Our family OPSU story started in the middle of the “Dirty ’30’s” when two young students enrolled at then Panhandle Agricultural and Mechanical College (PAMC). These two students were siblings, James and Rosalie Smith. The unique thing about these two students is that they brought their mother, Rosa Smith, with them to college. Rosa took care of her two youngest children and helped pay for their tuition by taking in laundry and ironing. James and Rosalie both graduated with education degrees in the spring of 1937 and set off to make their lives in the world.
Rosalie Smith found her first teaching job at a rural school, Mitchell School, in the wide open prairie of Baca County, Colorado, in the fall of 1937. During her first and only teaching year, she stayed with a host family, the Dayton and Camilla Taylor family. It was also during this year that Rosalie met Cecil Silvey. In the summer of 1938, Cecil and Rosalie married and began building a home and family during a desperate time in history. Cecil and Rosalie raised four children in rural Walsh, CO; Howard, Shirley, James and Travis. All of the Silvey children graduated from Walsh Schools in Walsh, CO, and attended PAMC. The three oldest graduated PAMC while Travis attended Oklahoma Panhandle State College of Agriculture and Applied Science from 1969-70, until he was drafted into the US Army.
Howard SilveyHoward Silvey (son of Rosalie) graduated from Walsh High School in 1958. In the fall of 1958, Howard began his freshman year at PAMC. Howard was involved in the Block and Bridle Club, Livestock Judging Team (competed nationally), and was a member of the ROTC. He competed and won the Intramural Meat Judging Competition one of his years at PAMC. He also was a member of the basketball and baseball teams for one year.
Howard lived on campus for three years, but after marrying Joyce (Chase), the couple moved off campus. During his time at PAMC, Howard worked at the college farm and the Texhoma Sale Barn on sale days.
Following graduation, Howard was a manager of a cattle feed yard, supervisor at a custom feed mill and was District Manager for Allis-Chalmers farming equipment. He went on to work at Kingman Production Credit Association for 15 years as field representative, loan officer, vice president and president. Howard then worked at Citizen’s Bank of Kansas as the Ag Loan Officer, Vice President and Senior Vice President for 17 years. After retirement from the banking industry, Howard continues to be self-employment as an Ag appraiser.
Joyce (Chase) Silvey was born and raised in Harper County on the Chase family farm. During her elementary years, Joyce attended Paruna, Buffalo and Selman schools. She graduated as Valedictorian in 1960 from Selman High School. In the fall of 1960, Joyce entered PAMC as a freshman and lived in Muller Hall, the girls’ only dormitory on campus and worked in the cafeteria. Joyce was nominated as a
ROTC queen candidate her freshman year. In the summer of 1961, Howard and Joyce married. Joyce worked in the student union in the fall of 1961 and then transferred to work as an office aide to Mr. Clint Abbott in the Metal Shop building. Joyce remembers that the metal shop building was the last building on the northwest side of campus.
Joyce later completed her Associates Degree, Accounting, at Pratt Junior College, Pratt, KS, in 1988. She worked for Kingman Insurance Agency from 1990 until her retirement in 2007.
Howard and Joyce have made Kingman, KS their home for the past forty-four years where they raised four children – Jody, Tressa, Janene and Shannon. Howard and Joyce have eight grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and four step-great-grandchildren. The couple recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.
Shirley (Silvey) SharpeShirley Silvey (daughter of Rosalie) graduated from Walsh High School, and enrolled at PAMC in 1959. While at PAMC, Shirley worked at the library where she fostered her love of reading.
Shirley married John Richard (Rick) Sharpe in 1961, the summer of her junior year at PAMC. In the spring of 1963, during her student teaching semester, Shirley and Rick became parents to twins John Kyle and Jana Kim. Rick, with the help of his mother, took care of the babies in order for Shirley to finish her student teaching and to graduate two months later with a degree in Business Education.
