Carl Ralph Bullard

1937-2020obit

“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!”

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Comments

  1. So sorry to hear Coach has passed away. He was such a good man. Always had a good word to say.
    I know he will be missed.

    My thoughts and prayers are with each of you.

    Gena Mahaffey Menhusen
    EHS Class of 67

    • I love Ralph Bullard. His legacy at CHA and the influence he has had on the lives of tens of thousands will never be forgotten. Ralph, I will miss our conversations until I see you again. “Well done, good and faithful steward!!”

  2. My heart is broken to hear that my good friend has passed away. When we put our 3 girls at CHA we met personally with Mr. Bullard and he was one of the reasons we felt it was vital to get a Education from a Christian School that always pointed the students to Christ. When asked to serve on the Board it was my privilege to be not only on the Board but serve one Term as Board Chairman along side Mr Bullard. Over the years our friendship grew to a point that we talked 2 or 3 times a month to talk about our families and what God was doing in our lives. I will forever be grateful for his friendship and example the showed me.

  3. No doubt Mr. Bullard heard the words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.… Enter into the joy of the Lord.” Mr. Bullard impacted so many in his lifetime and his influence will continue on. We are keeping his family in our prayers.

  4. Rejoicing for his being “at home” with his Lord and Savior. Praying for peace and comfort for generations he leaves behind.

  5. To the Bullard family,

    I have so many wonderful memories of Mr. Bullard and his encouragement in the Lord during my time at CHA. When my Daddy died during my senior year, he encouraged me to carry on the faith. Praising God for his faithful legacy and that he is home and that the family feels His peace which surpasses all comprehension.

  6. What a legacy he left to not just his children, grandchildren, & great grandchildren, but all the students & their parents that have had connections with Christian Heritage Academy for many years. He set the example of what a Godly husband, father, grandfather, & friend looked like. He will be greatly missed, but we know he has arrived to his heavenly home, which he longed for as he heard his Father say to him, “Well done, they good & faithful servant.” Praying for all the family.

  7. I was one of the many students of his at CHA. He touched the lives of so many of us. A great teacher and mentor. He will be greatly missed.

  8. What a legacy he has…your beautiful family and the CHA family!
    Thinking of you all. God bless you.

  9. We love you all –
    Starley, Junia, Josh, Clay…
    Please know we are praying for all of you and rejoicing for the life of Mr. Bullard.

  10. We love CHA and all the Bullard family. Our girls graduated there and we now have four grandkids there. We loved Mr. Bullard’s speech on “Preference or Conviction”. It related to how important a Christian education was, but it really deals with our daily lives. Me. Bullard walked that walk, his legend will shine brightly. The Muecke family

  11. While I know He is at peace, experiencing true joy, my heart aches for your precious family during this time.
    I am forever grateful for Mr. Bullard. He was like a faithful father figure in my life. After reading his story, I understand more why I felt such empathy from him.
    Though his presence added stability and he raised a standard, I remember several times he demonstrated true undeserved grace.
    I pray that I can follow in his footsteps of obedience and faithfulness.
    I thank God for your family’s example and for a life well-lived.
    God comfort you all. Our prayers are with you.

  12. Mr Bullard was one of the most humble and Godly leaders I have ever known. It was an absolute honor and blessing to sit under his instruction and leadership at CHA! Thank you for shining Jesus everywhere you went. We find such comfort knowing you are in His very presence at this moment!

  13. I posted this elsewhere but i wanted to make sure it was said here also.

    I never felt personally close with Mr Bullard like some other folks did but as I thought about it and talked to my parents today, I realised that other than my own father, there is no one more influential in my life than Mr Ralph Bullard. His fingerprints are everywhere :

    My parents were in he and Mrs Bullard’s (I don’t care how old I get they will ALWAYS be Mr and Mrs Bullard.) young married class at Sunnyside modeling what it means to follow the Lord, raise children and be faithful church members.

    He gave Dad a coaching job at CHA which led to a teaching job and then an administration job. My siblings and I received a christian education, that might not have happened otherwise, without him.

    At CHA, Mr Bullard helped hire coaches, teachers and administrators who gave the standard lessons on reading, writing and ‘rithmetic but also about life and hard work and humility and all the things that a young man needs to hear. I still think about those lessons as a husband, father and co-worker.

