Roland Stekl


Roland Stekl, 95, of Mitchell, died Tuesday, Oct. 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 were by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Roland Wesley Stekl was born to Harry and Anna (Meier) Stekl in Mitchell, 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 for three years before moving to Wessington Springs and serving in a similar capacity. In 1957, he became the Superintendent at Redfield school for five years and then resigned to accept a secondary principalship in Ketchikan, Alaska, which he held for nine years until he was advanced to Superintendent of that 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 for five years. He 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 ended 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. 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. He also traveled to China, Turkey, Bermuda, and Mexico.

Over the course of his years, he has held membership as a Mason, Shriner, Kiwanian, in various education organizations, and the Methodist Church. After retiring, he enjoyed volunteer work, particularly with the Redfield School. 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.

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.

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