketball program, as well as the science programs at both schools.
He was a lifelong member of the Forgan United Methodist Church.
He was preceded in death by parents Arthur and Thelma Carter, daughter Deedra Carter and sister Rochelle Carter Gardner. He is survived by his loving wife Deborah Carter; son Todd Carter & wife Feliza of Liberal, KS; son Troy Carter & wife Jill of Forgan; daughter Tisha Carter of Hermeray, France; sister Iva Dene Carter McCleary, of Salt Lake City, UT; grandchildren Elizabeth Taylor, Cassandra Van Noy, Lindsey Fields, Robert Vargas, Kodie Newsom, Shantel Vargas, and Tanner Carter; his nieces and nephew; six great-grandchildren; and his beloved extended family, Mario & Carmen Jaquez of Forgan and their children Ivan, Alex and Iris.
A memorial service will be March 2, 2019, 2 p.m. at the Forgan United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends directly after the service at the Golden Agers in Forgan. A private family interment will be at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Seward County Community College’s Carter Science Foundation or the United Methodist Church of Forgan. Please memo donations “In Memory of Cletus L. Carter.”
My sincere condolences to the family of Coach Carter. He was one of my favorite Coaches/Teacher that I still think about every now and then. Coach Carter was always good and fair to everyone. I will miss him.
Rex Cambern Mar 6 2019 12:00 AM
Deborah, our deepest condolences for you and family. Little did I know when I met you and Cletus in OKC earlier this year that it would be the last time I would see his ever smiling face and hear his pleasant joyful voice. I thank God for the ability to remember such an instance and to be able to recall many of the times I chatted with him. You guys will continue to be in my prayers for comfort and peace of mind. Cletus, I will see you in heaven one day.
Joe Satterwhite Mar 3 2019 12:00 AM
We are very sorry to hear of your loss.
Steve Fields-Bobbi Lee
Steve Fields Mar 2 2019 12:00 AM
So sorry to hear about Cletus' passing. I remember many wonderful things about him. It is hard to think of many things that affected my life growing up that did not include the Carter family in some way. I even got to have Cletus as a substitute teacher at SCCC during nursing school when Todd had to be gone. He was a wonderful man & succeeded at so much while remaining humble. May friends & family be of help through this difficult time.
Bryana Gayle Miller-Gahagan Mar 1 2019 12:00 AM
To the Carter family,
Coach Carter was an instrumental part of my high school years. He encouraged me in my goal of attending college when I had no viable means of doing so. He supported my intentions of becoming a nurse. I graduated from OBU in 1970 with a BS in Nursing. He was always supportive to all students and took an active interest in our hopes and dreams. We were blessed to have him in our school system. A great teacher and a great man!
Judi Sperling Underwood Mar 1 2019 12:00 AM
Deb, Todd, Troy and Tisha,
The Carter family has always been so special to me ever since first meeting Todd in the mid 70's. Over the years I've been priveledged to get to know most of 5 generations of Carter's, and have appreciated what an outstanding family that you are. Cletus was the last family member to finally use my services for his haircuts. His comment when we finished the first time was "gee if I'd have known I could look this good, I would have come here a long time ago'. He was a great man that I enjoyed getting to know so much! God bless you all in the coming days and weeks. Mark and Laura Strange
Mark STRANGE Feb 27 2019 12:00 AM
To all the Carter Family.
I was saddened to hear of Cletus passing. I always had the greatest respect for him. I don't think I ever saw him without a smile. He will be missed.
Evan Winchester Feb 27 2019 12:00 AM
MOUNTAIN MEADOW PEDESTAL ARRANGEMENT was sent by Teresa Wehmeier.
Teresa Wehmeier Feb 26 2019 12:00 AM
My heart was truly saddened when I heard of his death. There was never a time when I saw him that we didnt talk. Cletus was truly a great example of humility and a great leader all of his life. Cletus will always be Coach to many of us, especially the boys freshmen basketball team of the class of 70. He reminded me of our 50th Anniversary a couple of years ago. I think we were special to him, but he was more special to us. Cletus will be greatly missed.
Billy Westenhaver Feb 26 2019 12:00 AM
My sincere condolences to the family of Coach Carter. He was loved and respected by so many. My favorite teacher and basketball coach. The news of his passing greatly saddened me, but I have no doubt that the angels in Heaven are rejoicing.
June Altman Ballou Feb 26 2019 12:00 AM