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Two respectable men pass away

Southwest Oklahoma lost two prominent figures in the agriculture industry on the same day. 77-year-old Wayne "Duty" Rowe and 91-year-old Wesley Silk died Tuesday. Both were considered leaders in the ag business throughout our part of the state. And now, friends came together to remember them and what they did for the industry. "You can't replace these guys," said Representative Don Armes. "We're going to miss these guys."

91-year-old Wesley Silk fought for the FFA to keep this patch of land designated for education when the mayor was considering putting up for auction. He said it needed to remain a place for children to learn agriculture -- and he was going to be the one to guarantee they always had the free range to do it. "And he just stood up for right and fought for it where he needed to," Armes said. "And this was one of the places he chose to fight for it." His name was placed on the sign at the corner of Sheridan and Lee, so people would know it wasn't just a field -- it was a classroom. "I hope that that signs remains for a long, long time," Armes said. "Because Mr. Silk was a guy that had none of his own children, but he was a champion for kids all over this part of the world."

Southwest Oklahoma also lost 77-year-old Wayne "Duty" Rowe, a longtime rancher who always called Meers home. Joe Maranto was friends with "Duty" Rowe for 40 years, and said he was always fighting for what he believed in. "He was a leader, some people are a natural born leader, he could get people to do things they wouldn't think of doing otherwise," Maranto said. "He was a principle man. He was never difficult to get along with." He says "Duty" was one of those people you only meet once in a lifetime -- a truly kind and genuine person. "And we need more people like him," Maranto said. "I just hope that when I pass on people can say the same things about me, but I'm sure they can't [laughs]."

Both Maranto and Armes agree -- these men changed Southwest Oklahoma as we know it. "["Duty"] and Wesley Silk both were just great men and worked real hard and you just can't replace them," Armes said.A memorial service for "Duty" Rowe will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the First Presbyterian Church at 1302 SW "A" avenue. And funeral services for Wesley Silk will be at 2:00 p.m. on Friday at the Centenary United Methodist Church at 704 SW "D" Ave.

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