Elizabeth M. (Sohl) Quoetone was born to Muriel and Gene Sohl on February 1, 1957 in Lawton, Oklahoma. She died around sunrise on 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 5-year course of study in spiritual direction formation through the Benedictine Sisters at the Red Plains Monastery in Piedmont, Oklahoma, 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 roof-top 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 6 original members of what is now known as the Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) located in Norman, Oklahoma. She held 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 over 4,000 NWS forecasters, significantly improving NWS warning support to the public for over 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 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 that forecast and warn the rest of us about dangerous weather. She was a true “forecaster’s forecaster.”
For over 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 7 graduating seniors - 4 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, Sparta, NJ; Gene Sohl, Lawton; Chris Sohl and his wife Cindy, Norman; James Sohl, Norman; and Dr. Marcy Haag, Argyle, TX. 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 fiancé 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 chose, 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 held at 7 pm Friday, March 21st at St. Stephen's United Methodist Church, 1801 W. Brooks St. in Norman, Oklahoma.
The funeral service will be held at 1 pm Saturday, March 22nd at Centenary Methodist Church, 704 SW ‘D’ Ave in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Arrangements for Liz and her family were placed in the wonderful care of Kris Gray and the staff of Lawton Ritter Gray Funeral Home.