Guthrie resident Steven Farley felt he was making a difference working for the State Department to help build up the city government in Sadr City, Iraq.

On Tuesday, Farley paid for that work with his life after a bomb tore through a district council building in the Shiite stronghold, killing 10 people, including four Americans.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed the death of Farley, 57, during an international conference in Berlin.


Guthrie resident Steven Farley felt he was making a difference working for the State Department to help build up the city government in Sadr City, Iraq.
On Tuesday, Farley paid for that work with his life after a bomb tore through a district council building in the Shiite stronghold, killing 10 people, including four Americans.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed the death of Farley, 57, during an international conference in Berlin.
An Army veteran who served in Vietnam, Farley was a graduate of Edmond Memorial High School who joined the Navy after receiving his master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1976, said his son, Brett Farley, of Guthrie.
After serving in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Farley was mobilized shortly after 9/11, serving on the staff of the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific before joining the State Department last year.
He was working with a provincial reconstruction team of military members and civilians in Sadr City. Brett Farley said he spoke last week with his father, who told him his life was in danger after a member of the city council loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was forced off the council.
“It was today that they were scheduled to vote on electing a new chairman, a pro-Democracy chairman, and he told me pointedly that it was the biggest moment that they had faced over there,” Brett Farley said. “He fully understood what the risk was, but he was willing to bear it.
“He was willing to do everything he possibly could, and he said he was willing to risk his life to make this happen. “
Tuesday’s blast occurred in the office of the council’s deputy chief as Americans and Iraqi officials were gathered nearby about half an hour before the meeting to elect a new chairman, said Hassan Karim, Sadr City’s top administrator.
Brett Farley said his family learned of his father’s death about 5 a.m. Tuesday when U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker notified the family personally.
“He obviously had known my dad, worked with him and respected him quite a bit,” Brett Farley said.
Steven Farley, who ran unsuccessfully for the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2004, visited the Oklahoma Legislature earlier this year with a group of elected representatives from the Sadr City and Adhamiyah districts near Baghdad. The three-week tour of the U.S. was to give the group an opportunity to observe American-style government on the city, state and national level.
“What we wanted to do is get a view of different levels of government,” Steven Farley told The Associated Press in February.
Brett Farley said the visit gave Iraqi officials a first-hand look at the fruits of freedom and democracy.
“It was very eye-opening for them to see what life is like under a free government,” Brett Farley said. “It was a life-changing event for them, and they had something to aspire to.”
Steven Farley is survived by his wife Donna, and three sons — Brett, 31; Chris, 29; and Cameran, 27.