Carl Ralph Bullard
“Look at What God Has Done”
The life of Ralph Bullard was lived with a singular purpose – to bring honor and glory to God. Carl Ralph Bullard was born November 21, 1937 to Harold and Vaughn Bullard in Oklahoma City, OK. Ralph is preceded in death by his five older siblings: Melba, Max, Jerry, Lewis, and Jack. During the formative years of his life, Ralph was raised by his mother alone. On many occasions, he recounted her fortitude in raising children while working multiple jobs to support her family. Ralph’s father returned to the family when Ralph was eighteen years old. A story of forgiveness unfolded, and Ralph always expressed gratefulness for the remarriage of his parents and return of his father. Despite not having a father during his growing years, Ralph became a committed father to ten children and a cherished father figure to thousands of students.
Ralph’s mom relocated his family to Edmond, Oklahoma when Ralph was six years old. He graduated from Edmond High School in 1956 and was a remarkable athlete, excelling in basketball and football. In seventh grade, he met a pretty girl by the name of Starley Cherry. His life was forever changed when Fred Cherry, his future father-in-law, introduced him to Jesus at the age of 17. Jesus became his Lord and Savior, and more than anything, Ralph would want to be remembered for his faithful service to the Lord of his life, Jesus Christ.
Ralph married Starley Cherry, his high school sweetheart, on January 22, 1959. “Bird”, as he affectionately called her, was his life long love, best friend, and constant supporter. To this day, the question of who pursued whom remains. Without a doubt, Starley was “the great woman behind the great man.” Their first child, Junia, was born in January of 1960. In May of 1960, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in physical education from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Ralph dedicated his career to education as a teacher, coach, and administrator. His career began at Edmond Public Schools and was followed by a two year term at Casady. During that time, the family grew to include Josh and Brooks. A grant from Oklahoma State University relocated the family to Stillwater and allowed Ralph to earn his Master of Science in biology. The family continued to grow with the addition of Basil, who was born in Stillwater, 1965.
Ralph moved his growing family back to Edmond, where he served 7 memorable years at Edmond High School teaching driver’s ed, honor’s biology, and coaching basketball. In 1972, he received a phone call from Brother Harry Boydstun, pastor at Sunnyside Baptist Church, inviting him to be the administrator of Christian Heritage Academy. It was here that God used Ralph to form and shepherd a faculty that would educate thousands of students with a Christian worldview. During these years Ralph and Starley’s family was completed with the addition of Branch, Troop, Clay, Ash, Seth, and Hannah Beth.
“Mr. Bullard” ardently loved Christian Heritage Academy. He was the beloved headmaster from 1972 through 2006. After retirement, Ralph assumed the role of CHA Ambassador, which he thoroughly enjoyed until 2019. Thousands of students passed through CHA during his tenure, and each one was blessed to be loved and cherished as one of his own children. Attending graduates’ weddings and hearing of their successes and accomplishments was one of the joys of his life. He treasured every time a Crusader returned to visit him. To know “Mr. Bullard” is to know he lived, breathed, and died a CHA Crusader.
Ralph was a faithful member at Sunnyside Baptist Church for over 45 years. He loved his pastor’s teaching, leading his men’s Sunday school class, and worshipping with dear friends.
Ralph’s life motto came from his earthly hero, Jim Elliot. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Ralph’s passion for the spread of the gospel was displayed through personal mission trips, family mission trips, school mission trips, and supporting grandchildren on their mission trips.
In addition to serving in education, Ralph served on the Oklahoma Library Commission Board, and the Board of Directors for the Pilgrim Institute and Plymouth Rock Foundation.
In 1986, he received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. On April 6, 2006, he was honored and recognized by the Oklahoma Legislature for his 47 years of marriage, his 45-year career in Oklahoma private and public education, and for his many years of faithful Christian service. At his retirement celebration in 2006, he was also personally recognized by former Governor, Mary Fallin, for his many outstanding accomplishments.
Towards the end of his life, Ralph battled dementia. Starley was a living lesson of enduring and sacrificial love. She could not have displayed a greater love, and her example of commitment, selflessness, and care will never be forgotten. Ralph often wandered and kept asking to “go home.” The family desperately tried to drive him to multiple places in attempts to find the home he was seeking. No matter where they drove him, he never found the place for which he was searching. Praise God, Jesus came and took him home. Never to be lost again, he is forever home.
Ralph is survived by his pride and joy and wife of 61 years, Starley. His daughter Junia and her husband Tim Hendrickson, their 12 children and 23 grandchildren. His son Josh and his wife Genel, their 10 children and 15 grandchildren. His son Brooks and his wife Susan, their two children. His son Basil and his wife Erica and their 3 children. His son Branch and his wife Nancy and their 5 children and 2 grandchildren. His son Troop and his wife Karen and their 8 children. His son Clay and his wife Becky and their 3 children. His son Ash and his wife Faith and their 4 children. His son Seth and his wife Brooke and their 4 children. His daughter Hannah and her husband Derek Garber and their 7 children.
The family wishes to express their utmost appreciation for the outpouring of love from friends and family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ralph Bullard Memorial Fund at CHA.org.
A memorial service will be held at 7:00 p.m., Monday, June 1, 2020 at First Southern Baptist Church, 6400 S. Sooner Road Oklahoma City, OK.
The life of a devoted husband, father, papa, teacher, mentor, and friend will always be remembered. Carl Ralph Bullard left behind many people who loved him deeply, and to all of those, he would say, “Carry on!”