OBITUARY

Stewart Michael "Mike" Condren Ph.D.

September 13, 1942November 21, 2020
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Stewart Michael Condren Ph.D. or “Mike” as he was known to so many, entered this life on September 13, 1942, the only child of Stewart Milton and Margaret Chloe (Hill) Condren in Fort Smith, AR. Mike graduated high school in Van Buren, AR. He then went on to further his education, receiving a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arkansas in 1965. Mike then attended the University of Missouri at Rolla, where he earned his Master of Science in 1967 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1971.

After earning his Ph.D. Mike went on to become a professor at The University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, AR. It was at The (then) College of the Ozarks where Mike met the love of his life, Jan Cole. They were married on campus, in a Quaker Meeting for Worship. She learned to love trains and Razorbacks; he supported her through eight years of working full time and attending seminary. Mike continued to teach at The University of the Ozarks until 1981, when he took a position with Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. In 1994 he also became a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin. He retired from both universities in 2009. Mike loved teaching chemistry to his students, to his family, and in every way he could. He was a lifetime member of the American Chemical Society. He helped develop educational tools at the University of Wisconsin, and loved to put on demonstrations in his own classroom, in his children’s schools, and eventually in his grandson’s. He liked to start every class with a BANG.

Mike showed his love for God and the church in all that he did. He served as a deacon in Clarksville, Memphis, and Tahlequah. In Memphis, he was Property and Grounds chair—twice. In Tahlequah, he was part of First Presbyterian Church’s backpack ministry, and sat at the front every Sunday.

Mike loved trains of every sort. Family and friends spent countless Friday nights in the garage working on his model railroad, followed by slideshows of recent train photographs. Many of his photographs were published in train books and magazines. He managed a website well-known throughout the railroading community. Sunday evenings were spent on Kentucky St. in Memphis, photographing trains crossing the Mississippi River bridge. The hobby was a source of joy for the whole family. It is fitting that Mike’s death occurred on the 40th anniversary of the end of his favorite railroad—the Frisco.

Mike had a deep love for animals, especially cats, a love that his children and grandson inherited. Family pets included everything from dogs and cats to ferrets and hermit crabs. Mike loved the Arkansas Razorbacks. A part of the Razorback band, he loved to tell the story of playing for President Kennedy, and he loved to talk about being a part of the graduating class of 1965, which won the National Championship.

Mike contracted COVID-19, and after a short battle with this awful disease, left this life to be with the Lord on Saturday, November 21, 2020 in Stilwell, OK. He will be missed dearly by all his family and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents.

Left to cherish Mike’s memory include his wife Rev. Jan Condren of the home, two children Virginia and husband Patrick Cruanes and Matt Condren all of Metairie, LA, one grandchild Shawn Reason, a cousin Richard Skinner and wife Sandra of Bartlesville, OK, as well as many more cousins, friends, and loved ones.

Funeral Services will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Tahlequah, OK on Friday, November 27, 2020 at 10:00 am with Rev. Tammy Schmidt officiating. Those wishing to attend the service will need to contact Reed Culver Funeral Home at 918-456-2551 to receive the information to join through Zoom, or join on Facebook Live on the Reed Culver Facebook page. Interment will follow at Muldrow Cemetery in Muldrow, OK, with Friends Minister David Nagle providing the committal service.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people thank health care workers and first responders, help their neighbors who are suffering from the economic effects of COVID-19, wear their masks faithfully, celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other winter holidays only with people in their immediate households, and remember that we are all in this together.

Services

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, November 27, 2020

  • Committal Service

    Friday, November 27, 2020

Memories

Stewart Michael "Mike" Condren Ph.D.

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Bob James

January 19, 2021

Hello, Im a distant relative of Mikes. My great aunt was Aunt Bill James. I never met Mike but had talked to him on the phone .It's sad to hear that he passed. Our sincere condolences for your loss. It was really interesting to see the train pictures of his passion. I had talked to him about the family tree that he had compiled of the Condren, Hill, and James families. It would be wonderful to have a record of this. Again our hearts are saddened by the loss. Sincerely The James Family (Gang) of Washington.

Charlie Coleman

November 28, 2020

Thanks Mike for all the great times we had at CBU. Thanks for all the memories and most of all thanks for being a good friend. Thanks for all the great Burgers we shared at Hueys. I loved all your train stories, your pizza making stories and I really loved it when you blew things up.

You were one of the smartest people I have ever known. You loved complicated things and you loved simple things. You loved your family and friends.

Deepest sympathy to Jan, Virginia, and Matt. Proud to be your friend, Charlie Coleman

Yvonne Williams

November 28, 2020

Dear Jan and Family,

I am so sorry to hear of Mike's passing. Please know that each of you are in my thoughts and prayers. May the Father of Mercies and the God of all Comfort as bless, keep, and strengthen you all.

With Jesus' love,
Yvonne Williams
Memphis Public Libraries
Government Publicatiions Department

Elizabeth Knoth

November 27, 2020

Hi Virginia,
I’m sorry that I was unable to attend the funeral virtually today as I had a medical appointment that I couldn’t cancel. I know I never met your father, but I know how much you admired him and how much Shawn loved his time with his grandparents! He definitely influenced your child’s scientific mind throughout his childhood, and that is a priceless gift. I know he will be missed, and I wish you all much comfort: Shawn, Matt, you, Patrick and your mom. Hugs to you. 🤗

Gary condren

November 27, 2020

So sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. Always enjoyed visiting with him about family history. We will remember family in thoughts and prayers. Love, Gary, Ruth and family

David Shaw

November 26, 2020

Never met Mike personally. May have brushed shoulders with him at train meets. Bought KCS slides from him by mail many years ago. Mike photographed many KCS locomotives I wish I could have but didn't have the time or place. So thankful for this guy who had similar intrests in railroading with a much wider range than I. So appreciated his work!!

Tony Marchiando

November 25, 2020

And the same group, 43 years later, posed in front of another train, of course.

Tony

Tony Marchiando

November 25, 2020

Mike was a graduate student at University of Missouri at Rolla when I was an undergraduate. He was part of our group of railroad and model train enthusiasts. We had many train adventures together and I learned much from him about trains (but not chemistry). Photo below is from a much younger time. John in the picture is John Beirne, another train enthusiast in our group and my college roommate.

Tony

Janice Paxton

November 25, 2020

I always enjoyed talking to Mike when he would come up to the church. I learned a lot from him from our talks about trains and chemistry subjects. He was such a nice person and so caring. He will be missed by many people.

Terry Passmore

November 25, 2020

I remember Mike as a nice polite person who would sometimes stop me and ask if it was alright to wait in a certain place in the Valliant, OK area on the TO&E railroad so he could take some photos. He will be missed by all .

Terry L. Passmore
Retired D&E/TO&E
employee

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