Ernest Muncrief dead at 90

Posted in: News
By Todd Brooks
Sep 20, 2012 - 8:39:41 AM

Ernest MuncriefThere may be people who are well known in Marlow, but only a handful of citizens fit the description of being called a “local legend.” Ernest Muncrief was one of those few.
Muncrief, 90, died last Wednesday at his family’s ranch west of Marlow. Services were held Sunday at First Baptist Church.
At the age of 23, Muncrief, and his wife Helen, came to the area in 1945 to teach for Marlow Public Schools – but he did so much more in, and for, the community.
He was a teacher, an FFA sponsor, Lions Club stalwart, weatherman, active member of First United Methodist Church and was the voice of the Marlow Outlaws for 50 years until 2006.
Muncrief’s reputation has extended well beyond Stephens County. On Saturday’s Oklahoma State University football pre-game, radio show, he was recognized by co-host John Holcomb.
“At halftime of Marlow football games, he would always make college football predictions,” Holcomb said. “Every time he would pick Oklahoma State to win in a blowout.”
Pallbearer D.B. Green, had known Mucrief most of his life – since he was 3 years old. He and Muncrief’s son, George, were childhood friends and Green spent quite a bit of time at their home playing.
“Initially, he was just the father of one of my friends,” Green said. “As I got older, he took on a different role as a teacher.”
Green said discipline was one of the main characteristics of Muncrief.
“He didn’t tell you to have discipline. He set an example,” Green said. “He didn’t just tell you. He did it. He always said there was never a wrong time to do the right thing. He was truly a role model.”
Green shared a memory about how Muncrief conducted his ag classes.
“He had a lot of high expectations for his students,” Green said. “Whenever he walked into the classroom, the students would immediately quiet down. It wasn’t out of fear, but out of respect.”
Muncrief served in so many capacities that he was different things to different people in the community.
“To some people he was a veterinarian,” Green said. “He would go and help people with their animals. He was a Sunday school teacher. He was a leader in the Chamber of Commerce. He was a leader in the Lions Club. He was involved in so many different activities that he affected you differently than he did someone else. He affected everyone positively.”
Muncrief’s personality rubbed off on his students.
“No one ever wanted to disappoint him,” Green said. “Everyone always wanted to do their best for him. They knew if they didn’t he would hold them accountable.
“He taught a lot of practical skills. He taught guys how to balance a checkbook; how to open a bank account; where to go and how to take care of utilities; how to weld. There are people today who are doing the things that he taught them.”
Muncrief came to Marlow straight out of Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) and didn’t think at first he had a chance at getting the vocational/agricultural position that was open.
“He saw two teachers there who already had experience and didn’t think he had a shot,” Green said. “He said to himself, ‘Well, I’m already here, I might as well go in.’”
Superintendent John Fisher was conducting the interviews.
“The first thing he asked Mr. Muncrief was, ‘Mr. Muncrief, is the world round or flat?,’” Green stated. “Mr. Muncrief said, ‘Which do you want it to be?’ Mr. Fisher said, ‘You’re hired. Be here on Monday.’”
“It was a one question interview. I share that story often in my business,” Green said. “The point being, when you go to work, it’s not how you think things ought to be that is important but giving your boss exactly what he wants is what is important.”
Green said he would remember Muncrief as a man who worked with a great passion and expected his students to do so as well.
“He saw it as a ministry to the students,” Green said.
People did not have to know Muncrief for a long time in order to recognize what kind of man he was.
Rev. Matthew Scraper came to First United Methodist Church in June and it did not take long for the minister to appreciate him.
“He was a special person,” Scraper said. “Whenever you are new to a community, you get to know when someone is a loved and respected individual in the community. He was devoted to the church and the community like you would like to see in everyone.
“The only time he missed church was when he was sick, and even then he came sometimes when he probably should have stayed home. I can’t think better of a person than I thought of him.”
One memory that stood out for Scraper was his first day on the job.
“He would go and get the church mail every day,” Scraper said. “My first day here, he came in with the mail, and he sat down and we talked. He told me, ‘Young man, I won’t tell you what I think about your sermons unless you ask me.
“He was a good source of encouragement for me.”
Although Marlow has lost a “legend,” the lessons Ernest Muncrief taught throughout his lifetime, will be carried by those whose lives he touched.