Olin and Paula “Dusty” Branstetter
Former Senator Olin Branstetter and his wife Paula “Dusty” (Stivers) Branstetter, went together to be with the Lord on Thursday, November 17, 2011.
The family will hold a Burial Ceremony in Debolt Cemetery in Arnett, Oklahoma on Saturday, December 3, 2011. A Memorial Service Seremony will be held prior to the burial at 1:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Arnett, Oklahoma with Pastor Rick Floyd, officiating.
Olin Richard Branstetter was born on June 30, 1929 in Harmon, Oklahoma, the son of Henry and Reva Branstetter. Olin grew up in Arnett, Oklahoma where he received his early education. After graduating from high school Olin continued his studies at Oklahoma State University. While at OSU, he joined the ROTC, and was business manager at Farmhouse Fraternity. He helped spearhead the later expansion of the farmhouse and the plan for financial soundness. During college he rode rodeo bulls to pay expenses. After college he spent years as a Captain in the US Army in Korea and in the Reserves.
Paula Gene “Dusty” Stivers was born on December 25, 1931, in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, the daughter of Ovid and Eugenia (Masters) Stivers. She grew up in Sapulpa, where she received her early education. After graduation from High School she enrolled into Oklahoma State University. While at OSU, Dusty was active in the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and served as secretary to the President of the University.
While at OSU Olin met Paula Stivers at an “I like Ike” meeting.
In June of 1952 Olin joined the United States Army and served our country in the Korean War. That same year Olin married Paula “Dusty” Stivers in Sapulpa and the couple moved to Virginia where they made their home. They lived in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, Ft. Hood, TX, St. Josephs, MO, Jefferson City, MO and then moved the young family to Ponca City, Oklahoma in 1963.
Olin and Paula both have their instrument and private pilot license. Olin also has maintained a commercial license and instructor’s license to enhance his skills and experience as a pilot. He has also owned and piloted aerobatic aircraft.
Their favorite aircraft was the white and gold piper, Cherokee 180, N7746W, which seated four passengers. They enhanced this aircraft with many extras for safety and comfort including wing tips, cap seals, gyros, redundant Nav and com radios, auto pilot, wing leveler and booster headphones. The New Testament always rode on the dashboard and prayers of praise were recited before every take off and after ever landing as part of an unwaivering pre-flight routine and checklist. They would love so deeply to be remembered by the thousands of hours they spent helping others and their lives of achieving extraordinary things is a inspiration for others to follow.
In 1984, the Branstetters and their son, Jack Branstetter, flew over the magnetic North Pole making Dusty the first family to accomplish the flight. Paula’s father, Ovid Stivers, Sr. was the first aircraft owner in Sapulpa, Oklahoma in 1928, a beautiful Biplane.
Olin served as a Republican State Senator from 1987 to 1991.
Olin was involved in Ponca Aviation Boosters, FOCAS (Fellowship of Christian Anglers Society). He was also a Gideon. He volunteered in PTA, Cub Scouts and Boys Basketball. Olin’s hobbies included fishing, dog walking, flying & aviation, sports, story telling and oratory.
Paula’s hobbies were sewing, embroidery, letter writing, camping, traveling, dog walking, flying and aviation and she was a sports fan. She was active in Aviation boosters, Pioneer Woman of Aviation Group and had served as a Pink Lady at the Ponca City Medical Center and as a tour guide at the Marland Mansion.
She was also named Pioneer Woman of the Year in 2004.
Olin and Dusty were longtime members of Ponca City Assembly and they loved their church family.
Their four sons, Olin, Paul, Jack and Henry all graduated from OSU as well as their daughter in law Janice. Their oldest granddaughter Kristen currently attends OSU.
Olin and Paula’s marriage was like “salt and pepper”. They were together all the time and always complimenting the other. They consistently uplifted others with encouragement, prayers and positive thinking philosophy. They enjoyed sharing inspiration through written notes, clever poems and ditties. They showed outward love and respect as a shining example. Paula’s favorite scripture is Romans 8: 38 -39. Olin’s life philosophy was “ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.”
The Branstetters should be remembered for their thousand acts of love. They established and have awarded over 50 college scholarships and they have selflessly given their time and money to the Salvation Army and Gideons International. They established a regular weekly ministry to benefit the male and female inmates in county jail. They both piloted many, many “angel flights” which transport sick children to doctors and hospitals far from their homes. They scholarships they already established 5 years ago include the Paula G. Branstetter Aviation Scholarship, Education College, OSU, Branstetter Licensed Practical Nurse Scholarship, Pioneer Technical in Ponca City, Olin R Branstetter Oklahoma Farmhouse Scholarship in Stillwater. They also sponsored many other charities such as Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, Cal Farley Girls Home, Baptist Home for Girls, Gideons International, Marland Children’s Home, Salvation Army, Full Gospel for Businessmen and Fellowship, Hospice of North Central Oklahoma, Billy Graham Evangelistic ministries and Global Outreach Mission.
Family members include three sons, Paul Branstetter of Davis, Oklahoma, Jack Branstetter and wife Janice of Ponca City; Henry Bransetter of Eureka Springs. And their grandchildren, Kristen, Nicole, Truly and Paris. Olin is survived by one sister, Audine Word and Dusty is survived by one uncle, Claude Masters.
The couple was preceded in death by their parents and one son, Olin DeWitt Branstetter. Olin was also preceded in death by one brother, Max Henry Branstetter. Dusty was also preceded in death by one brother, Ovid Stivers, Jr. and daughter-in-law Phrely “Freely” Branstetter in 2011.
Phrely’s sons, Brandon and Brent McNiel, reside with their families in Mannsfield, TX and Houston, TX.
Honorary casket bearers will be Tom McCoy, Roy Branstetter, Rex Branstetter, Brent Word, Brad Word, Bruce Word, Don Stivers, Earl Bales, George Giffin, Eric Seeliger and Steven Grother.
Memorial contributions may be made to Gideon’s International, Salvation Army, Marland Children’s Home, Campus Crusade for Christ or to Hospice of North Central Oklahoma.