It’s almost time to celebrate the birth of the city of Duncan, and subsequently the county, as Founders Day comes closer. One of the major parts of the celebration is the crowning of the Queen and King, which is a little different than most festival royalty, because they’re mostly 80-years-old and up.
The Queen and King contest is sponsored by the Stephens County Museum’s Historical Museum Association and two non-board members went over the nominations and have chosen Carl Slifer as king and Charlene Schick Sullivan as queen.
This is the third year for the King title, it was added to include all the men who have contributed to the county.
Founders Day is June 22, and the Queen and King will be announced a week earlier. The crowning ceremony details will be announced as plans are finalized.
The following are the submitted nominations for each.
Carl Slifer was born Nov. 10, 1927, his wife, Evelyn, was born Oct. 22, 1927.
They married April 16, 1949 (Wow! That is 70 years) and adopted two boys in 1955.
They Moved to Duncan in 1956 — They came to visit Evelyn’s nephew and his wife about eight times, but one time they left Mattoon, Illinois, covered in snow and arrived in Duncan, Oklahoma, to a bright, sunny day. Carl said he decided they were moving to Duncan when he could walk down the sidewalk with a short-sleeved shirt instead of freezing in Illinois.
They joined First Christian Church the second week they lived in Duncan.
Carl has served First Christian Church as an Elder for 62 years, being awarded “Elder Emeritus” July 17, 2016. In 1976-77, he was “Layman of the Year” by The Oklahoma Christian Men’s Fellowship; in 1983-84, he received a certificate for “Outstanding Service to the Work of Our Lord and His Church in Oklahoma.” He served communion to shut-ins for more than 30 years and still has a communion kit in his car, “just in case he needs it.” He also served as Chairman of the Board for many years and took care of the church grounds as part of his stewardship to a church he loves. 91 years old and he is still a greeter every Sunday morning before the early service at 912 W Walnut. He was a Sunday School teacher, a cook for the Men’s Breakfast, a cook for the Wednesday Night Live program for the youth of the church, substitute preacher in Duncan, Healdton and anywhere in Oklahoma he was needed and more.
Outside of the church, Carl was involved in Duncan’s Civic Affairs; The Toy Shop; received the Certificate of Appreciation from the United Way; served on the Board of the United Way for three terms; on the Board of the Community Residence, serving as Treasurer for six years; worked on projects of “Day of Caring” for several years; was on the Chamber of Commerce Board for one term, receiving the “Someone You Should Know award October, 2007; and served on the Senior Citizens Board for three terms.
When first arriving in Duncan, Carl tried his hand at opening a donut shop and then worked for Ray Maier Sporting Goods for about one year, before he went to work at the U.S. Post Office on Willow for 30 years. His duties started as a sub for whoever or whatever needed doing, including postal clerk, carrier, working the window, sorting the mail, meeting the train to pick up the mail until the trucks started delivering the mail to the Post Office, then retiring in 1988.
For extra income for his family, Carl started mowing for people and continued for over 55 years doing just about anything to help his customers. At 82, he was still climbing trees to cut down branches if they obstructed his mowing schedule or a storm came through town. He mentioned one, longtime customer, Bobby and Shirley Richardson. He started mowing for Bobby a year before Bobby married Shirley and just had to stop about four years ago due to Evelyn’s health. That means they were a customer of his for over 50 years.
• Charlene Schick Sullivan Nomination for Founder’s Day Queen: Charlene Sullivan was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, in 1928 to Charles and Flossie Smith Schick. She attended Emerson Grade School, Duncan Junior High and Duncan High School, graduating in 1946. She had many activities and achievements while in high school. She was in the Honor Society and on the Student Council. She was the Football Homecoming Queen her senior year, and the Duncan Demons were the state champions. She was also a member of Cheetah Charms Club (now Jolly Jills).
Her senior year in high school, she was also the editor of the Smoke Rings Yearbook. That year, she started the Crossman Award, named after the Crossman Printing Company out of Stillwater, Oklahoma, who printed the yearbook. She and Mr. Crossman came up with the idea of this honor. The Crossman Award was given to the outstanding citizen of the senior class each year on the basis of scholarship and desirable qualities.
