A third generation Creek County resident, Robert Eugene Yocham was born February 17, 1932 to Samuel Jakie and Laura Mildred (Griffin) Yocham. A graduate of Fort Smith High School, Robert then answered his country’s call and enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served for four years during the Korean War. On August 9, 1952, he married his high school sweetheart, Louella Josephine Honomichl, and they were married for sixty-five years. In 1955, Robert and Louella moved to Sapulpa, Oklahoma, a place he loved to call home.
Robert was always on the move, in the middle, and shaking things up. A builder and land developer for over sixty years, Robert’s legacy can be seen in many housing additions and homes sprinkled throughout Creek County, many that he built with his long-time partner Harlan Hughes through their business Hughes & Yocham Builders and Sooner Land Developers. Robert also supported Habitat for Humanity and participated on the Show, Inc. Board of Directors. In addition, he served shoulder to shoulder with his neighbors and colleagues to implement a Creek County Rural Water System to provide water to homes in the more rural areas of Sapulpa.
A devoted Christian, Robert worked in the Sapulpa Holiness Church all of his life, serving as the song leader (as his grandfather Art “Pap” Griffin did before him) and Sunday School teacher for the adult class for over fifty years. A gifted storyteller and passionate singer, he also traveled across the United States to church camps and revivals during the summers where he would lift up the name of Christ through song and testimony. In fact, anyone who worked for Robert or who lived in a house he built probably heard an unsolicited telling of one or more of his Sunday School lessons. Robert also sponsored and/or served on mission trips to Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Haiti.
His love of travel pushed him to earn his airplane pilot’s license (and yes his airplane flying stories surpass his dangerous driving stories) and took him on trips across the states and around the globe, but he always was ready to come back home — to his home, “his” cattle, and his family on Mesa Drive. This was, in fact, his life’s work.
Raised in Sapulpa’s South Heights area, Robert grew up with a milk cow and chickens in his small yard. But, he shared a dream with his father that one day they would have a farm again, a farm like his grandfather first had when he migrated to Creek County but later lost during the Great Depression. And, that is a part of his legacy. Robert felt great pride for the Creek County barns which were built while he served on the Creek County Fair Board and the Sapulpa FFA school farm. Robert trained young people that he sent out into the communities to lobby for passage of the bond issues that would allow the county and school to build the facilities. In fact, it is reported that he told everyone, “if you know someone who is for the bond issue, make sure they go vote. If they’re not for the bond issue, make sure they go fishing.”
Of course, Robert Yocham is most known, though, for his ability to “shake down” members of the community for money to be awarded to the young showmen at the Creek County Premium Sale. During the month of March, everyone in Sapulpa cringed to see him coming because they knew he would be guilting them into donating money for the Premium Sale. For Robert, there was nothing more important than making sure that ALL students walked away with some prize money.
Awarded the Honorary State Farmer degree for his avid support of FFA, Robert Yocham was a true friend of FFA and livestock showing in Creek County for many, many years.
Robert was not a perfect man, but he loved his Yocham family cousins with a perfect love. He loved getting together with his cousins, sharing good food and loud stories. And, he loved his Yocham greats, always announcing himself when he stopped in to see them with a loud “Grandad’s here!!”
An avid traveler, Robert departed for his final destination on March 8, 2018 at the age of 86 years and 18 days after living a very full life; he could truly say, “my cup runneth over.” He was predeceased by his parents Jakie and Mildred Yocham, his beloved sister Dolores Marie Smith, and his son-in-law Leonard Glenn. Robert is survived by his wife Louella; his brother Richard Yocham and his wife Wanda; his brother-in-law Ellis Smith; his baby sister Linda West and her husband Charles; and his children Paula Glenn, Harlan and Tammy Yocham; and Jeanene and Duwayne Barnett; his five grandchildren and three step-grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and eleven step-great-grandchildren; and a host of other relatives (i.e. Yocham cousins) and friends.