Longtime local actor, mail carrier Lee Studerus dies at 85
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 4:46 AM
With his fellow cast members changing so frequently, Lee Studerus came to seem as regular as, well, the mail.
Over his 13 consecutive years in Discoveryland's annual production of "Oklahoma!" the longtime local actor - a mail carrier by day - became one of only a couple of performing mainstays.
The cast of about 30, many of them young actors from around the country, otherwise largely revolved, bringing in a lot of new faces.
But Studerus - who played Ado Annie's pa - was one face, with his big blue eyes and milky white mustache, that you could always hang your hat on.
And when the summer run at Discoveryland ended, he wasn't done.
For the rest of the year, local audiences could look for Studerus in the Spotlight Theatre's long-running "The Drunkard," in which he played various parts over the years.
Lee Ernest Studerus died Jan. 24. He was 85. A service was held Tuesday at Mowery Funeral Service in Owasso.
For Studerus, the show never ended with the curtain call. The meet-and-greet with the audience afterward was just as big a deal to him.
"Oh, he ate that up," his son, Scott Studerus, said. "He used to talk about the people he met. With 'Oklahoma!' he was meeting people from Germany, from all over the world. That was very exciting to him."
Lee Studerus had never been on stage until the family went to see "The Drunkard." A sheet was handed around to recruit newcomers, "and he signed up," his son said. "And it took off from there."
Studerus, who also helped out behind the scenes, appeared in shows with the Heller Theater and other groups as well.
He last appeared at Discoveryland in 2010.
As a mail carrier, Studerus had the same route - Harvard Avenue between 11th and 21st streets - for more than 20 years.
The last three years, before he retired in 1997, he worked some of downtown Tulsa's tallest buildings, including the BOK Tower.
A native of Hackensack, N.J., Studerus joined the Navy after high school. He became a pilot and flew PBY aircraft, which could land in the water and were used in a variety of operations.
He served 11 years before he and his family moved to Tulsa in 1962.
Studerus' late wife, Catherine, had muscular dystrophy, and for years he spent much of his free time advocating for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and helping with fundraising drives.
He was also a scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop No. 62 and a longtime member of the Toastmasters.
Studerus' enthusiasm for his acting hobby didn't surprise family members.
"He loved to give speeches at Toastmasters," his son said. "Ask anyone who knew Dad - he had always liked to be out in front of people. He loved to talk."
Studerus' survivors include a son, Scott Studerus; a daughter, Nikki Capshaw; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Original Print Headline: Local actor, mail carrier always delivered the goods
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Lee Studerus, pictured here in the cowboy garb he wore for more than a decade in Discoveryland's "Oklahoma!" was a longtime Tulsa mail carrier who later turned to acting. Studerus, 85, died Jan. 24. Tulsa World file