Cover photo for James Conatser's Obituary
James Conatser Profile Photo
1948 James 2020

James Conatser

July 11, 1948 — December 24, 2020

James Stephen Conatser, known to friends and family as Steve or “The Judge,” passed away Thursday, December 24, at the age of 72 in Bartlesville, Okla.

Steve was born on July 11, 1948 and spent most of his childhood in Bartlesville.   He graduated from Bartlesville College High in 1966 and started college at NEO in Miami, Okla., but went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Tulsa in 1970 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock in 1974.

Growing up, you could find Steve spending his days playing golf and baseball, and investing many hours playing music on his drums.  He was part of the Col High Marching Band as well as the drummer in bands with school friends called “The Echos” and “The Fungus”.

After earning his law degree, Steve returned to Bartlesville to start his law practice in 1975. While continuing in private practice, he was appointed to serve as the Municipal Judge for the City of Bartlesville in February 1981, a position he held until his death.

Steve was a devoted father and grandfather. Friends and family knew a man who was always patient and professional, kind, dignified, and always willing to help solve problems in the most calm, thoughtful way.

Steve will be remembered for his love for the game of golf and for his years of playing drums in a local band, “Distant Thunder”.  He also had many other passions, including flying and bowling. He was a longtime member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, Washington County Bar Association, Bartlesville Rotary Club, and Hillcrest Country Club.

Steve was preceded in death by his mother, Charlotte Lyke, and grandparents Courtland and Nora Lyke. He is survived by his father, Jim Conatser, and step-mother, Erna Conatser, of Bartlesville; daughter Mindy Walthall and her husband, Kevin, and two grandsons, Cortland and Grahm Walthall, of Stillwater, Okla.

A memorial Celebration of Life for Steve will be held at a location and date to be determined.  Under the circumstances of Covid-19, in lieu of flowers donations in memory of Steve Conatser, may be made to the Bartlesville Community Foundation, 208 E. 4th St., Bartlesville, OK 74003,

Arrangements are under the direction of Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home in Bartlesville.  To leave an online condolence, visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Conatser, please visit our flower store.


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