Following graduation, Shirley began her teaching profession as a first grade teacher at Walsh Elementary School; she never taught business. There, she was able to share her love of reading with her students. Shirley went on to earn her Master’s Degree from Adams State College in 1973 and added two more girls to the family: Kristi and Karli. All four of Shirley and Rick’s children graduated high school from Walsh.
Shirley retired from teaching in 1993. She loved teaching children in the Walsh School District for 28 years. In 1996, Shirley was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a debilitating, very uncommon, neurological disease; she eventually lost her ability to speak and passed away in December of 2008. Shirley has eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Rick continues to make his home in Walsh.
Kyle’s wife, Deborah (Debbie Batterton) Sharpe (daughter-in-law of Shirley, granddaughter-in-law of Rosalie), enrolled at OPSU following her graduation from Springfield High School, Springfield, CO, and marriage to Kyle in 1984. Debbie earned her Elementary Education degree, Magna Cum Laude, in 1987 from OPSU. While at OPSU, Debbie was the editor for the Plainsman yearbook for three years under the direction of Bob Wise. She was also involved in the Commuter’s Club and served on Student Senate.
Debbie started her thirtieth year as an early childhood specialist – Preschool Director and ECSC educator for Springfield School District – NEYAC Accredited Early Childhood Program in 2016. Kyle farms and ranches in Baca County. The couple live in Walsh. Kyle and Debbie have three children; Jarron, Jordan and Emily.
Kristi (Sharpe) Smith (daughter of Shirley, granddaughter of Rosalie) attended OPSU from 1992 – 1994. After leaving OPSU, Kristi married Brian Smith in 1995. The couple have two daughters, Hayleigh, Springfield High School graduate, and Ryann, a Springfield Junior High student. Kristi worked at the Springfield Public Schools as a Para Aide for a special needs student, which she really enjoyed. Currently, Kristi works at a flower shop and is a substitute teacher in Springfield. She also has a photography business that helps the local newspaper with sports and special events photography.
Kristen (Wood) Cook (daughter of Kim, granddaughter of Shirley, great-granddaughter of Rosalie) graduated high school from Springfield. She graduated from Northeastern Junior College, Sterling, CO, with an Associate’s Degree, attended Colorado State University at Ft. Collins, CO, and then, after three semesters, completed her BS Ag Business at OPSU in 2013. Kristen loved the small campus atmosphere at OPSU and appreciated the ability to be close to home (Springfield, CO) in order to work on the weekends.
Kristen married Brad Cook in the spring semester of her final semester at OPSU. Kristen and Brad have made their home north of Walsh where she continues to work on the family farm. The couple welcomed a son, Dayton Joseph, into the world in October of 2015.
Jarron Sharpe (son of Kyle, grandson of Shirley, great-grandson of Rosalie) graduated Springfield High School and enrolled in Northeastern Junior College. Jarron graduated from NJC, Sterling, CO, with an Associate’s Degree, attended Colorado State University at Ft. Collins, CO, and then attended OPSU for three semesters, leaving OPSU in 2013.
Jarron married Tyslea (Cole) in 2014 and has a daughter, Emmerlyn Ray. Jarron is the Herdsman for Bridle Bit Simmentals in Walsh and is an independent contractor for Genex Bull Semen. Tyslea is the Administrative Assistant at Skyland Grain in Walsh.
James SilveyJames (Jim) Silvey, (son of Rosalie) graduated from Walsh High School in 1962. He promptly enrolled at PAMC seeking a degree in Business. While at PAMC, Jim was involved with ROTC for two years, worked at the Freeman Feedlot in Texhoma, OK, the Texhoma sale barn and the college farm.
Jim married Sandra Eastham, also a Walsh High School graduate, in the summer of 1965. The couple lived off campus in Goodwell while Jim completed his degree. Jim completed his BS Science, Business degree in the fall semester of 1968. Following graduation from PAMC, Jim worked as a district manager for Allis Chalmers. Jim and business partner, Harold Farmer, opened an Allis Chalmers store in Walsh, CO. Harold was killed in an airplane crash soon after the business opened. Cecil, Bud (Cecil’s brother) and Jim bought Harold’s part of the business and opened Silvey’s Inc. Jim acted as the manager for the family operated business that sold and serviced Allis Chalmers equipment as well as sold implements and other farm equipment until they closed their doors.
