Merle M. McClure, 91, of Pittsburg, Kan., passed away at 1:57 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, at Via Christi Hospital, Pittsburg. He had been in failing health for the past year.
He was born Nov. 9, 1919, on a farm, 3 1/2 miles west of Pittsburg on Hwy. 126, to Wilbur and Christina (Kledehn) McClure.
He lived in Pittsburg for most of his life.
Most of his friends called him "Mac."
As a young child, he attended Pleasant Valley School, which was a one room country schoolhouse.
After moving into town with his family, he attended Lincoln Grade School, Roosevelt Jr. High School and Pittsburg Senior High School, all located in Pittsburg.
He later attended Kansas State Teachers College, now known as Pittsburg State University, and received his Bachelors of Education Degree in 1949. He then went on to obtain his Masters Degree.
Mac worked as a paperboy for the local Pittsburg paper while attending junior and senior high school.
After high school graduation, he became an electrician apprentice and worked on the Jayhawk Ordnance Plant when it was under construction.
He also worked for a short period of time at the Parsons Army Ammunition Plant.
On Aug. 23, 1942, he married the love of his life, Betty Louise Nichols, in Lamar, Mo. She preceded him in death on June 23, 2004.
He entered the United States Army in November of 1942, and completed basic training in Ft. Knox, KY, and served in the 20th Armored Division. Mac was unable to serve overseas due to a military service connected permanent disability and received an honorable discharge in October of 1943.
Mac worked as a taxi driver for the remainder of the war and later became a driver/salesman for the Dolly Madison Bakery.
In 1949, Mac began his teaching career in Carl Junction, Mo.; where he started the industrial arts program and shop. He also served as the freshman basketball coach and was a school bus driver as well.
After three years, he left the teaching field to pursue a career in Prudential Insurance.
However, Mac missed being away from the students and decided to return to his teaching career.
In September of 1954, Mac began teaching at Crawford County Community High School, in Cherokee, Kan. He taught shop, drafting, American government, world history, American History, driver education and a class on World War II during his years of teaching.
In 1962, after the closing of CCCHS, Mac began teaching the same subjects in the newly constructed Southeast Rural High School in Cherokee, Kan.
Along with teaching, Mac also was a school bus driver, golf coach, Student Council Sponsor and Senior Class Sponsor for many years. After 34 years of teaching, Mac retired in 1985.
During summer months, Mac and his family would travel to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, where he worked as a National Parks Forest Ranger.
Mac and his wife also owned and operated a local Starcraft Camper Sales for many years.
During his lifetime, he enjoyed fishing, camping, golfing, gardening and was an avid reader.
Mac held membership in the First United Methodist Church of Pittsburg.
Survivors include, one son, Berry McClure of Nevada, Mo.; five daughters, Rebecca (Becky) Ross of Neodesha, Kan.; Roberta (Bobbie) Fields, Nikki Hall, Paula McClure, all of Pittsburg, Kan.; and Lori Hixon of Fort Scott, Kan.; 19 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife, Mac is preceded in death by his parents, one son, David McClure, two brothers, Paul and Robert McClure and one sister, Pauline McClure.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Brenner Mortuary, Pittsburg.
The family will receive friends from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m., Friday, at the funeral home.
The family suggests memorials to the Pittsburg Public Library and/or the National Arbor Association. These may be left at or mailed to the Brenner Mortuary, 114 East 4th St., Pittsburg, KS 66762.
Friends may also leave condolences online at www.brennermortuary.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Brenner Mortuary, Pittsburg, Kan.