The Norman Transcript

March 21, 2014

Elizabeth M. (Sohl) Quoetone


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Elizabeth M. (Sohl) Quoetone was born Feb. 1, 1957, in Lawton, to Muriel and Gene Sohl. She died around sunrise Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at the age of 57.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter Quoetone; her brother-in-law, Matt P. Haag; and both her parents.

Liz graduated from Eisenhower High School in Lawton in 1975. She received her BS in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 1980. Liz also completed a five-year course of study in spiritual direction formation through the Benedictine Sisters at the Red Plains Monastery in Piedmont, nurturing her gift of guiding others on life’s journey. At the time of her death, she was pursuing a Master of Arts in pastoral ministry.

Liz grew up in southwest Oklahoma watching squall lines approach with her meteorologist brother from their home’s rooftop vantage point, too ignorant to worry about lightning back then. This early passion launched her professional career in the National Weather Service (NWS) in 1979. Her work included 10 years at the NWS forecast offices in Tulsa and in Oklahoma City/Norman, where she was involved in the groundbreaking test and evaluation of the NEXRAD weather radar.

In 1989, Liz became an NWS instructor as one of the six original members of what is now known as the Warning Decision Training Branch located in Norman. She had this position at WDTB at the time of her death. Her focus was on baseline WSR-88D radar training for NWS meteorologists, as well as advanced training encompassing the elements of the severe weather warning processes that included science, technology and human factors. While at the WDTB, Liz instructed more than 4,000 NWS forecasters, significantly improving NWS warning support to the public for more than three decades.

Liz introduced many human-factors training elements into the NWS weather warning process, including Situation Awareness Displays and Weather Training Simulators. The NWS now regards her techniques as best practices that are “mission-critical” to the NWS warning process.

As part of the WDTB, she was awarded the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal in 1997 for excellence in WSR-88D Operations Training. In 2003, she was part of a team that was awarded a Department of Commerce Gold Medal for the initial development and deployment of the Weather Event Simulator, a tool that allows forecasters to develop expertise by experiencing realistic severe weather events without leaving their offices.

While at the training branch, Liz still maintained a close relationship with operational forecasters. She provided severe weather support at the Norman Forecast Office, including working during the May 3rd, 1999, tornado outbreak in central and northern Oklahoma.

Liz was a member of the National Weather Association (NWA) since 1997, an operationally oriented professional organization that serves the interests of meteorologists and hydrologists from private, public and academic sectors. She has served as councilor, vice president and commissioner of committees. In 2012, she was elected as president of this organization. Liz believed in the need for a holistic approach as it applies to successful warning operations and in NWA’s important role in facilitating this concept. She was a life-long champion for those who forecast and warn the rest of us about dangerous weather. She was a true “forecaster’s forecaster.”

For more than 40 years, Liz was active as a Camp Fire Girl camper and counselor who guided and shaped the lives of hundreds of girls in central Oklahoma. She served as co-outdoors director of C’Andy in 1975 with Carolyn Fietz Gallant. In 1995, Liz became an active member again as a co-leader with Carolyn of Storyteller’s Camp Fire Club in Oklahoma City. She also was a volunteer at Camp Cimarron and served as co-leader for 12 years, with seven graduating seniors: four who received the WoHeLo Award (Camp Fire’s highest honor).

Liz also served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children.

Her varied interests included traveling with her family, spending time at the beach and enjoying the peaceful nature gifts of the sisters at the Red Plains Monastery.

Survivors include her siblings Kathe Simpson and husband Ed of Sparta, N.J., Gene Sohl of Lawton, Chris Sohl and his wife Cindy of Norman, James Sohl of Norman and Dr. Marcy Haag or Argyle, Texas. Liz is also survived by nieces and nephews Dave Sohl, Jeni Moriarty and husband Brendian, Mike Sohl and wife Tamara, Matt Sohl, Laura Sohl-Smith and husband Jeff Smith, Dr. Christal Sohl and fiance Dr. Hans Aerni, Eric Haag and wife LaDonna, Jennifer Jacobs and husband Eli and Angela Garcia; cousins Janet O’Leary, Karen Sohl, Nancy Holder and Larry Sohl; and a large and loving Kiowa family. She is also survived by her canine kids Dehema, Molly and Mervyn.

For those who choose, in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations are made to the National Weather Association, 350 David L. Boren Blvd, Suite 2750, Norman OK 73072, for the establishment of a scholarship in Liz’s name.

A memorial service will be 7 p.m. today at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, 1801 W. Brooks St. in Norman.

The funeral service will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Centenary Methodist Church, 704 SW ‘D’ Ave. in Lawton.

Arrangements for Liz and her family were placed in the wonderful care of Kris Gray and the staff of Lawton Ritter Gray Funeral Home.

An online guestbook and sympathy cards are available at GrayFuneral.com.

Norman Transcript, Friday, March 21, 2014

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