After Silvey’s Inc. closed, Jim worked with Billy Whitfield grading feedlot cattle with ultra sound equipment. He also did custom harvesting and helped friends and family with farm and ranch work.
Jim and Sandra raised three children, Jada, Kara and Bart, in Walsh, and all graduated from Walsh High School. Sandra passed away in January of 2004; Jim still makes his home in Walsh. Jim has ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Jada (Silvey) Breeden (daughter of Jim, granddaughter of Rosalie) attended one year (1987-1988) at Lamar Community College following high school graduation. She enrolled at OPSU in the fall of 1992 with her younger sister, Kara. She was a member of the Peer Counselors for two years and worked one semester at the Collegian, the campus newspaper. She also worked in the Physical Plant for one year, the Athletic Department as an office aide for two years and in the Counseling, Career and Testing office for one year. Jada graduated in 1997 with a BS in Psychology. Jada has eight children – four birth children from her previous marriage – Derek, Kevin, Brooke and Tayler Dickerson – and received four bonus children when she married her husband, Robert Breeden – Kacee, Hannah, Kagen and Nicolas Breeden. Jada and Robert have five grandchildren.
Jada now lives in Spearman, TX; and serves as the Executive Director at the Guymon Chamber of Commerce in Guymon, OK. She is an active member of the Guymon Rotary Club, the Main Street Guymon Board, the PREDCI Board, the Membership and Programing Committee for the Texas County Family YMCA and participates in organization and planning on many community action committees.
The Guymon Chamber of Commerce employs an OPSU student as an intern each spring semester for their help with the annual Guymon Pioneer Days. She hopes that the interns learn the importance of volunteering and community pride by working with businesses and organizations in the area. Jada also mentors a member of the Phi Beta Lambda Club through Rotary and is a co-sponsor of the annual “Lunch with an Aggie”.
Five of Jada’s children and bonus children have attended or are currently enrolled at OPSU; three of their significant others have attended or are currently attending OPSU. Her daughter, Brooke Dickerson, and daughter-in-law, Brittany Breeden, are currently enrolled. Derek Dickerson, Kevin Dickerson, Kacee Breeden and Hannah (Breeden) Martinez have attended OPSU. Derek and Kevin were members of the Aggie baseball team. Erica Sharkey, Derek’s fiance, graduated from OPSU and Kelcie Huffman, Kevin’s fiance, attended OPSU and is currently the OPSU Cheer Coach.
Kara Silvey (daughter of Jim, granddaughter of Rosalie) attended OPSU from 1992-1997, graduating with a BS Psychology degree. Kara was a member of the Peer Counselors and worked on campus in the Student Services office. Kara was involved with intramural athletics and enjoyed getting to know new people on campus.
Kara and her two children, Claire and Cash Mains, make their home in Guymon. Claire is in the seventh grade at Guymon Central Junior High and participates in volleyball and is the Tiger Mascot. Cash is in the fifth grade at Academy Elementary and participates in Kids Inc. sports. Kara is the office manager at Engine Machine Specialists in Guymon.
Travis SilveyTravis Silvey (son of Rosalie) graduated Walsh High School. Walsh, CO, and enrolled for the fall semester at Oklahoma Panhandle State College of Agriculture and Applied Science in 1969.
Travis recalls watching the Draft Lottery in the lounge with other classmates; his birthday was the third drawn. When he arrived at the ROTC department the following Thursday, they offered to sign him up in Officer Training. He declined and waited for the Draft. He attended three semesters and was then drafted into the US Army in 1971.
After returning from the Army, Travis married Judy (Tevebaugh), also a Walsh High School graduate. They made their home in rural Walsh and have three children: Jason, Cassie and KaAnn.
