Steve Stokes, the longtime director of the state Office of Disability Concerns, dies at age 62

Steve Stokes had served as director of the state Office of Disability Concerns since 1989. Stokes died Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was 62.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: January 11, 2013
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Steve Stokes, the longtime director of the state Office of Disability Concerns, used a wheelchair to get around but hardly could be considered confined to it.

Stokes died Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was 62.

His funeral is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home in Pauls Valley.

“Steve Stokes was a dedicated public servant who worked diligently to help disabled Oklahomans to pursue their life goals,” Gov. Mary Fallin said. “He will be missed by many friends and colleagues.”

Stokes was appointed director of the state agency in 1989 by then-Gov. Henry Bellmon.

Stokes was disabled in 1967 at the age of 17 when he suffered a spinal cord injury in a diving accident. He graduated from East Central University in Ada in 1973 and was hired as a counselor at East Central for its special services project. He earned a master's degree from East Central in 1974.

He went to work for the state Education Department in 1980 and remained there until he was appointed to head the Office of Disability Concerns. Stokes worked under five governors — Bellmon, David Walters, Frank Keating, Brad Henry and Fallin.