The Woodward News


October 4, 2013

Don Riffel

Woodward, Okla. — Don Riffel 80 year old Woodward resident died Wednesday, October 2, 2013 in Woodward.  Funeral services will be held at 10:30 am, Saturday October 5, 2013 in the First United Methodist Church with Reverend Shannon Davis officiating.  Interment will be held at the Bickford Cemetery in Catesby, Oklahoma at 1:30 pm with the Billings Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.


Donald Carol Riffel was born on April 17, 1933 in the Newman Hospital at Shattuck, Oklahoma.  He was the son of Charles and Fern (Abbott) Riffel.  Don was reared on farms north of Shattuck.  He attended his early grades at the country schools of Mt. Hope and Highland, before transfering to Shattuck Public Schools, where he graduated from in 1952.


His senior year of high school, he married his sweetheart, Carolyn Woods, at her parents home near Catesby.  It was no small task to convince both sets of parents to permit a wedding to happen before their graduation.  Don was determined that “she wasn’t going to get away” no matter what they needed to do.  Don and Carolyn celebrated their 61st anniversary last March 8, 2013.


Don enlisted in the United States Army and later that same year was stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas, where he served as Corporal Gun Mechanics Instructor with the 4th Army Artillery Unit.  While at Ft. Bliss their first child, Alan was born.


Upon his discharge at the end of the Korean Conflict, he entered Oklahoma State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education in 1959.  During their time in Stillwater, their family grew with the addition of their daughter, Kathy.


Between 1959 and 1966, Don taught Vocational Agriculture at Carmen, and then worked at the First National Bank.  While they lived in Carmen, they completed their immediate family with the birth of their son, Gregory.


In 1966 he began what became a distinguished 30-year career with Western Farmers’ Electric Cooperative in Anadarko.  Starting as a Right of Way Agent, Don served in various capacities during his tenure, including Sale and Marketing Director, and retired as the Director of Right  of Way Department in 1996.  He was active in professional associations, and was a Past President of the Oklahoma Right of Way Association.


Most of all he loved his family, and relished gatherings of any type.  He was proud of his heritage, his kids, and grandkids, and made sure they all knew it.  Don and Carolyn relocated to Woodward in the spring of 2011.


Don is survived by his wife Carolyn of the home; sons, Alan Riffel and wife Karen of Woodward; Greg Riffel and wife Kim of Irving, TX; daughter, Kathy Kraiza of Baldwin, LA; ten grandchildren, Amber Luke and husband Daniel, Emma Riffel, Alex Riffel, Carolyn Whetstone and husband Ray, Chaz Kraiza, Dylan Riffel, Carmen Riffel, William Riffel, Alicia Payne and Sergio Payne; six great - grandchildren; Billy Luke, Acacia Luke, Calista Luke, Colin Whetstone, Sara Whetstone, and Kasen Riffel; brother, Darrel Riffel and wife Betty of Woodward; sisters; Charleene Grellman of Walla Walla, WA; Patricia Reinhardt and husband Arlyn of Denver, CO; brother-in-law, Trent Woods and wife Marilyn of Shattuck; many nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and friends, all of whom meant so much to him.


He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Dolores, brother Gerald and his wife Sue, brother-in-law, George Grellman, sister-in-law, Jeanne Wheeler and her husband Fritz.


Remembrances may be made online to


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