The Tharps announced as the 2019 Panhandle State Alumni Honored Family

By: 
Special to GDH
Staff Writer

The Panhandle State Association of Alumni and Friends is proud to announce the selection of the 2019 Honored Family, the Tharp Family. The Tharp family is native to the Hardesty Community. There are 26 members spanning four generations who attended Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

Henry Tharp was born in Virginia and when he was a young boy he rode a horse to Texas where he worked on ranches. While there, he married Minnie Howard and lived in Hereford, Texas. They had two sons, Joe and Jim. In 1905, Henry brought his family to the Oklahoma Panhandle and filed on land seven miles east and one-mile north of Hardesty.

Jim married Ina Graves and from this union they had 6 children (two of whom died in infancy), James, Bill, Ralph, and Agnes. The first generation who attended Panhandle State were Bill (1950) and his wife Geraldine. Bill taught math in Amarillo and had two children, Bret Tharp and Kay Lynn Preston, who will be accepting the award on behalf of their parents.

James and Gladys (Smart) Tharp had 8 children: James, Joy, Don, Gerald, Darrell, Marvin, Melvin, and Dixie. Four of their children and four spouses were the second generation to attend Panhandle State. They were James E. (1957), Joy (1964) and Husband Ronald Briggs (1968), Darrell (1963), Dixie, Jo Ann (Hinds) Tharp (1967), Barbara (McCurdy) Tharp, and Diana(Schott) Tharp.

James E. Tharp is retired and lives in Yukon, OK. Joy Briggs was a teacher and school librarian for 35 years. Her husband, Ronald, was an accountant and John Deere salesman. They live in Ulysses, KS. Darrell Tharp lives in Hardesty. Dixie Tharp worked at the Amarillo VA hospital and retired in Ulysses, KS. Jo Ann was an Elementary teacher and is retired and living in Hardesty. Barbara Tharp taught English and retired in Santa Paula, CA. Diana Tharp worked as a rural carrier in Balko for 25 years before retiring in Hardesty in 2014.

The third generation included 9 grandchildren of James and Gladys Tharp: Pat (1985) and Shelly (Sherrill) Steele (1985), Dena (Tharp)Weigand (1986), Jet Tharp (1989), Jeremy Tharp (1994), Jeannie (Tharp) Aton (1989), Christy (Tharp) Kelso (1994), Mitch Tharp, Brandy (Scott) Tharp, and Brandi (Tharp) Sutter.

Shelly Steele has been a computer teacher in Ponder, TX for 26 years. Her husband Pat Steele has been in agriculture, oil, and gas chemical sales for 35 years. Dena Wiegand is an executive director of operations in Fenton, MI. Jet Tharp is the General Manager of Farmers Coop of Western Oklahoma and lives in Custer City, Oklahoma. Jeremy Tharp is a principal in Hydro-Eakly as well as serving as the girls’ basketball coach, special education director, and transportation director. Jeannie Aton has worked in the Guymon post office for 23 and lives in Hardesty. Christy Kelso is the postmaster and resides in Goodwell. Mitch and Brandy Tharp live and work in Guymon. He is a lease operator for Scout Energy and she is an RN at the Memorial Hospital of Texas County. Brandi Sutter is the Director of Merchandise for the Amarillo Bulls.

The fourth generation to attend Panhandle State includes Tucker Beasley, Anthony Aton, Amanda (Aton) Steblay, Shaylee Kelso, Jasper and Shambri (Kelso) Smiley (2019).

Tucker Beasley is a mechanic and farmer in Hardesty. Anthony Aton is the youth pastor at Connection Church in Guymon and lives in Texhoma. Amanda Steblay is a stay at home mother. Shaylee Kelso is a Dental Assistant in Guymon. Shambri Smiley graduated in 2019 with a degree in Health and Physical Education. Her husband, Jasper Smiley, is currently attending Panhandle State and will graduate in 2020.

Panhandle State has been an important part of the Tharp family legacy. This family has contributed to their communities through both their service and vocations.

The Tharp family will be honored in a special presentation before the Homecoming Football Game on October 12th where the Aggies will be taking on Texas Wesleyan in Anchor D Stadium at Carl Wooten Field at 2:00p.m.

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