Jason Silvey (son of Travis, grandson of Rosalie) graduated from Walsh High School and entered OPSU in 1996. Jason earned his BS Animal Science and Agronomy in 2000. He participated in the Block and Bridle Club, the Intramural Rodeo and assisted with the annual OPSU Bull Test. He worked in the Firestone Meat Lab as an assistant during his time in Goodwell.
After graduation, Jason returned to Walsh where he worked as a crop consultant and coached high school wrestling for a year. He then returned to the Guymon/Goodwell area. For the past thirteen years, Jason has worked for Seaboard Foods as a Production Manager for Live Operations; he also raises cattle. Jason is currently on the YMCA Board of Directors, the PREDCI Board of Directors and is an alumni of Leadership Guymon.
Cassie (Silvey) House (daughter of Travis, granddaughter of Rosalie), also a graduate of Walsh High School, attended OPSU from 1999- 2002, graduating with double major of BS HPER Athletic Training and BS Biology. Cassie was on the 2000-2001 OPSU Basketball team, a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society, a member of Student Senate, “O” Club Queen (2000), and OPSU Homecoming Queen (2001), and OPSU Basketball Royalty (2001), and a member of the Science Club. She worked for the Collegian as a sports writer and worked at the Fitness Center as the Athletic Trainer during her tenure at OPSU. Cassie continued her education and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a MS Occupational Therapy.
Cassie’s husband, Justin House, attended OPSU from 1999-2004, graduating with a BS HPER and an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science (one of the first classes of the program). Justin also was a member of the OPSU Football Team for two seasons, 1999-2001. He also worked at the Fitness Center.
The House family lived in Cashion, OK, before relocating to Boise City, OK. Justin is in his seventh year teaching history; he is also the high school Head Football Coach and Track Coach for the Wildcats.
Cassie is an Occupational Therapist for Accolade Home Care, a home health agency based out of Guymon. Cassie and Justin have two children, Lynnox and Leighton. Lynnox is in the first grade and is your ‘go-to man’ for any and all dinosaur knowledge. Leighton is excited to begin Pre-K this year and is her daddy’s biggest fan as a Little Cats Cheerleader.
KaAnn (Silvey) Vargo (daughter of Travis, granddaughter of Rosalie) graduated from Walsh High School and attended one semester at Amarillo College in Amarillo, TX. KaAnn transferred to OPSU in the spring of 2005, where she excelled in academics and was on the Dean’s Honor Roll for several semesters. On campus, KaAnn was involved in the Block and Bridle Club and worked in the Firestone Meat Lab. She graduated in the spring of 2007 with BS Science.
KaAnn married Bobby Vargo following their graduation from OPSU. Bobby grew up in Kipling, SK, Canada, and enrolled at OPSU in 2004. He graduated from OPSU in 2007 with a BS in Animal Science. Bobby was a member of the Block and Bridle Club, participated on the Livestock Judging Team and was their coach for the 2006-2007 season.
The Vargo’s moved to Texhoma where KaAnn worked as a Loan Officer for First National Bank of Texhoma (now Anchor D Bank) and Bobby was a Manager Trainee for Murphy Farms. One year later, the couple moved to Herreid, South Dakota, for new employment opportunities with PIC. Bobby and KaAnn worked for PIC for four years; Bobby earned the Site Manager position and KaAnn worked in the Human Resources department for the company.
Following Bobby’s death, KaAnn relocated the family to Boise City, OK. She and Bobby have two children, Hudson and Emmersyn. Hudson is in Kindergarten and Emmersyn is in Head Start.
OPSU is more than an institution of higher learning to the Silvey family; it is a place our family’s educational legacy began. It is the place where we see the opportunities that education can take us. Rosalie Smith Silvey instilled in us the value of education and we continue to believe that to this day. The Silvey family is honored to be recognized as a Legacy Family, because, to us, we are OPSU.