Goodwell, Okla. – An interesting story with roots in Norway spanning two continents, two countries, and three states, the Stedje Family is native to the Oslo Community located 15 miles southeast of Goodwell, Okla. This large Norwegian family has 28 members spanning four generations who attended Panhandle State University. 15 Bachelors Degrees were earned from Panhandle State from 1939 to 2014. The Stedjes who attended include six farmers/ranchers, nine teachers, counselors, bankers, a technician, a musician, and salesmen.
Jens Larson Stedje moved to America in 1869. After spending some time in Wisconsin and Iowa Jens Michael purchased land in 1916 in Hansford County, Texas. In 1922, the family made the move to the Oslo Community The unexpected death of Jens Michael left his wife, Clara, alone to care for the five children and to manage their farm. Clara Stedje instilled in her children the importance of education, hard work, honesty, and love. The five children remained connected to the Oslo Lutheran Church and Community. Their descendants continue to be active in the area.
Marie, Clifford, and Anna Marie Stedje (wife of Gordon Stedje) are in the first generation of Panhandle State attendees, with Anna Marie graduating with a BA in Elementary Education and taught in Gruver, Texas.
Clifford Stedje attended Panhandle A&M in 1939 & 1940 and became a machinist at Boeing Aircraft in Wichita, Kan. He served in the US Army Air Corp working on B-17 and C47 aircrafts. After WWII, he started farming and ranching with brothers James and Gordon in the Oslo community.
Mike, Judy, Dennis, Kathy, Lynn, Jan, and Steve Stedje, Diane Stedje Battles, Marilyn Stedje Doege and Barbara Stedje Wise all attended between 1966-1975.
Mike graduated from Panhandle in 1969 with a BS in Business and Lynn graduated 1972 with a BS in Agronomy. Mike and Lynn formed Stedje Brothers and farmed and ranched for 46 years.
Mike’s wife, Judy, graduated from Panhandle State with a BS in Psychology. She earned her master’s degree and now works as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Guymon, Okla. Mike and Judy’s grandson Heath Gammon (son of their daughter Tamra Stedje Gammon) attended classes at Panhandle State.
Lynn’s wife, Jan, graduated from Panhandle with a BS in Speech and Home Economics.
Also in the second generation of Panhandle State graduates are Dennis and Kathy Stedje. Dennis graduated with a BA in History in 1971. He farmed in Oslo until his death in 2000. Dennis’s wife Kathy graduated in 1978 with a BA in Elementary Education. She was a beloved teacher in Morse, Texas until her death in 1997. Their legacy at Panhandle State continues with the Kathy and Dennis Stedje Memorial Scholarship which is open to students participating in the Livestock Judging program. Their 2 children, Shelley Stedje Singleton and Scott Stedje, also attended Panhandle State.
Of the 16 third generation Stedjes and spouses who remained in the Oslo/Gruver areas, 14 of them attended classes at Panhandle State and eight of them earned degrees between 1995-2004.
Mike’s son Brent Stedje and his wife Julie Rouser Stedje graduated in 1995. Brent graduated with a BS in Animal Science. Julie attended Panhandle State and is an LVN in Spearman, Texas. Brent and his brother Tim farm/ranch as Stedje Livestock.
Lee Stedje is the son of Lynn. He graduated in 2000 with a BS in Agronomy and Industrial Technology. He was part of Stedje livestock until 2012 when he began work with DCP and then Tri-County Electric as technician in the service department. Lee’s wife, Becky, graduated in 2000 with a BS in Animal Science/Education.
Krista Stedje Davis graduated in 2002 with a BS in Biology Education. Her husband, Buster Davis was on the rodeo team at Panhandle in 1978-1979. Buster is the Senior Vice President at Gruver State Bank. Jill Stedje Watson graduated in 1997 with a BS in Mathematics.
There are several Stedje family currently at Gruver ISD. Erica Salmans Stedje married to Scott Stedje graduated with a BA in Elementary Education and teaches fourth grade. Julie Latta Stedje, married to Tim Stedje, took classes at Panhandle State that allowed her to fulfill prerequisites to become the district’s speech-language pathologist. Jill Stedje Watson is Calculus teacher and Krista Stedje Davis teaches Chemistry and Physics at Gruver High School.
The Stedje Family also has an artistic side. Sisters Brianne and Lauree Beth Stedje Marshall attended classes at Panhandle State. Lauree Beth graduated with a BA in Music and a minor in History. Lauree Beth and her husband live in Oklahoma City. After earning her master’s degree, Brianne returned to Guymon as a counselor at Panhandle Counseling and Health.
Panhandle State has been an integral part in the education of the Stedje Family and has assisted them in becoming a successful family who contributes greatly to their community through their faith, values, service, and vocations.