Howard Doyle Leftwich

Howard Doyle Leftwich

1932 – 2020Leftwich, Howard crop

Howard Doyle Leftwich was born January 29, 1932, to Rush & Nellie Leftwich in Burden, Kansas, and passed away Monday, April 13, 2020. The youngest of eight boys and one girl, he was born and raised on a farm with no electricity or plumbing. His parents had migrated from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in 1906.

At the age of 17, he graduated from Burden High School as president of his class of 10 students. He was a high school athlete, playing basketball, baseball, and participating on the track team. The influence of a large family and the circumstances of WWII shaped much of his future.

Immediately following high school graduation, he moved to Wichita, Kansas, and got a job as a sheet metal fabricator’s helper at Boeing, earning $1 per hour. After working there for several months, his supervisor asked to see his birth certificate. Howard had no choice but to comply; and, since he was only 17, was dismissed that same day. However, the supervisor noted in his file that he would be eligible for re-hire when he turned 18. It was then that Howard made the “momentous decision” (his words) to go to college.

Howard entered Wichita University in the fall of 1949 and graduated with a degree in accounting in January 1953. At the age of 21, he passed the CPA exam. In August of 1950, he was introduced to Marilyn Evans on a blind date set up by mutual friends, and they were married January 24,1952. After his college graduation, they moved to Kansas City, Kansas, where he was employed by a national CPA firm, Ernst & Ernst. Their two children, Donald and Linda, were born in 1953 and 1957.

After nine years in public accounting, where he became assistant manager at the age of 26, he took the position of Controller for Cook Paint and Varnish Co., one of the largest companies in Kansas City. During his five years there, he oversaw the conversion of the accounting system to EDP.

Around the age of 35, Howard began to develop an interest in going back to school and becoming a teacher at the college level. In 1967, the president of Oklahoma Christian College recruited him and Marilyn to move their family to Edmond where Howard would teach at this young, small college in Oklahoma City. By 1970, he had completed his Doctor of Business Administration degree at Oklahoma University and began teaching a full load at Oklahoma Christian. He initiated the accounting major at OC and graduated the first accounting students in 1972. Another of his major interests and accomplishments was beginning an economics course called the Free Enterprise System. He wrote the textbook for this course, and it became a general education course for all majors. In 1975 he was named Chairman of the School of Business at OC, a role he held until stepping down in 1993. He continued to teach business courses until retiring in 1999. Beloved among his students, he was honored with both the Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching Award and Merrick Award. During his years at OC, he also enjoyed adjunct teaching at OU and UCO. In 2010 he was named an honorary alumnus of Oklahoma Christian. When asked what pleased him most about his teaching career, he quickly pointed to his former students. “That would be easy,” he said, “it is the stature that so many of our graduates have in the business world today.”

Howard was a faithful member of the Memorial Road Church of Christ, serving as an elder from 1972 to 2019, when he resigned due to failing health. He loved his family immensely and was the absolute best husband, dad, father-in-law, grandpa, and great-grandpa anyone could ever ask for or imagine.

Howard was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers Arthur, Marion, Ralph, Robert, Richard, Joe, and Tom; his sister Norma; and a great-grandson Rush Leftwich. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Marilyn; children Don (Janie) Leftwich and Linda (Bob) Wheeler; grandchildren Robbie (Hannah) Leftwich, Brandon Wheeler, Kimberly (Ryan) Harper, Bryan (Maggie) Leftwich, and Kristen (Seanhenry) Van Dyke; and great-granddaughters Hazel & Rosemary Leftwich and Ella & Reese Harper.

Informal visitation will be Wednesday, April 15, 1-8 p.m., at Matthews Funeral Home in Edmond. Private family graveside service will be Thursday, April 16. A public memorial service will be scheduled as soon as possible at Memorial Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

19 thoughts on “Howard Doyle Leftwich”

  1. The Leftwich and McCormack families moved to Edmond and the Oklahoma Christian faculty the same year–1967. Howard, Marilyn, Donald, and Linda had an enormous impact on our family. Howard will be missed for many reasons, especially his wisdom, his wit, and his uncommon common sense.

  2. Joyce Leftwich Clapp

    So saddened by this loss! My deepest condolences to Marilyn, Donald, Linda and their families. Thank you to Uncle Howard for always lifting our spirits in song!

  3. Lavelle Eicke

    Was so VERY sorry to learn of Howard’s passing. He and Marilyn were such an
    enjoyable couple to tour with on overseas trip. Marilyn, I know how much it hurts to lose a companion!! Love to you!! Lavelle Eicke from Snyder, Texas.