    A few of his grandkids were my childhood friends, my classmates and teammates. They were people I confided in, competed with, learned from and sometimes got into trouble with. They are people I have known and will know my entire life to one degree or another.

    Those are just some of the broader categories. I didn’t mention his influence on my own siblings or other classmates or pastors or churches or missions or my parents and siblings’ friends. The list keeps going.

    He always said that Jim Elliot was one of his heroes but I wonder how many of us would count Ralph Bullard among ours?

    Anyway, like a lot of folks, I am a little sad today. I lost a hero.

  14. Ps. 12:1, “Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be.” There is definitely one less ‘godly man’ on the planet. What an example and mentor Coach Bullard was in my life as I started my teaching and coaching career. Coach Bullard and Starley were great examples to my wife, Sue and I of what a godly marriage and family could be. Coach Bullard ran his race with excellence and kept His eyes on Jesus. Praise God for men like Ralph Bullard!

  15. There are just no words adequate enough to convey my appreciation and respect for him! Love him and his family dearly!

    • I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr Bullard. My family and I had the opportunity to see him and his wife several times over the years. I remember his wisdom and his love for teaching and most of all his love for Jesus. He will be greatly missed. May the presence of peace surround you all. Sending prayers.

  16. Thank you Coach!
    You were strong influence in my life and I appreciate your guidance and faith

  17. Goodby Ralph, it won’t be much later and I’ll see you again. You were so admired and I’m one of the many. Thank you for your friendship and all the CHA work we did together. So many memories of us working on the Board in the early days for the future growth and facilities of CHA. You picked me to head the long range planning committee and soon we headed off to Ft. Worth with Joe Atkinson to meet with the bond holder company. Because of you, we wanted to support all your leadership to make productive Christians in our world. The impact you and CHA made in my family is incalculable in our lives.
    You worked so hard and made so many sacrifices for so many I can’t thank you enough my longtime dear friend.
    Spencer

  18. Ralph was my best friend in high school. We played football, basketball and track together. After many of us retired, Ralph, Scotty Middleton, Dick Crum, Pat Evans, George Hauser and I, plus a few others, would meet every three months for Bulldog lunches at Earls to share memories and tell stories. This went on until a few years ago.

    I will forever miss Ralph. I loved him.

  19. Ralph Bullard, a gift from The Holy Trinity has gone home leaving the blessings of The Spirit’s family that will continue the giving through all of Ralph’s legacy. PTL!

  20. I had the unique opportunity to spend time in the Bullard home as a boy and young man. Mr Bullard was the same honorable man of the highest standards at home as he was at school and church. I cherish the memories of those days and have been forever impacted by Ralph Bullard just as 1000s of others have.

  21. I am who I am because of the life of Mr. Bullard. He shaped so many souls for Christ and the legacy he leaves behind will continue to shape many more.

  22. I was so sad to hear of Mr. Bullard’s passing, but I am sure he is rejoicing in heaven today. When I applied for a job at CHA, Mr. Bullard took a long time interviewing me, and he explained the school’ s philosophy and just what the Principle Approach is. I had never heard of it. He was so patient and kind, and I appreciated him so much. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  23. What a legacy. From my perspective, a gentle and strong godly man who shepherded those he was entrusted with Christlike integrity. I cannot even imagine the loss his family and beloved Starley feel at this hour. I will be praying for you all. He was truly a remarkable man whose work influenced my life greatly and the lives of my children.

  24. He was a Great Man and glad he’s having a time with Mr. Jim Elliott in Heaven that he so looked up to, and many others. Will look forward to seeing him someday soon.

  25. Remembering Ralph and his devotion to you and the Lord. Praying for your comfort, Starley, and comfort for your family.
    —Dick and Nancy Crum

  26. We can’t begin to express in words what Mr. Bullard meant to us and our daughter, Jaime. She started school at CHA in the sixth grade after visiting the campus. She immediately fell in love with the school and Mr. Bullard’s welcoming presence had a lot to do with that. We have never known a kinder, gentler, more Christ-like man who genuinely lived out his faith in the Lord each and everyday! There was not one student that walked through the doors of CHA that he didn’t influence their life for the better. We are thankful that God allowed us to know and become friends with Ralph, Starley and other family. Their children and grandchildren are a true reflection of the home Ralph and Starley built on trust in God and glorifying Him throughout your life. We are so saddened by his death as this world certainly needs men of strong faith, but we also rejoice in his Homegoing to be with his Savior he served so lovingly. Our thoughts, love, and prayers go out to all of Ralph’s family. God Bless each one of you and thank you for sharing your loved one with us and so many others! Benjie and Marsha Wechsler

