Henry Duane Harrel of Leedey, Oklahoma blessed and honored us with his presence for 83 years 10 months and 1 day as he gained his wings on Monday, August 16, 2021.
Duane was born on October 15, 1937, at his parent’s home place near Leedey, Oklahoma, to the late Henry Dalton Harrel and Nellie McKay Harrel. His early years were spent in the Liberty Center community where he worked on the family ranch. His high school years were spent at Leedey School. Duane then moved on to earn his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. While attending college, he served on the Student Council at Oklahoma State University and was even an officer. On January 30, 1960 he was united in marriage to Melva Merle Fairchild in Camargo, OK. They were blessed with the births of their four children; Teresa Merle, Darla Jan, Randall Duane, and Mark Dalton. Their family started in Oklahoma City and later returned to their roots when they made Leedey their home. Duane was proud of the fact that he was saved and baptized and a member of the First Baptist Church of Leedey. He was extremely proud to serve as director of the Leedey First Baptist Church Calf Roundup for Oklahoma Boys Ranch Town. His legacy definitely lives on as his family, kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids fill the back rows in his quiet corner of the church. He was very proud of the accomplishments of every one of his grandchildren and didn’t hesitate to brag on them. He loved athletics and supported all of their endeavors.
Duane was always busy doing something and going somewhere. He served in the US Army, worked for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture as the Director of Public Relations until he retired in 2010, and then he returned to work closely with his brothers as Senior Vice President of Bank of Western Oklahoma managing the Vici location. Over the years Duane has been involved with Oklahoma Cattleman’s Association, an Officer of the Sirloin Club, and an Oklahoma Youth Expo Show Honoree. But some of his favorite years to tell about were the many years spent traveling and playing softball with his brothers and many friends. He was known to be one of the best pitchers around, earning him a spot in the Oklahoma Softball Hall of Fame. He was able to continue his passion of playing ball when he coached his boys American Legion Baseball teams in Elk City. Duane also loved to tell about the years and wrecks while doing the Ranch Rodeo at the Lazy E with his ranching crew.
One of Duane’s passions and gifts was his great and natural ability to select breeding cattle, show cattle, and horses. His children won national awards showing the livestock he picked. This also carried over to his race horses. Duane was a member of the American Quarter Horse Association and Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association.
He was a leading owner at La Mesa Park in Raton, NM. Duane had a National Champion 3-year-old race colt, horse of the meet at Remington Park and at Ruidoso Downs, and 2 of the top 10 horses in the nation in 2009. Duane took great pride in having a winner of the All-American Derby at Ruidoso Downs and was a two-time winner of the Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs. He loved being at the track with his special friend Jo Ann Adams, family, and friends to watch his horses and share in the fun and entertainment.
Duane loved life and lived life. He never met a stranger and always made people feel special. Duane had a passion for farming and ranching. He loved spending time on his farms or driving around the countryside looking at his cattle and crops. Duane spent the best years of his life in Leedey, Oklahoma. It was where he attended school, raised his family, and the place he always considered home. Preceding him in death in addition to his parents, was his wife, Merle. Duane’s legacy will be passed on by his four children, Teresa Merle and husband Dr. Billy Maupin of Nampa, ID; Darla Jan and husband Johnny Corff of Leedey; Randall Duane and wife Dawn Harrel of Leedey; Mark Dalton and wife Lori Harrel of Holdrege, NE; thirteen grandchildren, Dr. Jeremiah Maupin and wife Nicole, and Zach Maupin; Colton Corff, Carson Corff, and Cade Corff; Haley Beer and husband Tate, Sydney Henry and husband Randy, Jessica Eaton and husband Wyatt, Hank Harrel, and Jack Harrel; Dalton Harrel, Dylan Harrel, and Haylee Schroeder and husband Dakota; eight great-grandchildren, Harper, Anthony, and Easton Maupin; Wryn and Thatcher Beer; Boone Henry; Kennedy and Elise Schroeder; and three more currently on the way; two brothers, Jimmy Harrel and wife Marilyn of Leedey; Frank Harrel and wife La- Tricia of Leedey. He also leaves behind twelve surviving first cousins that he was recently able to enjoy a fun evening of entertainment with at the annual Harrel picnic, nieces, nephews, and other relatives, as well as a host of friends.
Memorials may be made to the Leedey EMT & Ambulance in care of Shaw Funeral Home, P.O. Box 276, Vici, OK 73859. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, August 19, at First Baptist Church, Leedey. Graveside and burial will be at Shirley Cemetery under the direction of Shaw Funeral Home, Leedey. Condolences may be made to the family at shawfuneralhome.net.