1950 – 2021
John Thomas Maple was born on January 12, 1950 in Hugo, OK to James Silas Maple and Nell Marie O’Neal Maple. He grew up in Antlers, OK, and enjoyed playing Little League and Pony League baseball in the summers. John loved playing catcher and was particularly proud of the fact that no opponent succeeded in stealing second base during his last Little League season. He also played basketball for Antlers High School and graduated in May 1968, as class valedictorian.
John subsequently enrolled at Oklahoma Christian College (now OC) in Oklahoma City. He met a beautiful coed from Wichita KS, Connie Hukle, soon after arriving on campus in the fall of 1968. They dated, fell in love, and married in May of 1969. Their 51 year marriage was blessed with 4 children and 11 grandchildren. John’s lifelong love of history was further stimulated at OC, and he graduated with a B.A. as a history major in 1972 with a 4.0 grade point average. After earning a M.A. at the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas, he joined the OCC History and Political Science faculty, and among other courses, taught Western Civilization for over 40 years.
John was a dedicated educator and enriched the lives of thousands of students at Oklahoma Christian throughout his career. His service as the faculty sponsor of the Tau Sigma Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the National History Honor Society) was a particularly rewarding endeavor. In this role, he took students to regional and national conferences over a 33 year span, where they presented papers and won many awards for their scholarship. His students were accepted into prestigious law and graduate schools including Harvard University, the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, and St. Andrews (Scotland), among others. John and Connie served twice as faculty sponsors of semester-long study abroad programs in Vienna, Austria.
In addition to his academic work, he took OC students to England and Scotland each summer for 14 years to help local churches host camps and “Vacation Bible Schools.” These experiences enriched the lives of many British young people, OC students, and John himself. He considered these campaigns to be as important in his career as a Christian educator as the coursework that he taught.
Away from work, John was an avid and talented fly fisherman. He deeply enjoyed the serenity and challenge of catching trout in beautiful rivers and streams throughout
Colorado and Wyoming, or shorter trips to the Illinois or Mountain Fork rivers in eastern Oklahoma. John and Connie loved to travel, and of many memorable trips throughout their marriage, excursions to the castles of Wales, the national parks of Utah, and a cruise from Vancouver to Alaska were among their favorites.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Nell Maple. Grandpa John also now joins his baby granddaughter Catherine “Kate” Germar-Maple in heaven. He is survived by his wife Connie; brothers Jim Maple (Patty) and Joe Maple (Kathy); daughters Rebecca Russell (Wayne) and Rachel Huddleston; sons John Maple II and Joel Maple (Tomi); grandsons Mason Russell, Cole Russell, Dillon Russell, Austin Maple, and Ethan Huddleston; and granddaughters Tori Valentine, Alli Valentine, Devon Maple, Carys Maple, and Livi Huddleston.
A visitation for family and friends will be held on Sunday February 21, 2021 from 2:00 PM until 6:00 PM at Matthews Funeral Home in Edmond, Oklahoma.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Mayo Clinic, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, or the March of Dimes.