  27. The Burress Family
    There are not enough words in the English language to convey the impact of one totally committed life, the life of Ralph Bullard. From the day I first met Ralph at Christian Heritage Academy, I felt a close bond with him. He was so wise, gentle, understanding and nonjudgmental. He encouraged us with our daughters and we followed his advice educationally, which changed our family so deeply. We observed his life in many situations and it was always the same. He truly loved people, all people. The legacy he left included not only his amazing family, but also the thousands of people he touched through his role as head-master of our school and good friend to so many in his various roles. While he will be sorely missed by so many, he has influenced countless lives for the Lord and His providence in all situations. We were blessed to be just one family of so many. We love Ralph and Starley deeply and want to be used by God for His Glory wherever He places us. I can only smile when I think of him and the many fun times we enjoyed with him and Starley.

  28. As I read these comments I realize though Mr Bullard will be so missed, he left so many to “Carry on” what God had put on his heart. That was our Lords commandment, “Go and make disciples”. I remember at the start of my teaching career I had three interviews. One at a public school, one at a very strict legalistic Christian school and the last at CHA. CHA was very small and could not offer much of a salary but as Mr Bullard began to talk with me about his vision and the vision of the school it lit a fire in me that still has not gone out, though I have lived my last thirty years in Spain, where I moved after Mr Bullard performed the marriage ceremony to my husband Antonio. I, like so many others was so so deeply impacted being under his leadership. I pray for you Starley and your family during this time.

  29. Mr. Bullard was one of my favorite teachers in high school, He made learning to drive very easy even though it was scary at times, I have thought about him often since graduation class of “75”
    He went to school with my dad and my uncle and my aunt
    My deepest condolences

  30. He was such a blessing to our family. When we began our journey at CHA, he asked us if this was convenient or conviction? That has stuck with us. He was a strong figure in our lives. Our family will always remember his green jacket at all the programs. There are many great memories. I had the privilege to work at CHA during his Ambassador years. His office was close to the elementary where the children loved to see him and he them. He always made me smile. He was a sweet, godly man of God. Praying for Starley and the Bullard family. Well done Mr. Bullard….

  31. I have many fond memories of Mr Bullard. I remember a handful of his wise sayings and have taught some of them to my children. I wish his family comfort and blessings as they mourn his passing. God bless you all.

  32. With deepest sympathy and respect we remember our principal, teacher, and leader. Mr. Ralph Bullard, you influenced our lives forever. Your memory and teachings live on forever in our hearts.

    The CHA class of 1982

  33. We love the entire Bullard family and celebrate Mr. Bullard’s life tonight along with countless others who have been changed by his decision to answer God’s call upon his life. Our personal lives and our children’s lives are forever changed by what we learned under his leadership of godly principles concerning Christianity and our nation’s purpose. There are great men of God and humble men of God, but there are few who are both. Mr. Bullard was one of those rare men who embodied these qualities along with many more. We are blessed to know all of his family and pray each one will carry the torch of his passion to a lost and dying world. He has definitely made a difference for eternity sake. May all of us do the same.

  34. Mrs. Bullard,

    Sadly, I was unable to attend Mr. Bullard’s funeral as we are now living out of state. My sister, April, attended, and when I asked her who spoke, she relayed the sweet moments, funny stories, and unknown facts that were shared by many.

    When I asked her if you shared, she remembered the verse from Ps. 116:

    “Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants.”

    I immediately told her about a message I heard at the beginning of the year. The minister was describing the meaning of the root word “precious” in this verse. It can relate the idea of care or value; but, the main idea was COSTLY. It is COSTLY to the Lord when one of His saints dies.
    He began to expound on this truth as he had us think back on all the work the Lord had done in our lives to help us receive Him, teach us, shape us, mold us, connect us with others and make our lives fruitful. He talked about the wisdom and experience that took years to acquire. It is truly costly to the Lord when He “loses” the presence of a seasoned, fruitful servant son on this earth.

    I just wanted to share this perspective with you and let you know how thankful I am for all God did in my life through you and Mr. Bullard.

    We are praying that you know God’s nearness and comfort in the days to come.

    Sincerely,
    Heather Humphreys LaGuire

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