  4. Jeff Bingham

    We last saw Howard and Marilyn a few months ago at a local Edmond restaurant. My grown kids came in after us, ate, and left during the time the Leftwich’s were having their meal. With the same wit he shared with me as a student 35 years ago, he asked why I was the one left behind to pay for “all that food”. He was always gracious and treated me just like he did as professor for 7 different undergrad courses, with intentional care and interest.

  5. Carlos and Elaine Castilho

    What a beautiful example of life and of love to God he was to us during the time we lived in Edmond.

  6. Mike O'Neal

    Many, many lives have been blessed by this competent and caring servant of Christ. Nancy and I send our condolences to the Leftwich family.

  7. I considered Howard a good friend and teach who led by example…even if he did call me Rick at church for many, many years! He will be missed. Hugs to all the family.
    “Kim” Rice.

  8. Howard was an amazing guy and Christian. I know his family will miss him greatly as well as the members of Memorial Road Church of Christ. He, Marilyn, Linda and Bob often sat behind us at church services, and Bob and Linda were in our Sunday school class. This is a great family and Howard was an example of what a Godly man and father is suppose to be. You will be in our prayers.

  9. Ken and Lindy Adams

    It saddened Lindy and me to read of your Howard’s passing. Though his academic discipline was far removed from mine, and from my own personal experience, I heard from many students over the years how influential both his classes and his personal attention meant to them.

    It surprised me to read in his obituary that he began his career at OC only two years before I did, because he always seemed so much more mature and wise than me. Dr. Leftwich was already a legendary professor when I arrived, so I assumed he had been there from the beginning. Reading of his illustrious career before he began teaching explained his air of competence and gravitas. He was truly one of the builders of Oklahoma Christian University.

    We’re so sorry we won’t be able to see you and your family in person to offer our condolences. But please know we are thinking of all of you.

  10. Mary Jo deSteigiuer

    I will always remember Howard’s smile and his genuine interest in the person’s conversation with whom he was visiting. He and Marilyn were among the first members at MRCC to make me feel so welcome when I moved to Edmond. The great example they set as leaders in the Lord’s Church will be missed! Prayers for the Leftwich Family!!!

  11. Tony A Scott

    In the mid-90s I taught as an adjunct instructor of business law at OC. After my first semester final I asked a student what he thought of the exam. The student signed and replied, “It was a Leftwich test.” Not knowing what that meant I sought out Howard and recounted the story. I added, “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.” With a humble voice, soft chuckle and proud academic twinkle in his eye Howard replied, “Ohhhh, that’s a good thing.” I used the Leftwich Test standard for every exam I subsequently administered. Rest In Peace, Howard.

  12. Mike Carroll

    My first two grades from Dr. Leftwich were Ds. They were gifts as he should have flunk me. I got As in my upper level classes and earned them. I passed the CPA and was successful in business. Dr. Leftwich cared and worked hard to get the best from every student. He never gave up. I know because I was one of those many student bless by this man. Thank you Dr. Leftwich.

  13. Larry Edwards

    I never knew Howard as a teacher since I left OC in 1962, five years before he arrived. But when I moved to OKC in 1998 and placed membership at Memorial Road, I soon got to know him and Marilyn along with Don and Janie, and Bob and Linda who have since then been on my Sunday morning class. Howard was always such a kind and gracious soul who never failed to greet and wish me well. Early on we spent time in a BK group together when I was able to enjoy visiting with him and getting to know him better. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and my prayers are with you.

  14. Phil and Diana Wood

    Howard was a man with a good heart and strong convictions, who loved the Lord. His family and friends will dearly miss him.

    Our love and condolences to you all.

  15. Raymond Lee Leftwich

    I will deeply miss you, Uncle Howard. I hold in my heart the you are a man of God. I’ve had so much fun getting to know you in the last 20+ years. I loved to do genealogy with you. Aunt Marilyn, Don, and Judy, i have prayed for you to have peace and comfort.

  16. David M. Seat, Oklahoma Christian: BBA - minor in Accounting, April 20, 1973

    Dr. Howard Leftwich was selfless; it was never about him rather about his students. He had an in-depth academic understanding of accounting, finance and economics, an art to communicate and teach each discipline and the experience to apply lessons through his teachings he learned from his personal business career. Each day and each hour, we as his graduate students use the many business, ethic and Biblical principals we learned from Howard through his teaching and Christian walk. We as students are indebted to Dr. Leftwich beyond our ability to repay and remain deeply appreciative of him. We will miss him and his counsel but he lives on in each of us.

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