Music by the O'Neill Brothers


Mike Dirham

May 31, 2018
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Mike Dirham, of Blackwell, Oklahoma, passed away on May 31, 2018 in Ponca City, at age 76 years.  Mike was born on October 25, 1941 as the first child to Walter and Vesta (Duncan) Dirham. He grew up in Blackwell and attended Riverside Elementary, Lovett Junior High and Blackwell High School. By the time he was in high school, he was well known for his talents and his warm, friendly personality.  While in high school, he began working for the Blackwell Journal Tribune where, under the leadership of Warren Bickford, III, he became the primary photographer, the only creator of local cartoons, and the writer of newsworthy high school stories.  He was elected president of his senior class that graduated in 1959.  His intelligence and his fun loving charm made him a genuine friend to his classmates.  Mike received a scholarship in journalism, and attended the University of Oklahoma.  While there, his curiosity led him to explore many subjects, and he graduated with a degree in English.  His first job, after graduation, was as designer and editor of books for the University of Oklahoma Press. While in college he began to do photography, lay-out, and copy for all of Harold’s (men’s clothes) advertising. This job continued, for years, as he worked at the OU Press.  He evolved his art skills and, with his wife Betty, opened an an advertising agency in Norman.  His skills continued to grow and during this time he led his close friends and made independent films  (one, of which, won a national award), animated TV commercials, and artwork for magazines.  In 1980 he moved his family to Southern California and continued to do advertising to support his family but tried his hand at writing a novel and film script.  Getting these published fell by the wayside as he was distracted by other opportunities.  For his 50th birthday, he was given a large bag of clay and when he tried his hand as sculpting, he found his passion.  He became very successful sculpting and, to mention a few, received commissions for Mattel Toys (all those dolls heads), sculpture for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and Hallmark Cards (ornaments).  Hallmark’s wanted him in their Kansas City base and, because his daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter lived in Kansas City, he moved there.  Mike returned to Blackwell for his retirement years.  Mike was a talented, gifted artist, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend.  He was preceded in passing  by both of his parents and his younger brother, Robert Dirham.  He is survived by his daughter, Ellen Fuquay, her husband James, his granddaughter, Annie; his sister, Joy Dirham Ambro, her son, Clayton Ambro; the family’s of his nephews, Mike, Bob and niece Lori; and cousin Heather and her family.  We each are so grateful for the love, laughter, and influence that Mike brought to our lives.  Services will be held on Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. in the First Christian Church of Blackwell.  Remembrances may be shared online at



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