OCCA inducts Cheves, Justesen into HOF

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The Osage County Cattlemen’s Association on June 17 announced the induction of two new members into its Hall of Fame.

The OCCA announced the new Hall of Fame members at a luncheon during its 88th annual convention. The organization named the late Herbert Eugene “Jack” Cheves Jr., as well as Michael J. Justesen, as the 2022 Hall of Fame honorees. Family members provided introductory remarks.

Rosemary Justesen, wife of Michael Justesen, described her husband as a diligent manager, who would not ask ranch hands at Sooner Cattle Company to do anything that he was not prepared to do. Mr. Justesen, 73, is originally from Florida. The Justesens moved to Osage County in 1989.

Michael Justesen was president of the OCCA in 2007-08. He also has been active in the Pawhuska community, supporting a Boy Scout troop and championing literacy. He is a U.S. military veteran, and served a two-year mission in Brazil for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“Service to others has always been important to Michael,” Rosemary Justesen said.

Grant Cheves, a grandson of Herbert Eugene “Jack” Cheves Jr., described the honoree as a good-natured, industrious soul known to “about half of the world” simply as Jack Cheves.

Jack Cheves managed the cattle operation at Oxley Ranches, west of Pawhuska.

”Oxley Ranches eventually sold out but Jack never really retired; that was not his nature,” Grant Cheves explained in his introductory commentary. “He would work bison for the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, cut and bale hay for whoever requested his services, and lend his knowledge to countless individuals in need of a ‘nudge’ in the right direction.”

Jack Cheves passed away in June 2018 at the age of 84. His grandson described an American flag that motorists traveling along Highway 60 may see south of the road as an apt expression of Jack Cheves’ spirit.

“When you see the Stars and Stripes flying on the south side of Highway 60, that’s him waving,” Grant Cheves said.