Roland Stekl

Roland Stekl


June 7, 1927 - October 25, 2022


Roland Stekl, 95, of Mitchell, SD, died Tuesday, October 25, 2022, at Avera Brady Health and Rehab in Mitchell after a short illness. A private celebration of Roland’s life will be held with family at a later date. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Roland Wesley Stekl was born to Harry and Anna (Meier) Stekl in Mitchell, South Dakota on June 7, 1927. The family farm was ten miles north of Mitchell. He attended rural school in Butler Township for his elementary school years and enrolled in Letcher High School in 1941. After his graduation from high school in 1945, he attended Dakota Wesleyan University until his enlistment in the U.S. Army in 1946.

Most of his military experience involved assignment to the 304th Signal Corps Battalion, based in Japan, where he served as a member of the Headquarters Company. Upon his discharge from the military, he returned to Dakota Wesleyan University and graduated in 1950 with majors in history and business education. He was elected to Phi Kappa Phi upon graduation.

After teaching for four years, he became Superintendent of the school in Cresbard, South Dakota, a position he held for three years before moving to Wessington Springs and serving in a similar capacity. In 1957 he became the Superintendent at Redfield school, held that position for five years, and then resigned to accept the secondary principalship in Ketchikan, Alaska. He held that position for nine years until he was advanced to Superintendent of that 3,000-student district in 1974. After seven years, he was eligible for Alaska retirement which he accepted in 1981.

In 1982 he returned to Cresbard as Superintendent of that district. He remained in that role, along with being a part-time teacher, for nine years, then served in a similar position at Harrold, South Dakota, for five years, then returned to Cresbard as Superintendent for three more years, before deciding to retire. However, he was asked to serve as the interim Superintendent for the 2000-2001 school year with the Redfield School District, which he accepted, and then finally terminated his educational career after 49 years as a teacher and administrator. Roland moved to Wesley Acres in Mitchell in 2015.

In the 1980s and 1990s he did considerable traveling, primarily in the summer months. He was fortunate to be granted two six-week summer seminars through the US Department of Education Fulbright-Hayes program to India in 1983 and 1986, and received a similar grant to Zimbabwe and Egypt in 1993. He also received two three-week programs to Japan through the Japan Foundation in 1986 and 1998. In addition, he traveled to China, Turkey, Bermuda, Mexico, and most of the larger American cities.

Over the course of his years, he has held membership as a Mason, Shriner, Kiwanian, and in various education organizations and the Methodist Church. After retiring, he enjoyed volunteer work, particularly with the Redfield School and the activities concession stands. He was an avid supporter of Dakota Wesleyan University.

Prior to his death, Roland arranged for his body to be donated to science by enrolling in the University of South Dakota Body Donation Program. He made significant contributions to education during his life, and will now continue to do so after his passing.

Roland is survived by a sister, Norma Parce of Woonsocket; sisters-in-law, Joan (Jim) Schieffer and Eldeen Stekl, all of Mitchell; and thirteen nieces and nephews: Larry Parce of Letcher, Gene (Nerissa) Parce of Letcher, Ann Stange of Woonsocket, Curtis (Liz) Parce of Letcher, Teri (Jim) Edwards of Letcher, Lynette (Hans) Reime of Hoquiam, Washington, Coly (Bob) Blake of Wessington, Wes (Sherri) Stekl of Letcher, Allen (Joan) Stekl of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lori (Scott) Smith of Dakota Dunes, Sandy (Ronnie) Long of Mitchell, Kristi (Marty) Moody of Mt. Vernon, and Jim (Tammy) Stekl of Harrisburg.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Duane Stekl and Monte Stekl, and brother-in-law Homer Parce.

Because of Roland’s strong dedication to education, the family requests that anyone wishing to express sympathy to consider making a donation to their local education facility in Roland’s name.

