Romaine Bernard Shackelford of Pawhuska, Oklahoma passed from this life on Monday April 1, 2019, surrounded by loved ones at the age of 90. He was born in San Diego, California, on October 2, 1928, to Manuel Romaine Shackelford and Wauneta Harrison Smith. His grandparents were Ben and Minnie Harrison. His grandfather Ben, his hero, raised him until the age of 10.
Romaine attended Wyandotte Boarding School, Haskell and Oklahoma A&M. While at Haskell he was a lineman on its undefeated football team. He subsequently became a proud Haskell alum where he forged many lifelong friendships.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in World War II as a medic in Europe for nearly three years. In 1950 he married Ruth Mae Hopper from Hominy and moved to Pawhuska where they raised their family. He worked for Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville for 35 years and retired in 1985. Upon his retirement he volunteered many hours assisting those stricken with alcohol and substance abuse.
He was a member of the Oklahoma Secondary School Athletic Association for Football Officials and officiated High School Football games throughout Oklahoma. He officiated NCAA Football games for small four year colleges in Oklahoma and Kansas; and also officiated Semi-Pro games for the Continental Football League.
He was a self-taught artist specializing in oil paintings and bronze sculptures. He created a series of six bronze busts: Big Hill Man, Walks-At-Night, Cheyenne, Oglala Sioux, Mescalero Apache and Black Dog. Romaine’s artwork, painting and bronze sculpting, is known throughout Indian Country and has been in art shows and exhibits throughout the Midwest. Private collectors have purchased his work as well as the Gilcrease Museum and Southwestern Plains Museum.
He is a lifetime member of The Veterans of Foreign Wars, a member of the Harold Bigheart Smalley American Legion Post 198, charter member of the Osage Gourd Club and member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Pawhuska. Romaine was honored as an AARP Outstanding Elder on October 2, 2018. He was unable to attend the ceremony as chose to celebrate his 90th birthday in Pawhuska with his family.
He was roached by Harry Redeagle at the age of 12 and a member of the Hominy District Dance Committee where he served as Head Committee Man, Whip Man and Advisor to numerous Drumkeepers. Romaine holds the distinction of having served on all three District Dance Committees.
He is well-known for his traditional art skills, and willingness to assist others with preparation for the June dances. He is renowned for making some of the most beautiful roaches.
In 1957 the late George Labadie asked Romaine to come up with some sketches for a tribal seal. The very next day the Osage Tribal Council selected his drawing for what is known as the Osage people’s official seal. Osage Nation flags have been flown throughout the world and shown on many national stages by Osage athletes. He conducted extensive research of the Osage pertaining to family genealogy, history and documented court cases relating to relocation, census and development of
government. An avid reader and historian at heart, especially when it came to Osages, Romaine spent many hours visiting with full blood elders. His taped recordings are a significant piece in adding validity and meaning to Osage history, culture, language and the Inlonshka. His work is kept safe by the Wahzhazhe Cultural Center and the Osage Nation Museum.
The Shackelford Family enjoyed many hours together excavating old Osage Camp Sites throughout Osage County recovering artifacts such as flint arrowheads, spear points, pottery, and grind stones. Romaine enjoyed camping, hiking the hills, and could often be seen in his inner-tube fishing the ponds and creeks of Osage County. His favorite spot was Buck Creek in northern Osage County.
As a final tribute and in recognition of the many contributions made by Romaine Shackelford, Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear, proclaimed flags across the Osage Nation to be flown at half-mast.
Romaine is proceeded in death by his grandparents, parents, step-father Ward Smith, wife, sister Romanita Emhoolah, sons, George, Roman and Martin, daughter Georgianna, and granddaughter Monique,
Serving as pall bearers:
A rosary will be conducted by Father Sean Donovan at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, at the Wakon Iron Chapel. A traditional Osage service will be conducted by Joe Shunkamolah at 8 a.m. on Friday, April 5, at the Wakon Iron Chapel. A Catholic mass will be held at 10 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Pawhuska. Interment will follow at A.J. Powell Cemetery in Hominy, Oklahoma. Dinner will follow at Wakon Iron Hall in Pawhuska.