Tahlequah Daily Press


April 24, 2014

Carol Hart

TAHLEQUAH — Carol Hart, 74, of Tahlequah, passed away Tuesday, April 22, after a brief illness.

The younger of two children, she was born Feb. 11, 1940, to Harold Coshaw and Viola (Gutkowsky) Coshaw in Great Bend, Kan. The family moved to Tahlequah in 1950, where Ms. Hart lived until her death.

Ms. Hart was a 1958 graduate of Tahlequah High School and attended Northeastern State University. Throughout her vibrant life she contributed to the community in many ways. A longtime businesswoman, she was co-owner of the Tahlequah Pictorial Press in the 1960’s and founder, along with husband Homer Hart, of Hart’s Sport Center (1976-2005), later changed to Hart’s LLC (2005-2012), bringing in her longtime business partner Robin Jackson.

She was a charter member of the American Legion-Tahlequah Chapter and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Always a strong and independent woman, she was a member of the Democratic Women’s Association.

Following her interest in history and public service, combined with love of the Illinois River and natural environment, she was a founding member of Save the Illinois River (S.T.I.R.) and board member.

Her family’s guided boat tour business at Comb’s Bridge (Paradise Valley) had given her a deep sense of the river’s beauty and vulnerability to pollution and unplanned development, as well as an appreciation for its recreational potential. Her first business was digging worms and selling them to fishermen.

A member of the Tahlequah Camera Club and Sweet Adeline’s, Ms. Hart brought creativity and innovation to all her endeavors.

She was captain of a fleet of boats on Lake Tenkiller; a back road queen long before the development of GPS; a storm chaser and sunset collector; an engraver, trophy builder and master of the darkroom; a collector of cowboy hats, drums, and art; a dog-whisperer and pamperer supreme; a landscape architect of her own backyard; a musician, painter, screen-printer and avid beader; and an enthusiastic barterer whenever the opportunity arose. She was a beer connoisseur.

Carol loved fishing, tai chi, yoga, walking, and any time spent in the outdoors. She was an inspiring mentor, second mother, dear friend, welcoming aunt, enthusiastic grandmother, and just simply Carol, leader of an eclectic pack of fellow-adventurers. To the end she was a storyteller with a dry-lightning wit and a trigger-quick retort.

Ms. Hart was preceded in death by her father, Harold Coshaw and mother, Viola (Gutkowsky) Coshaw-Graham; sister, Betty Gay (Coshaw) Dodd; husband, Homer Hart; and cousin, Janet Jordan.

She is survived by her partner, Don Kirkpatrick of Tahlequah; stepdaughter, Erin Steeley and son-in-law, Jason Steeley and their daughters Sarah and Lauren of Shady Grove; stepson, Bill Risenhoover and his sons Alex and Taylor; niece, Elizabeth Dodd and her partner David Rintoul, of Manhattan, Kan.; nephew, Hudson Dodd and his wife Dawn Gauthier of Nelson, New Zealand; cousins, Ace Jordan, Barry Jordan and wife Terri of Oklahoma City, Kim and Ron Van der Wahl of Guthrie, Chet Gutowksy, Tanis (Gutowsky) Roelofs and husband Steve of Plano, Texas; fast friend-became-daughter, aka Right Arm, Robin Jackson and partner Steve Kirkpatrick, her daughter Sonja Ratliff and fiancee Kyle Cunningham; son, Trae Ratliff and partner Michala House and their daughter, Maddie and son, Ryker all of Tahlequah; brother-in-law, Dick and sisters-in-law, Shyree Kirkpatrick of Delta, Colo., Maxine Hart of Tahlequah, Zelma Person and her children, Robin, Rickie and Sheri of Monterey, Calif., and Barb Guthmiller of Helena, Mont.; dear friends, Frank and Shala Johnson of Lake Tenkiller; Sonja Keck and her life partner Wayne Gourley of Tahlequah; teacher become-daughter, Jean Haven of Tahlequah, and a large community of extended and adopted family members whom will miss her as well.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to: S.T.I.R. Save the Illinois River, care of Ed Brocksmith, 24369 E. 757 Road Tahlequah, OK 74464.

Graveside memorial services will be held at Tahlequah City Cemetery on Friday, April 25, at 4:20 p.m. Family and friends are welcome. Officiant will be Elizabeth Dodd. Final arrangements under the care of Green Country Funeral Home.

Green Country Funeral Home, 203 S. Commercial Road, (918) 458-5055.

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