Cover photo for Carthel Means's Obituary
1933 Carthel James Means 2024

Carthel Means

April 22, 1933 — April 26, 2024

Carthel James Means was born April 22, 1933 in Stilwell, Oklahoma to Thomas and Cora (Deason) Means and passed peacefully into his Savior’s arms April 26, 2024, at the age of 91 years and 4 days. Carthel was the third of five children born to the Means family. He was raised on top of Spade Mountain, where his family raised cattle, pigs, beans, corn and hay. Education was a top priority to Carthel’s father. His father pushed each child to do their best, work hard and to complete their education. This work ethic played an integral part in the foundation to Carthel’s many years in education.

Carthel was a graduate of Rabbit Trap Elementary in Adair County. He then went on to Stilwell High School and earned his diploma. After high school, Carthel traveled to California and found employment through seasonal work, cutting grapes and picking cotton. He would come home to Oklahoma and use his earnings to attend Northeastern State (College) University. After earning 84 hours, at the age of 20, Carthel accepted a principal, coaching, teaching position at Fairview School located in Scott County, Kansas. After three years, he moved to Manning School in Manning, Kansas, as principal, coach, and teacher. With both teaching positions, Carthel and Wilma lived in housing next to the schools. They worked in every capacity, bus driving, cafeteria, etc. and made lasting friendships with many people. During the nine years the family was in Kansas, Carthel attended Fort Hayes State and Emporia State Colleges earning more credits towards his degree. Every summer they returned to Stilwell and Carthel would attend NSU until he received his Bachelor’s Degree. Later on, he completed his Master’s Degree and gained his Superintendent’s Certificate.

In 1962, Carthel and family returned to Stilwell upon taking a principal/teaching position in the Proctor School District. After one year, he accepted the same positions with Wauhillau school. In 1968 the school was consolidated into the Maryetta School District and there, Carthel finished out the remainder of his 54 years in education, holding positions as teacher, coach, principal and superintendent. After his retirement from Maryetta in 2007, Carthel worked a few years at Cherokee Nation as a consultant in the Education Department. In addition to his career in education, Carthel has been a rodeo producer, rodeo announcer, life-time member of the Stilwell Round-Up Club, a square dance caller, architect-builder and founding organization member of Spade Mountain Cemetery.

At the age of 19, Carthel met a beautiful young girl by the name of Wilma Dell Woodward. They quickly fell in love and were soon married in 1952. Throughout their almost 72 years of marriage they have been by each other’s side, supporting each other in the good times and in the most difficult. Together they had seven children: Tommy Dale, Susan Gail, Joe Mike, Bryce David, Ray Douglas, Lori Denise and Kayla Lynn. They raised their children while finishing their degrees, working full-time, ranching, and raising broilers.

Carthel was truly the head of the household. His family not only loved him deeply, they respected him. His children trusted and wanted his advice, as well as his grandchildren. Carthel’s mind never stopped thinking and creating. He truly loved researching and trying new innovative ways, applying it to teaching methods, building, or new ranching techniques. He spent countless hours reading, studying, researching and learning the most forward -thinking methods to lead his staff and students. His desire was to provide them with the best tools so they could become their best.

Throughout the years, Carthel has won many outstanding awards, National and State. He was very successful in his career, with his farm, his marriage and family. But, Carthel’s most valued award was when he accepted Christ as his Savior and gained a heavenly reward. God opened doors for him to be there for friends who had experienced tremendous loss and be the Christian support they needed. With a deep desire for knowledge and understanding, Carthel delve into the scripture and became an excellent Sunday school teacher for many years. He also served on the Christian Worship Church board as board member, until his health did not allow. After his health began to fail, he and Wilma read and studied the Bible together every day. Carthel recited the Lord’s Prayer every day and also his favorite verses, Psalm 23. In a published article, Carthel is quoted as saying, “Good leaders are visionary. They look further over the hill into the future, establish goals. ….. They are not afraid to dream, imagine and take risks.” Carthel was a great leader. He was a visionary, but he also realized his true goal was heaven.

It is hard to condense a man such as Carthel into a short synopsis, but pulling from his favorite verses:

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This verse surely sums up in a short way Carthel’s life. Carthel experienced God’s goodness in so many ways. He also found God’s mercy in the extremely difficult times. And, we know without a doubt Carthel is dwelling in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.

Carthel was preceded in death by his parents: Thomas Josiah Means and Cora T. (Deason) Means; two sons: Tommy Dale Means and Bryce David Means; grand-daughter: Gwen Renae Means; sister: Allene (Means) Watkins; sister-in-law: Ann (Thomson) Means and brothers-in-law: Waco Watkins and Burlan Woods.

Those left to grieve his passing are: his wife of the home; Wilma (Woodward) Means; his children: Susan Cox and husband Wesley; Joe Means and wife Patti; Ray Means and wife Tonya; Lori Means and companion Johnny Perry and Kayla Means-Croley, all of Stilwell, Oklahoma; daughter-in-law: Genia Means of Sallisaw, Oklahoma; twenty grandchildren; twenty-six great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild; sister: Bethel Woods of Westville; brothers: Willie Means and wife Audrey; Jerry Means and wife Deborah; one special sister-in-law; Ollie Brunk all of Stilwell, Oklahoma; many nieces and nephews and a host of relatives and friends.

May each of you set your goal on heaven too.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Public Visitation

Monday, April 29, 2024

2:00 - 7:00 pm

Roberts Reed Culver Funeral Home

801 W Locust St, Stilwell, OK 74960

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Family Visitation

Monday, April 29, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm

Roberts Reed Culver Funeral Home

801 W Locust St, Stilwell, OK 74960

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Funeral Service

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

10:00am - 12:00 pm

Maryetta School Activity Center

81170 US-59,, Stilwell, OK 74960

Livestream

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Burial

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Spade Mountain Cemetery

, Stilwell, OK 74960

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