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.