She attended Oklahoma A&M College, now Oklahoma State University, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. While attending college, she wrote an essay on her Christian faith and won a scholarship from the United Christian Youth Movement. The Home Economics Department gave her a scholarship that sent her to Detroit, Michigan, for studies. She was also Aggie Football Princess of Homecoming her senior year at Oklahoma A&M and a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority, the Orange and Black Quill Club and International Relations Club.
She graduated in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Child Development. She was one of the last students receiving her lifetime teaching certificate for Pre K-12. She was the sole proprietor of a nursery school in Duncan for many years. People still have fond and fun memories of their time in her nursery school, and she still has her original teaching certificate.
She married Pat Sullivan in 1950 in the First Christian Church in Duncan, Oklahoma. Today, she remains one of the longest members on the church rolls and was baptized in 1936. She taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at the First Christian Church and at Girl Scout Camp.
Together, she and Pat moved to San Antonio, Texas, while Pat worked as a JD Legal Officer in the United States Air Force. They returned to Duncan in 1954, where Pat opened his law firm with his brother Paul. While Pat was busy at his law firm, she became active in her commercial and residential building business called Sullivan and Sullivan Rental. These projects included the renovation and renting of many properties here in Duncan and several out-of-town projects.
She was active in the Girl Scouts with her daughter. She spent many hours at Girl Scout Camp teaching the young ladies to “trench their tent.” She was active in the Boy Scouts with her son. She was a Boy Scout Den Mother and a Troop Committee Leader of Troop 417 at the First Methodist Church.
She has been a faithful and loyal supporter of all things Duncan and proud to have always been a resident of this fine, small town. She has been involved in and instrumental in the Main Street Duncan program and on the Board of Directors. She was awarded the Loyal Main Street Member Award in September, 2012. She has been involved in and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. She is a life member and served on the Board of the Stephen’s County Museum. She has been a supporter of Youth Services and served as a board member. Her father started Youth Services in the Duncan area.
She was a member of the Jaycee Janes while Pat was a member of the Jaycees. She helped raise money for the Simmons Center and was a major donor to Duncan Regional Hospital.
She and her father were instrumental in getting Kiddieland Park built and opened so hundreds of children for decades could enjoy the rides. She and her children were on the first ride of the carousel in 1956. At the 50-year celebration in 2006, she supplied them with original tickets from the 1956 grand opening. Her brother helped get the gazebo built in the park as well. She and Pat were faithful members of the Starlighters Dance Club and the Carousel Dance Club. She was diligent in getting new members in both dance clubs. She is a member of PEO, a philanthropic, educational organization for women; Hestian Study Club and the Pi Beta Phi Alumni Club. She was Omicron Nu Province President of Pi Beta Phi for three years. She received the Pi Beta Phi Evelyn Peters Kyle Angel Award in April 1998.
She was the guiding force behind the renovation of the antique clock located on the ASCOG building in Duncan. She raised the funds for this endeavor and found the clock-maker that could restore it to its former glory. They honored her with a plaque located on the ASCOG building.
She has been the chairwomen of all the high school class reunions for her 1946 graduating class. She is the glue that keeps all the remaining class together. She still corresponds with former classmates that are residing all over the country. As the editor of the Smoke Rings Yearbook of 1946, she wrote the following: “Look to this day … for yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today, well-lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness — and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.”
In March she returned to the OSU campus to celebrate her Pi Beta Phi Sorority’s Centennial Celebration. She was the second oldest lady in attendance. As always, she was the belle of the ball knew everyone. She remembers all the history of Pi Phi and the national historian made plans to visit her and record her memories of sorority life.
After the passing of her beloved husband of 68 years in 2018, she continues to manage her real estate ventures and properties. She reads four newspapers per day and keeps up daily on world and national news and politics. She continues to visit local places all at the age of 90.
She is truly deserving of this honor and she would be honored to represent Duncan as the Founder’s Day Queen.