Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 14, 2013

Joe Steven Stokes

Pauls Valley Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Joe Steven Stokes of Pauls Valley passed away January 10, 2013 in Pauls Valley at the age of 62 years after suffering a heart attack.

Steve led a remarkable, successful life after surviving a diving accident whereby he suffered a spinal cord injury in 1967 at the age of 17. Overcoming his disability, he was a trailblazer for all things concerning the disabled.

He graduated from East Central University in 1973 in Ada and was hired as a counselor at East Central for its special services project. He earned his Master’s Degree from East Central in 1974. In 1975 he served as a delegate to the White House Conference on the Handicapped and in 1985 he was named handicapped citizen of the year for Oklahoma.

Steve went to work for the State Education Department in 1980 and in 1989 was appointed by then Governor Henry Bellmon as the Agency Director to head the Office of Disability Concerns.

He worked under five governors: Henry Bellmon, David Walters, Frank Keating, Brad Henry and now governor, Mary Fallin.

As director of the agency, he worked with lawmakers to help with legislation intended to assist in Oklahomans with disabilities, as well as their families and friends.

In 2007, Steve received the George B. Lewis Award, named after the former chairman of the Oklahoma City Mayor’s Committee on Disability Concerns, for his helping Oklahomans with disabilities.

Steve is survived by his aunt and uncle, Joy and Ken Leerstang of Norman; as well as numerous cousins and second cousins.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Geneva K. Stokes and Joe K. Stokes, and his twin brother, Robert, who died at birth.

Funeral services were held in Pauls Valley on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11 a.m. in the Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home Chapel officiated by Rev. Roger Rounsaville.

Interment was at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery under the direction of Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home.

We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the family’s guestbook at