Posted by Lorah Houser Jankord on November 13, 2022
I was honored to be on the school board when Mr. Stekl was hired as interim at Redfield in 2000. After his role as superintendent was done he stayed involved with the school system as the volunteer "king of the concessions." he made sure the home and visitor spectators were well fed! What an example he was on how to treat others. Peace to all who mourn him.
Posted by Bob Swanhorst on November 11, 2022
Mr. Stekl left an imprint on Cresbard's School system like none other. A totally dedicated man on integrity and philanthropy.
Posted by Harry Sidana on November 1, 2022
I first met Mr. Roland in 1983 during his first trip to India and somehow we connected immediately. Over the years we became really close and we shared a father-son kind of relationship. I visited him in 1989 and spent almost month a month at his apartment in Cresbard and I regularly visited Cresbard High School with him to spend time with his students and colleagues. He also introduced me to his brother’s family, who were staying couple of hours away from Cresbard and I also remember meeting his nephew Wesley Stekl. Later on, Mr. Roland visited us in 1986 and again in 2008 and he stayed at our house with my family and developed a special bond with my mother and my two sons. He was a great human being, extremely warm and caring and always open to help his family and friends. I will always cherish my special relationship with him. Rest in peace dear father.
Posted by Jody (Connell) Schmidt on November 1, 2022
It is with great respect that I extend my sympathies to Mr. Stekl’s family. My mother, who was a student at Cresbard during his first job there, spoke very highly of Mr. Stekl. He returned the year after I graduated, but I heard many words of praise about his commitment to the education of the area youth. Cresbard was lucky to experience his guidance.
Posted by Jody (Connell) Schmidt on November 1, 2022
It is with great respect that I extend my sympathies to Mr. Stekl’s family. My mother, who was a student at Cresbard during his first job there, spoke very highly of Mr. Stekl. He returned the year after I graduated, but I heard many words of praise about his commitment to the education of the area youth. Cresbard was lucky to experience his guidance.
Posted by Marlene & Dennis Marso on October 31, 2022
Mr. Stekl was a generous and kind man. His time as Supt. at Harrold, SD was an honor for me as Business Manager and to our students. He will always be loved by our students for the annual class Florida trips which were mostly funded by him and his concession stand - never seemed to have to pay for restocking! After he left Harrold we would get an occasional visit when he came through on his way to Pierre for a haircut. Prayers for his family. RIP
Posted by Claudia and Russ Scotter on October 29, 2022
We taught with Mr. Stekl at Cresbard for many years and will always remember his dedication to the kids and school. His love and generosity were for everyone. He had a big heart.
Posted by Charolette Peterson on October 27, 2022
Sorry for your loss 🙏🙏
Posted by Kaylin Frost on October 27, 2022
It was a privilege knowing Roland and working with him at the Redfield School District. He was such a kind man who truly cared for the people around him.
Posted by Allen Stekl on October 27, 2022
A true believer in education and dedicated his life to the profession. He impacted so many young students at every stop he made. He had a heart of gold.
Posted by Mark Harrington on October 26, 2022
Roland was a Great person...He will definitely be Missed by ALL
Posted by Kim Mohr on October 26, 2022
I loved talking with Roland at Wesley. By the sounds of things, I wish I had known him sooner!! What a legacy he leaves. My sympathies are with all of you.
Posted by Sandi and Ron Ruml on October 26, 2022
Roland and Ron spent a lot of time visiting over the last years at Wesley Acres, at least once a week. Roland was an older cousin and they enjoyed reminiscing about their younger years and discussing the Twins and DWU sports. He will be missed by many but Ron will truly miss his visits with him. May he rest in peace. ❤🙏🙏
Posted by NancyKelly on October 26, 2022
Roland TRULY made a difference in this world-left such a legacy in education! My sympathies to ALL family. RIP Roland-well deserved!!
Posted by Kelly Kahle Northrup on October 26, 2022
I’m sorry to Roland’s family for their loss. Thinking of you all at this trying time.
Posted by Jo Ann Moeller on October 26, 2022
Roland was a great neighbor and friend I I will miss him veery much
Posted by Lynette Reime on October 26, 2022
A wonderful kind person who I felt privileged to be his niece.
Posted by Coly Blake on October 26, 2022
Truly my Uncle was one of the great men in my life❤️❤️
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