Stratford Berry Tolson

March 1, 1922 ~ May 18, 2022 (age 100)


Stratford Berry (Strat) Tolson, longtime resident and merchant in Pawhuska, Oklahoma died on May 18, 2022. His funeral services will be held on May 25, 2022, 11am at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Pawhuska, with interment being in the Pawhuska Cemetery. Honorary pallbearers were Scott Ducharme, Steve Sewell, Ben Gordan Culver, and his four nephews, Brad Olson, and Ralph, Michael, and Steven Tolson. 

He was born on March 1, 1922, in Pawhuska, the son of Ralph Stratford and Lee Berry Tolson, who both pre-deceased him. 

Strat attended the Pawhuska School System, graduating in 1940, then attended the University of Oklahoma. After his college education was interrupted by service in World War II, he returned and graduated with a degree in Business Law and Finance. At OU, he was a member and Trustee of the Gamma Phi Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and was proud of the fact that his brothers, his son, 3 nephews, and a great-nephew were all brothers as well.   

Strat was honored to have served his country in both World War II and the Korean War, and was overseas for both wars in Italy, the Philippine Islands, Japan, and Korea. He attained the rank of Captain and served in the Artillery during his time in the military. He was awarded the Bronze Star and 4 campaign stars during his service. He never missed observing a Veterans or Memorial Day and passed these traditions to the rest of his family.

He and Eleanor Ann McCoy were married in Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 2, 1949. They lived the entirety of their 73-year marriage in Pawhuska and were true partners in life. Eleanor, or Bobbie as she is best known, survives him at the home.

Strat spent his entire business life in the Tolson Agency, Inc. in Pawhuska and for 60+ years was active in the firm. He, his father Ralph S., and his brothers Ralph M. and Melvin L. were business associates for many years, and in later years Tolson Agency added Strat’s nephew, Steven D. to the business.  Strat was very proud of the fact that for over 100 years, a Tolson family member has been in charge of the family business.

Mr. Tolson was active in many civic matters in Pawhuska over his years. These included being a Past-President of the local Rotary Club, as well as a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. He was a Past Commander of Post 97 of the American Legion, Past President and Member of the Pawhuska Library Board, as well as past Secretary of the Osage County Cattleman’s association. He was a former board member, and past Chairman of what is now known as the Blue Sky Bank, and he was very happy to be recognized as a member of the Osage County Historical Society’s first Heroes and Legends class.  One of Strat’s proudest positions was a founder, board member, and former President of the Pawhuska Educational Trust, which for years has provided educational grants to Pawhuska High School graduates for their college careers.

Strat was a life member of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma University Alumni Association. He was a member of numerous veterans, nature, and police support organizations as he was an avid supporter of our military, natural parks, and law enforcement.  He was also a “behind the scenes” supporter of causes big and small, and to individuals too numerous to mention. 

Finally, many will know Strat as an avid golfer and OU sports fan.  Nobody was happier on the golf course (particularly after a good round) or at Owen Field in Norman.  Both venues provided Strat with many happy memories, and long after he was not able to play golf or attend football games, he still avidly followed both sports.  Up to the time of his death, nobody could match him when it came to OU football history. 

In addition to his parents, Strat was predeceased by his brother Ralph M., and his sister-in-law Virginia (Pinkie) Tolson.  In addition to his wife, Strat is survived by his children Lynn Fuente (Jim) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Lance Tolson (Michelle Parham and her daughter Jordan Fowler) of Houston, Texas.    He had two grandchildren, Justin Fuente (Jenny) of Lucas, Texas, and Jamie Boyd (Michael) of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He had 6 great grandchildren – Jaxson, Brody, and Piper Boyd, and Cecilia, Caroline, and Charlotte Fuente.  He is further survived by his brother Melvin Tolson (Carolyn), as well as numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews.

Strat enjoyed a recent, 100-year birthday ceremony with his family that was exactly as he wanted it. He was engaged, self-sufficient, and still possessing a sharp sense of humor, which was appreciated by anyone that had the pleasure of knowing him.  He would be the first to agree that such a life was a life well lived! 

Memorials in Strat’s memory can be provided to the Pawhuska Educational Trust, Blue Sky Bank/Pam Carpenter, P.O. Box 27, Pawhuska, Oklahoma 74056.  


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Memorial Mass
May 25, 2022

11:00 AM
St. Thomas Episcopal Church
817 Leahy Ave
Pawhuska, OK 74056

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