Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) will posthumously honor Kent Ketcher with the Outstanding Alumni Award for NEO’s College of Liberal Arts. His wife, Yvonne, will accept the award on his behalf. Ketcher will be remembered and honored during homecoming festivities on Sat., Oct. 11, 2014. This year’s homecoming theme is “There’s No Place Like Homecoming.”
Ketcher graduated from Miami High School in 1955. He went on to graduate from NEO A&M in 1967 with an Associate of Arts degree. He received his bachelor’s degree from Pittsburg State University and also attended graduate classes at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A veteran of the United States Navy, Ketcher worked as a police officer in Miami at a young age, although he spent most of his career in St. Louis, Mo. where he worked his later years as a pre-trial release commissioner for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court in St. Louis.
In 2002, Ketcher was selected to fill an unexpired term on Miami’s City Council. He was then elected to that seat in 2004 and later was elected mayor in 2011. During his tenure as Mayor, Ketcher was instrumental in securing community and voter support for the stadium renovation project at NEO. He was an avid supporter of NEO and presented a city proclamation at the 2013 Founders’ Day celebration. “Kent was a very dedicated public servant who served his country, community and alma mater well,” said Jennifer Hessee, executive director of the NEO Development Foundation. “Kent had a huge heart and lead with passion and dedication.”
One of Ketcher’s primary goals as mayor was to build a new animal shelter, however he passed away on Aug. 27, 2013 after a sudden illness. Ketcher was a member of the Immanuel Baptist Church and sang in the choir and taught Sunday school class. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge #140 and former chair of the Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. He was married to Yvonne for 53 years, and together the couple raised two children.