C. Francis Voskuhl
Mass of Christian Burial for C. Francis Voskuhl, age 90, was recently held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Hennessey. It was officiated by Fr. Kerry Wakulich of St John’s in Stillwater, and Fr. Ed Menasco of St Joseph’s in Hennessey.
Our Dad was born on the family farm northwest of Marshall, Oklahoma, to Albert and Agnes (Bernard) Voskuhl. Growing up, Francis was affectionately known as “Buddy.” He was a proud graduate of Marshall High School. Francis married Idolia “Dodie” (Haddox) Voskuhl on May 29, 1954. They met at Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City where Dodie was an Administrative Assistant to a General at the base. At about that time Francis was drafted into the Army and was stationed at Ft. Lewis in Tacoma, Washington, for two years. The GI Bill granted Francis the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Oklahoma in 1960. At graduation he began work in downtown Oklahoma City and commuted to Marshall every weekend to help his father farm. During one of those weekends at the farm, Francis lost his left hand at 34 years old to an accident while cutting silage. He was fortunate to have survived. Soon afterward, Francis and Dodie moved to Hennessey in 1964 with their two girls, Sharon and Rhonda. Francis became a full time farmer and rancher of the Voskuhl Farms northwest of Marshall, which has been in the Voskuhl family for 114 years. Many had the opinion that Francis, with one hand, often did the work of two men on any given day.
Francis was a “self made man.” His pursuit of success began as a youngster. He started his days checking traps on his walk to the one room schoolhouse west of their home place. If an animal was suffering, he shot it with his rifle. Francis then walked on to school and perched his rifle in the corner of the classroom before taking his seat at his desk. How times have changed! Revenue from selling animal pelts was a good down payment to secure a loan for a hay baler. Francis was forever grateful to his grandfather John Voskuhl who always had confidence in him and co-signed for that loan. In his teens, Francis baled hay all over Garfield County, as far away as Stillwater, and to the Kansas state line. Before the widespread use of telephones, he had farmers lined up and down their long gravel driveway at sun up waiting to schedule him to bale their hay.
Francis was quick to put his business degree to work after graduating from OU. In evenings, after a full day of farming, he did his research and invested in the stock market. His typical advice on buying stocks was, “When most people are doing one thing, I do the other.” Francis loved farming and always looked for ways to expand and invest, a true entrepreneur. He frequented local cattle sales and loved buying and selling. Francis was known throughout the Oklahoma Panhandle and SW Kansas as a shrewd businessman who fed thousands of cattle. He had a deep respect for the local farmland and its value saying, “They’re not making any more land.” He worked the farm every day of his life including holidays. He instilled a deep sense of work ethic in his daughters by his example. In his latter days, he enjoyed visiting with people in Hennessey and the local Co-ops, among others. He often teased and made jokes with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face. November 2019, we celebrated his 90th birthday at the Bison Co-op over lunch. Francis was happy to see so many friends from over the years.
He was so proud of his two daughters-- which we never heard directly from him, but heard it through the grapevine. As his daughters, we always knew he was proud based on his actions. He and our Mom were our biggest fans when we played basketball at Hennessey, then later at Oklahoma State and Phillips University. Fun times! We miss them both so very much ….
Francis is survived by his daughters, Sharon Voskuhl of Tulsa and Rhonda Voskuhl, MD, of Los Angeles, his sons-in-law, Alan Staab and Allan MacKenzie-Graham, PhD, respectively, as well as four grandchildren, Blaise Staab, Zane Staab, Alec Staab, and Carmen Voskuhl.
Francis was married 61 years to Dodie Voskuhl, who preceded him in death. Also preceding him in death were his parents Albert and Agnes Voskuhl, his brother Dr. Leo Voskuhl (veterinarian) of Kingfisher and Marjorie (Voskuhl) Dacus, RN of Houston.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.